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Mother, Stay

Mother, Stay

A Story by Pen The Willows

It’s Saturday. Your mother has been complaining about pain for days. Pain is normal in your house, due to your dad’s countless medical issues, so no one’s really paid any attention. But her complaining has gotten louder and more frequent than previous days, so your dad decides to placate her. They head to Urgent Care, leaving you at home.

            You aren’t too bothered, because you get the house to yourself. You’re so excited because now you can belt out your favorite songs as loudly as you want, and you don’t have to worry about any criticism from your family. Being home alone is one of your favorite things in this life, and you are so wrapped up in it that time doesn’t even seem to exist.

You left your phone on the charger that morning because it died in the night after you fell asleep watching a movie. You pay it no mind because no one ever contacts you in the summer, partly because you don’t contact them either. Your phone is eternally on ‘silent’, a habit you’ve picked up since high school started and people actually wanted to text you during the school day.

Eventually you return to your room, because it’s getting dark and now you realize your parents have been gone for a while. You pick up your phone and see you have [10 missed calls] and [3 text messages]. They’re all from your dad, and something sinks in your stomach. You call him back.

He answers the phone and you know he wants to yell but he can’t. He’s growling and the sinking goes even lower. When he stops to take a breath, you ask him what’s wrong, because something has to be wrong to warrant a reaction like this. (Even as you think this, you know that’s a lie but you can’t help wishing it was true.)

When he says your mom has double-lung pneumonia, your lungs become lead weights in your chest. He says she’s being admitted into the ICU at this very moment, and there’s a meaty fist squeezing your throat. And when he asks what the hell you’ve been doing for six hours and why didn’t you answer your goddamn phone and do you care so little about your mother that you didn’t even notice how long they were gone? That’s when the body-wracking sobs begin.

You’re almost catatonic when your brother gets home. He comes into your room to bother you about something or other like he always does. But he takes one look at your face �" tear tracks and red eyes and no expression to speak of �" and he wraps you up in a hug like he never does. Your thoughts are sparking in your head, faster than light and darker than black. You think your mom is probably going to be okay but you don’t really know and if she isn’t okay then what’s going to happen and what are you going to do?

You snap out of it when you hear the front door open and the dogs start barking and your cat thunders through the house. You race upstairs, nearly dragging your brother behind you. Your dad is sitting in his chair in the living room, gray and blank like a corpse. You ask him about your mother. You ask if you can go see her tomorrow. You ask if she’s going to be there long. You ask if she’s going to be okay.

He doesn’t look away from your mom’s chair, right next to his and currently occupied by her dogs. He doesn’t look at you as he tells you the truth. He doesn’t know the answer to any of your questions. What he does know is this: there’s more wrong with your mom than they thought. They’ve learned that she’s going into septic shock. They’ve induced a coma. They’re not sure she’ll survive.

And that’s when you shatter into so many pieces that you don’t even know who or what you are anymore. You fall to the ground and start weeping and howling and heaving and shaking. You’re cold and hot and dizzy and confused and nothing is making sense anymore. This is your mother. She’s supposed to be there for you forever and always. You’re too young �" she’s too young �" for her to leave you. And if she has to leave, it shouldn’t be like this.

You don’t know why or how but you know that this is somehow your fault. If only you’d been a better daughter. If only you’d answered the phone. If only you’d gone with them. If only you hadn’t been so wrapped up in yourself. If only you’d gotten better grades. If only you’d helped out when your extended family was here. If only you didn’t stress her out so much. If only you weren’t the bad child. If only you hadn’t always been such a problem. If only you didn’t exist.


You don’t get to visit her for three weeks. Your dad updates you on her condition every few days, when he remembers that he has children, when he isn’t sleeping or working or at the hospital. Even with his reports, you still don’t really know what’s going on. When you finally see her for the first time, you cry even though you promised yourself you wouldn’t. She’s puffed up like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man and she’s covered in bruises and she’s wired to a million machines and she’s peeing through a tube.

            She wakes up a week later, and comes home a week after that. She’s come back, she’s staying, but she’s not really the same. And that unsame-ness becomes the new same. She never returns to how she was before. Your mother’s gone, replaced by someone else. Someone you don’t know at all. And even now, four years later, you still know that this whole thing was all your fault.

© 2015 Pen The Willows

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Interesting. Is this a personal story?

Anyways, horrible jokes aside, this kept my interest. If you ant to see the flip side of the coin, if you get bored you can check out my current entry of the moment, lol.

Yeah, to have a mother for awhile is better than to have a horrible mother who is absolutely horrible, like myself.

So anyways, this was a good read. In my writing, I make the reader see through the eyes of what I call my players in the "Bryanverse."

I'm sorry if I touched on a tricky subject, but just know there is people who care about other people, including myself! Great work! :)

Posted 7 Years Ago

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Added on December 1, 2015
Last Updated on December 1, 2015


Pen The Willows
Pen The Willows


I'm 18 years old and I'm in my sophomore year of college. Most of the writings archived on here are from when I was in middle school and high school, and they aren't really very good. I wasn't going t.. more..