Melissa wiped away her tears with her bare forearm. The last time she had cried in public was her first day of kindergarten, a decade ago. That too had been about her mother. Of course, this time they weren’t going to be reuniting at the end of the day. Melissa leaned back on the rock she sat on and stared upwards.
It was an almost cloudless sky, a few white wisps crossing the sun beams. Melissa thought of it as a happy sky, which angered her. How dare nature by happy on this day? Melissa imagined that she glimpsed at heaven and Mom stared back.
The phone call to school wasn’t exactly unexpected. Melissa’s mother had lived, no had existed – it wasn’t really living – with inoperable pancreatic cancer for two years, and six months ago she had abandoned any pretense of treatment.
So when Melissa got the news she dreaded, that her mother had lost the battle, she had been excused from school and made her way to Brown’s Island where she sat in what had been Mom’s favorite spot and wept. Now that she had cried out all the tears she had, Melissa felt she could be strong for her father and the eight-year-old twins.
She was the only woman of the house now, and she felt she needed to be the rock that supported her family.
“I don’t know how you did it, Mom” she said to the sky, “but I’ll always do my best for you.”
The origin of this piece was once again from the Richmond WriMos Facebook group. One of the members posted the image below and challenged the members to come up with a 250 word story based on that image. Because I tend to overwrite and then pare down, my story above is exactly 250 words. It’s also a a first draft, but as ever, all comments are welcomed.