avatarScarlet Ibis James 🦩

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A MOTHER’S LOVE | FICTION | SHORT STORY

Legacy. Herstory and Their Lives.

Losing herself in her children's lives, she teaches a lesson that should never have been passed down.

The author created this image with Midjourney. S.I. James owns copyright and provenance, per Midjourney ToS.

Part I — Begin

My eyes devoured the sight of my babies, Codah and Monica, as they meandered across the room. Their movements were deliberate yet unhurried, like a choppy, slow-motion dance. Their faces showed many involuntary expressions — the essence of their early existence. Their eyes sparkled with curiosity, and their lips curled into innocent smiles. Their lives unfold on their terms.

Click! I closed the photo app. It ended my obsessive scrolling through their digital snapshots of the past.

Surveying the pristine waiting area, I found myself alone. The sterile ambiance of modernity surrounded me. The uncomfortable chair beneath me seemed to protest my presence. I shifted my massive weight, seeking solace in its cold, unforgiving embrace.

I thought, “I’ve got to start exercising again. I’ll find time for me. I will — .”

“Mrs. Brown,” the school secretary’s voice sliced through the silence and my thoughts. With a start, I looked up in time to see her nod toward the imposing door of the principal’s office.

Rising, I felt the air stiffen with anticipation. My steps, weighted with apprehension, echoed through the sterile silence of the corridor. Each thud of my feet resonated like a djembe drum. My stockings swished loudly, betraying deafening counterpoints to the silent accusation hanging in the air.

I knew the reason for my summons. The administration must know I wrote my children’s college essays.

My clandestine operation, perhaps, but one born out of love and foresight. I approached the door, a mix of defiance and maternal confidence.

Entering the office, I met the stern gaze of the principal.

So what if I did? They got in. The end justifies the means. I gave them what they did not know they needed.

They would know later — when they were long past these terrible teen years.

And they would thank me.

The author created this image with Midjourney. S.I. James owns copyright and provenance, per Midjourney ToS.

Part II — And

The stark white walls of the psychiatrist’s office seemed to press in on Monica. The only sound was the rhythmic tick of the clock on the mantle. A box of tissues sat unopened on the corner of the desk, its stark whiteness mimicking the sterile feel of the room. Monica stared at the worn patch of carpet beneath her chair, avoiding the psychiatrist’s gaze.

“Why do you feel that you must accept his control over you?” His voice was gentle, laced with concern. He leaned forward, his brow furrowed in concentration.

Monica swallowed, the dryness in her throat making it difficult to speak. “I suppose,” she finally croaked, her voice barely a whisper, “I have my mother to thank.”

The author created this image with Midjourney. S.I. James owns copyright and provenance, per Midjourney ToS.

Part III — End

As Drew and Codah mingled amidst the post-town-hall reception celebrating Black History Month, their diverse backgrounds seemed to converge in a shared moment of contemplation. Drew, a young Asian man, observed Codah, a middle-aged Black executive, with curiosity as she gazed at the employees with a pensive air, seemingly lost in her thoughts. Taking a sip of his drink, Drew broke the silence with a gentle inquiry.

“Penny for your thoughts,” he offered, his voice carrying a note of empathy.

Codah turned to him, her expression tinged with sadness, as if memories weighed heavy on her mind. After a moment’s pause, she confided, “Well, I’m thinking about my mother. She passed away from hypertension a few years ago.”

“I’m sorry for your loss,” he offered, his tone sincere.

Codah nodded. Her gaze drifted into the distance again as if retracing the moments she spent with her mother.

“My mother lost herself in my life, to be honest,” Codah said in a voice so soft it caused Drew to take a step towards her. “She lived to give me and my sister everything. But she never asked us what we wanted.”

“Hmmm,” he mused, his voice reflecting a shared understanding. “She sounds like my mother.”

© Scarlet Ibis James, 2024: All Rights Reserved.

Thanks for reading the collage of scenes above — part trois of a trilogy, delivered in three parts and examining the maternal yet destructive love of losing oneself in relationships. This one is Parent. Read the others here:

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Fiction
Parenting
Motherhood
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