Challenges

Challenges

A Story by Craig2591
"

Is a mother's love strong enough?

"

Missy sat on the glider on the back porch and observed the birds flitting around the bird feeder. It was a fine sunny day and she had her notebook in her hand, recording the birds' movements for a science project at school. A bluejay suddenly flew up and the rest of the birds took flight. She picked up a small stick and angrily threw it at the bluejay.


“Shoo! You stupid bird!” she hollered, “Stop chasing the other birds away!” The bluejay flew off with a raucous caw.


“Missy?” She heard her father's voice behind her. She turned to find him standing nearby with a woman beside him. The woman was very thin and had long brown hair. She was dressed in a checked shirt and black jeans and held a gift bag. She had an exhausted look to her as if she were just recovering from a serious illness. Missy almost didn't recognize her.


“Your mother is here to see you,” her father said. The woman's smile was a little hesitant, but warm. Missy froze for a few moments in surprise, then set her notebook down and got up from the glider.


“Hello, Mom,” she said politely.


The woman walked over to her and gave her a hug. “Hello, Sweetheart!” she responded. Then she held the girl at arm's length. “Oh, my gosh! Look how you're growing! You must be in fifth grade, now.”


“Sixth,” corrected Missy.


“Sixth! Of course! What's wrong with me?” her mother replied with an embarrassed laugh.


“Why don't you two have a seat and I'll get some lemonade,” said Missy's father.


Missy sat back down on the glider while her mother pulled up a patio chair. She reached over and tentatively stroked Missy's hair. “You're getting so pretty,” she said, “I'll bet you have a boyfriend by now.”


Missy shrugged and smiled shyly.


“I have a birthday present for you,” said her mother with a touch of embarrassment, “I know your birthday was three months ago, but... well... here.” She held the gift bag out to her. Missy looked inside and pulled out a large butterfly picture book. “I remembered that you liked butterflies,” her mother continued, “You even wanted to be one of those scientists that studies them.”


“A lepidopterist,” responded Missy.


Her mother snapped her finger. “That's the word,” she laughed.


Thank you for the book. It's very pretty.”


Missy's father arrived with two glasses of lemonade and set them down on a nearby table. “Missy,” he said, “Why don't you show your mother the butterfly garden that we planted?”


Missy jumped up off the glider. “C'mon. It's over here,” she said with a gesture for her mother to follow her.


I'll be in the kitchen if you need me,” he called after them.


He was scrubbing the stove top when Missy's mother stepped into the kitchen about forty minutes later. “I guess I'm ready to go, now,” she told him, “We had a very nice visit. Thank you so much for letting me see her.”


He gave her a nod. “S'okay.” He rinsed his hands and walked her to the front door.


I can't believe how fast she's growing. And how pretty she is,” she said along the way, “And smart, too! You've done such a good job with her.”


Thanks,” he muttered.


He opened the door for her and she stepped out onto the front stoop. Then she turned to him and said, “I've been sober for three months, now.”


He raised an eyebrow in mild surprise. “Really?”


She nodded. “I'm in a new program. It seems to be working for me.” She looked away and continued, “But it's hard. God, it's hard! I think about booze everyday. The only thing that keeps me sober is the hope that maybe...” she looked down like a child asking an adult for a special favor, “... just maybe if I stay sober, I can be a part of my daughter's life again.”


He looked at her in silence for several moments. “I'd be okay with that,” he finally said.


She looked up at him with a hopeful gleam in her eyes. “Really?!”


He nodded. “I think it would be good for her to have her mother back in her life.” Then he added with a stern look, “Sober!”


Yes!” she nodded enthusiastically, “Absolutely!” Then she looked down again and stammered sheepishly, “And... who knows? Maybe... I could become a... a part of your life again... too.”


His face hardened. “I wouldn't count on that.”


She continued looking down and nodded. “Of course. I understand.” When she looked back up at him her eyes were moist. “But... it isn't out of the question?”


Well...” his voice softened a little, “I suppose anything's possible.”


She laid her hand on his arm. “Thank you. I need that small glimmer of hope to keep me going.”


But I don't want to mislead you,” he added.


She nodded. “I understand. I know I have a long way to go to earn your trust again.” He didn't respond. She made as if to hug him and then stopped herself. Instead, she turned without a word and started down the sidewalk.


I hope you make it this time,” he called after her, “I really do.”


She looked back and smiled, then continued on. He closed the front door and shook his head sadly. “But we've been down this road soooo many times before,” he sighed to himself.



© 2014 Craig2591


Author's Note

Craig2591
Suggestions and constructive criticisms are always welcome.

My Review

Would you like to review this Story?
Login | Register




Featured Review

I love this, You've really captured her age bracket so beautifully here. Hesitant to trust but enthralled enough in her own world to want to share it with someone that deep down is still a part of her life. It was really lovely to read. You also captured the relationship between the Mum and Dad so well, which i expected a little, because you always do that so beautifully, but yet again you've done it in such an enthralling way. Even in your shorter stories there's always such a quick and easy connection to your characters. You write as though they're already alive and just sitting there for me to join for a few moments which is such a talent. I absolutely love reading your work.

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Craig2591

7 Years Ago

Wow! What a wonderful review. Thank you, Kaya.



