Burnt Bacon

Burnt Bacon

A Story by TheWritingWriter

A teenage boy who is unable to speak deals with the struggles of being alone as well as with a neglectful mother.


My younger brother Reed ran through the living room, busted through the door, and patted me on the back as he jumped off the short flight of stairs, like they were a launching pad, on his way to the school bus. We lived in the country outside a tiny town in northwest Wisconsin. The school bus would just about pull up on the doorstep before coming to a screeching halt. That was one of the advantages of living in a small community; things seemed to be more personal and meaningful. I wasn’t fooled, however. I knew that small towns were where some of the biggest secrets were kept. 

“Davey, breakfast is ready sweetheart,” my mother said. 

I ignored her as I followed the school bus with my eyes up the hill as dust filled the air behind its big tires. Reed waved from the back of the bus, and I waved back with a smile on my face, but sad he was leaving. It was only for the day, I thought. The bus headed for the Robinson’s house. The Robinson gals were the most fortunate"they were the last picked up and the first dropped off. It was the first day of third grade for Reed, and he would finally be reunited with his classmates once more for another round of paperwork, puzzles, and quizzes. I couldn’t imagine anything more boring than that.

My mother came out with a stained white apron wrapped around her waist like a bow tie on a Christmas gift, and a small towel in her hand drying them off. She sat next me and put her arm around me as if to silently apologize that I wasn’t able to go to school like Reed. I didn’t care about going to some institution of higher learning. School isn’t where you learn the things that matter. Experience teaches you everything you need to know, I thought. Experience showed its dark face in the midst of the most painful of trials. Trials shoved experience and knowledge down your throat whether you liked it or not. However, maybe I felt this way because I knew I was never going to get the opportunity to sit in a classroom with others my age, and experience the boredom. Who knows, it could be helpful"possibly. I knew the answer to almost any calculus question, but I wouldn’t be able to tell you. That was my error"my malfunction. 

“C’mon, let’s go eat. Reed will be home before you know it. You don’t have to worry,” she said. 

I shook my head against my will in agreement with a half-a*s smile stretched across my face like latex. I didn’t like the way mom always spoke to me like a small child, always reassuring me that everything was going to be okay. How the hell could she possibly know any of that? She didn’t, and she knew it, but I guess she was doing what all good mothers do"lie. She wouldn’t admit it to anyone in a hundred years. That was against her religion, but I knew better. It was obvious the way she always maintained a smile on her face when she was around me as if the world was all peachy keen. She even did this in the most sorrowful times, which confused the s**t out of me. 

My dad passed away a long time ago from a kick to the throat by Speedy, our horse. He was a good man, and he did all he could for us. I had a habit of looking down at my hands. The young wrinkles and the patterns of the pads of my fingerprints always amused me. Mom always said that I had dad’s hands. I would have liked to see dad’s hands to see if it was true, or if she was telling me another lie. Now I would never know. When dad was still alive, he always made sure that me and Reed had what we needed, and occasionally, things we wanted. He took good care of mom and made sure that we were all fed, even if that meant extra hours in the mill. He was a hero to many in the small town of Clayton. Mom would weep for hours after he passed; I could hear her through my door across the hall. Her mind hasn’t been quite right since that terrible day.

Freshly cooked bacon with eggs sat in the middle of the table between me and mom. She always asked me what I wanted to drink, but she always ended up making the decision for me. Why am I given options if I’m not able to get what I ask for? I’ve been drinking 2% milk for breakfast for as long as I can remember when I’d rather have orange juice. Pulp or no pulp, it doesn’t matter. Maybe one day she will f**k it up and accidentally pour me orange juice. We ate our breakfast in silence as mom’s smile occasionally shot across the table like a dart. She doesn’t think I’ve noticed, but she’s burnt the bacon by two minutes and thirty-seven seconds. I don’t say a word. 

Reed finally gets home at 3:14pm as I sit on the hot stone steps just as I had a few hours ago as I watched him leave me. He jumps off the bus and the driver waves his hand at me. I wave back. My face lights up like a lantern as Reed runs to me and gives me a huge hug. I wrap my arms around him like a grizzly bear. He jumps on my back and I carry him through our vanilla scented house and release him on his bed that’s covered in a Transformers blanket. 

“How was your day, Davey?” Reed said, as he threw his backpack to the ground, turning on the small television sitting on his dusty brown drawer. 

I smile at him with a smile only he knows. 

“Well, maybe mom won’t burn the bacon tomorrow,” he said. 

The years have flown since that day in September. Reed’s now grown up and received a scholarship to a college about two hours away. I’ve forgotten the name. I don’t get to see him much"only on the weekends, and the holidays. He’ll come visit me sometimes with a question about Calculus. I’ve been correct on every problem so far. As for mom, she has burnt the bacon every day since dad’s passing.

© 2014 TheWritingWriter

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I liked the descriptions in this piece. And you have good insight into mother-son psychology. Well told vignette, poignant and touching.

Posted 7 Years Ago


7 Years Ago

Thank you very much!

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Added on September 25, 2014
Last Updated on September 25, 2014
Tags: short, story, stories, bacon, speak, brother, mother, father, fiction, realism



Northport, AL

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A Story by TheWritingWriter