With Mother’s Day approaching, this piece of flash fiction seems appropriate.
Daughter: I don’t want to talk about it. Genevieve!
Mother: Mm. I think it’s good to go over these things as you get older, sweetie.
Daughter: Look. I already know that the sperm comes from the man. And the egg from the woman. And together they make a baby. I get it.
Mother: I know you know the facts, honey.
Mother: Maybe now isn’t a good time. But, really, there’s never a good time, is there? We’re home. Dinner’s over. We’re private in your bedroom. Let’s talk!
Daughter: Oh, god! You never give up!
Mother: Language, Kaitlin.
Mother: I don’t mind, if you need to leave “Mom” behind for a while.
Daughter: Yeah, well. I hope you consider years a while.
Mother: Kaitlin, what’s wrong?
Mother: Oh, sweetie! I’m so sorry!
Daughter: Chloe says you aren’t my mom! Not really. That Elena Johnson’s my real mom. Except she isn’t! She doesn’t even know me!
Mother: Sh. Sh. It’s okay. I promise it’s okay.
Daughter: It isn’t okay! How is it okay? How can it possibly be okay?
Daughter: I’m not okay.
Mother: What did you tell Chloe?
Daughter: That you chose to have a baby. Not Elena. That you chose Elena. You and Daddy. That you chose, so you’re my mom.
Mother: But Chloe doesn’t see it that way?
Daughter: She says the egg was Elena’s egg. Not yours. So Elena’s my mom.
Daughter: But she isn’t! She isn’t! I won’t have her!
Mother: Sh. Sh. It’s okay. It’s okay.
Daughter: You keep saying that.
Mother: What do you think, Kaitlin? Is Chloe right?
Daughter: I hate her!
Mother: Oh, honey. Your best friend?
Daughter: Yeah, okay.
Daughter: I know why she said that.
Mother: Really? Can you tell me? Or is it a secret?
Daughter: I don’t care if it’s a secret, blast her!
Daughter: You won’t tell anyone, will you?
Mother: No. I won’t.
Daughter: She just found out. That she’s a sperm bank baby. Or, as she says, that her dad’s not her dad.
Daughter: Yeah. Her mom and dad decided to keep it a secret. Some secret.
Mother: So, is Chloe right?
Daughter: No. No, she isn’t right. Mom.
Mother: I love you, sweetie.
Daughter: I’m so glad you told me before I even knew what it meant. That I’ve always known. Thank you.
I wrote “Mother’s Gift” for a writers’ workshop. The assignment possessed stringent guidelines!
• a parent and a child are talking about “the facts of life”
• my job: tell a story using their dialog
• no dialog tags, no “stage business,” and no setting allowed – only the words spoken
• the reader should learn the characters’ names through their dialog
• the reader must be able to discern who is the parent, who is the child, and the age (roughly) of the child
• no more than 2 pages
In the original assignment, the characters received merely the labels “A” and “B.” That seemed too austere for a blog post, so I adjusted accordingly.
My writing teachers spoke highly of my work. And it pleases me that I managed to layer two supporting stories in with the main narrative. Three stories in one!
I hope you enjoyed it. 😀