Reviews

I love this, You've really captured her age bracket so beautifully here. Hesitant to trust but enthralled enough in her own world to want to share it with someone that deep down is still a part of her life. It was really lovely to read. You also captured the relationship between the Mum and Dad so well, which i expected a little, because you always do that so beautifully, but yet again you've done it in such an enthralling way. Even in your shorter stories there's always such a quick and easy connection to your characters. You write as though they're already alive and just sitting there for me to join for a few moments which is such a talent. I absolutely love reading your work.

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Craig2591

7 Years Ago

Wow! What a wonderful review. Thank you, Kaya.
Hello,

Thanks for entering the competition. Alas not a winner this time. I do not have the time to provide a detailed critique on all the submissions, but a few remarks:

- the dialogue does not sound very natural, for example; "stop chasing the other birds away"
- she does not recognize her mother? strange but possible, if they have been separated for a long a time and have become strangers to each other. I think this is the case, but do not understand how they can show such signs of physical affection later on if they are in fact strangers..
- "you must me in fifth grade now" ->this sounds like a guess, which it proves to be so, therefore I do not understand the embarassement later, I would if here she would say something like: "Of course you are in fifth grade altready."
- "we had a very nice visit" -> who is the 'we' exactly? she came by herself as far as I understand
- “Well...” his voice softened a little, “I suppose anything's possible.” -> he gives in rather easily!
- been down this road soooo many times before -> not to keen on the extra o's

Hope it helps!

Regards,

Sesame

@followsesame on Twitter

www.themagiccave.com


Posted 8 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Craig2591

8 Years Ago

Thank you for the review and the suggestions.
Wonderful work here, Craig! Just wondering, wouldn't Missy be a little surprised to see a mother she barely knew? Great job, keep on writing!

Posted 8 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Craig2591

8 Years Ago

Thank you for your input.
Kreative Kana

8 Years Ago

You're welcome!
I found this story wonderful! You felt like you were on edge, but not sure why, until she said 'sober' which brought everything into place which was an amazing feeling and it felt like it was a very classic story while not feeling old. A piece of art!

Posted 8 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Craig2591

8 Years Ago

Thank you so much.
I found this story relatable in almost an eerie way, from her observation of animals for ‘science’ and her interaction with her mother. It reminds me of my childhood. There was a sad sort of awkwardness, and you could feel how hard her mom was trying to look like she knew Missy. All the while I could feel Missy’s tension in her short responses. Also, her dialog with the father infuriated me, so careless like ‘thanks for doing my half! Bye!” Being someone who is a recovered alcoholic, though, I understand in part (I don’t have kids but it really screws up your life). Part of me wants to believe her about wanting to be in her daughter’s life but I have seen a lot of people fail that battle over and over and over again. The end dialog took the words right out of my brain. It was a dismal conclusion but oh so realistic.


Suggestions:
“booze everyday” Every day.
“Really?!” Sorry, this is a nitpick but double punctuation is actually grammatically incorrect. It’s either one or the other. The emphasis is picked up by the context around the question or vice versa.

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Craig2591

9 Years Ago

Thanks. Yeah, I know a little about this subject as my father was an alcoholic. That's why the com.. read more
very simple, yet extremely good. like the way you write your dialogues

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Craig2591

9 Years Ago

Thank you for the review.
Okay, so the story starts from a happy family perspective, but is a stereotypical beginning with no interesting stuff happening. I like lines like 'His face hardened.' Lines like 'I need a glimmer of hope' sound unnatural. The conversation moves too fast and in a stilted fashion.

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Craig2591

9 Years Ago

Thanks for your input.
Very well done. There's no confusion or guessing on the part of the reader what is going on..
A very sad tale. I enjoyed this piece.

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Craig2591

9 Years Ago

Thank you, Tina.
Tina Kline

9 Years Ago

You are most welcome.
The explanation of the characters is well done, organized but still natural, in such a relatively short piece. The attitudes of the three people toward each other make sense given the situation (and works to tease out the backstory). I thought the ending fit, as the plot is kept within this single visit from Missy's mother.

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Craig2591

9 Years Ago

Thank you very much.
This was a small snippet of what seems to be a very interesting story in the making. I thought it odd at first how you put in a description of Missy's mother as though she were a stranger, but as you continued, I knew why- they'd been separated a while. I like how you revealed the story of her mom little by little, building upon the information in an interesting way

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Craig2591

9 Years Ago

Thank you! That's exactly what I was trying to do. I want people to wonder what's going on and the.. read more

First Page first
Previous Page prev
1
Share This
Email
Facebook
Twitter
Request Read Request
Add to Library My Library
Subscribe Subscribe


Stats

1563 Views
12 Reviews
Rating
Added on June 28, 2014
Last Updated on June 29, 2014
Tags: addiction, mother, alcoholism

Author

Craig2591
Craig2591

OH



About
I am a visual artist with no formal training in creative writing. I get stories knocking around my head and sometimes I write them down. I decided to join this site to share them with other writers .. more..

Writing
The Client The Client

A Story by Craig2591



Related Writing

People who liked this story also liked..


Oceans Oceans

A Poem by Emily


10. Depression 10. Depression

A Chapter by Craig2591