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ASLEEP, AWAKE (exerpts from a short story)

Asleep in my bed, dreaming that the world is on fire. Awake in the dark, sticky with fear and the thick summer air, taste of burnt metal in my mouth. The sound of adult voices downstairs, urgent and hushed, drawing me from my dream world.

Perched atop the stairs on the second floor landing, looking down through the banister posts at my mother and my uncle Victor in the hall below.

My mother’s voice, questioning, uncertain: “Should I wake her?”

“No,” he says. “Just go.”

I want to say something, want to speak out. I’m here, I’m awake. But I can not find my voice.

My mother slips away without saying goodbye.



***

I choose a kelly green dress, with pink flower buds woven into the smocked top, to wear to my grandfather’s funeral. It is one of my favorite dresses.

At the end of the day, I roll it up in a ball and shove it way in the darkest part of my closet. I will never wear that dress again.

***

I stand outside my mother’s bedroom door. I listen to her soft sobbing. The floorboards creak beneath my feet, loud enough for her to hear them. I imagine her shades shut against the bright summer sun. My mother lying alone in her big bed. I do not call to her. She does not call for me.

***

2 comments:

Stan said...

beautiful writing.

Rubencito said...

I'm glad to have found this by accident. Strange but cool: the descriptions in you story are similar to some in a story I'm working on now.
This opening is strong, so goodluck if this isn't finished yet.