You’ll Understand One Day

Flash
Jo Goren


Photo Credit: new35168/Flickr (CC-by-sa)

Pay attention, you said.

This is how you scald the milk for morning cocoa.

You placed a chair by the sink for us to stand on and wash up after meals.

Nothing lives forever you said when we found the birdcage empty.

This is how to fix an omelet.

You couldn’t ride a bike or swim but made certain we learned.

Behave, be kind, it beats being nasty, you said.

You made our clothes.

Baked pies.

Scolded me for kissing boys.

One afternoon you brought home a pup.

We named him Rusty, but he became your best friend.

Rusty ran in circles around your legs all the way to the beach.

We watched you walk away, dog by your side, dressed as if you had an appointment, stockings, skirt, hair perfect, to go lie on a blanket to read and write beneath the dunes.

You needed time alone, you said, every mother does, you’ll understand one day.

Rusty kept us in check, and away from you with his shrill barks.

If we didn’t mind, he’d nip at our heels.

Bored making our own fun, we’d made sandwiches to distract the dog.

We zigzagged on hot sand that burnt our feet before he ripped into our shorts.

We counted the hours until you came home smelling like sunshine until one day, the day you trained us for, when you didn’t.

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Jo Goren is a writer, artist, community volunteer for the YWCA of Cleveland and member of Lit CLE. Her writing has been published in Ekphrastic Review, Literary Mama and Libros Loqui. She was a nominee for Best Small Fictions 2019. Twitter: @drawing4dollars Email: jmgoren[at]gmail.com

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