Mother’s Gift

Henri-François Riesener - Mother and Her Daughter - WGA19477

With Mother’s Day approaching, this piece of flash fiction seems appropriate.

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Mother: Kaitlin?

Mother: Kaitlin?

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.

Daughter: Genevieve.

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.

Mother: So?

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.

Mother: Ouch.

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: Mom?

Mother: Yes?

Daughter: I’m so glad you told me before I even knew what it meant. That I’ve always known. Thank you.

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For more flash fiction, see:
Read-Only Beauty
The Old Armory: Blood Falchion
The Old Armory: Hunting Wild

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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. 😀