Tag Archives: mother

Sleepytime Tea (revision)

Mom Mom says that when I drink sleepytime tea that I’ll have good dreams. And you know what? She’s right!

I used to have dreams about monsters that chased after me and I was never fast enough because of my “amnormal” heartbeat, and they would catch me and I’d wake up and go to my mommy’s room. When I drink sleepytime tea, I have good dreams about ponies that fly and butterflies that sing songs. Mom Mom told me once that worms grow into butterflies. Mom Mom knows about everything because she’s old. Even older than Mommy is!

Mom Mom told me once that God created me special because He has special plans for me. Sometimes I feel like God is mad at me because my chest hurts sometimes. Mommy has some gooey stuff she rubs on my chest that helps me calm down and feel better. She tells me bedtime stories. Sometimes I dream that I’m a princess and that Mommy is the queen and Mom Mom is a good fairy who grants my wishes. Sometimes, I don’t have any dreams. That’s because the silver worms ate them. I see them crawling on my eyes before I faint. When I wake up, everyone looks scared and that makes me feel scared.

Me and my family used to go to church but we left. Our pastor said that I fainted because I didn’t believe in God hard enough. Mommy got mad. We left the church after that.

Mommy and Pop Pop got and a fight because Pop Pop wanted me to go to church. Mom Mom said I should decide for myself. I didn’t want to make Pop Pop mad, but the pastor scared me. I like God though, so now we pray at home to Him every morning. Mom Mom and Pop Pop still go to church most Sundays but Pop Pop’s back and legs sometimes hurt too much so they can’t go.

The silver worms sometimes crawl on my eyes but maybe one day I’ll wake up and they’ll turn into pretty butterflies that sing to me. I’m happy that God made me special and gave me Mommy and Mom Mom and Pop Pop too. I know that God loves me and we’ll be happy forever!


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Apple Boy (revision)

Long ago, before he was called Apple Boy, a young boy of ten years was sitting in his kitchen enjoying a red delicious. His mother told him to cut it into slices and that he would get more apple that way and not be so wasteful.

“Not if I eat the whole apple!” exclaimed the boy before thrusting the core in this mouth.

“Stop! Don’t eat that, you fool boy! You’ll get seeds in your belly and an apple tree will grow inside you,” his mother scolded him, but the disobedient boy kept chewing and swallowed the core, seeds and all. She sent him to his room without supper.

A few months later, the boy began to sprout tiny buds on his stomach. The mother fussed and worried over the child (“poor baby,” she purred), but in secret, she was gloating that she was right about the seeds all along (“if only you had listened to your mother then none of this would have happened to my sweetums”).

By the time he was thirteen, kids would pick apples off his arms in class and eat them. He would get in trouble for not bringing enough for everyone. Apple Boy came home crying a lot. “It’s okay,” his mother said, “Mommy will always be here for you.”

When Apple Boy turned eighteen, he had really sprouted up, his limbs branching out so that his arms would crash through the window when he rolled over at night.

“This house is too small for me,” he told his mother one morning. “I need to leave so that I can get more sunlight and rain to grow.”

His mother wept as he uprooted his feet from the ground and shambled out of the front yard. “Oh!” she wept. “They grow up so fast!”

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I thought it had been lost, these memories. Try as I might, I could barely remember my home while I was in America. My memories were all blurry visions and muffled voices. Now, as the automatic doors shuff open, a mere tickle to my nose has called them all stampeding back to my brain.

That. That is the dry air carried by the cold ocean air. That is the scent of maritime pines, the dry dust kicked up by car tires and foot traffic. It draws me to the markets, ripe with people browsing the selection, where we would get my favorite blood oranges. Down the street, the restaurant with my favorite paella, sizzling scallops warming up my nostrils.

I remember now the look on my mother’s face, smile that crept up the corner of her mouth even as her eyebrows said “go wash yourself, you dirty child.” I remember now my brothers playing tag and my sister always running behind, wanting to join in the game. Tomas and his bike. Father and his mustache.

All of these memories lifted from my brain by the scent of my city. If I were not so unarguably happy now, I would shed a tear. I can smell it, see it, remember it at last. The brimming, familiar breeze is sending a message to me: “You are home,” it says. “Welcome home.”

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Filed under Flash Fiction, Session XXIV


Before Bebe goes to bed, she reads a book. When she wakes up, Bebe reads a book then, too.

Most people tell Bebe not to read so much. They say it will hurt her eyes or that she’ll get flabby from sitting around all day. Her mother says reading in the morning is just an excuse to be lazy. Bebe kindly disagrees.

“Mama,” Bebe glances over the spine of her hardcover, “I really don’t see what the problem is with my reading at the table.”

“It sets the tone for the day. If you want to read to go to sleep, fine. But reading when you wake up? Your head’s always somewhere else.” Bebe’s mother is not at the table. She’s pouring coffee into her favorite black mug to drink before she leaves and into her granite travel mug to take with her to work. Her spoon clinks a few times against the side of the mugs and then clatters loudly in the sink.

“I like the tone I’m setting.”

“You have to speak louder, Bebe!” Bebe’s mother was running her hands under the faucet. The handle squeaked back off and she was on to frying eggs and fresh salsa into a hot pan.

“I like my routine! It’s calming.”

Her mother scrapes the spatula round the spattering pan. “Mija, I know. But your teachers say you read during class. You’re a smart girl but you need to apply yourself.”

Bebe’s book clamps shut. “Mama,” she frowns, “Do you remember how I used to be? How I used to spend my mornings?”

She could see her mother’s shoulders rise and fall. Bebe returned to her book.

Quietly, her mother sneaks a plate of huevos and tortilla under her nose. “It’s a quick breakfast, but you need to eat.”

Bebe pushes her book aside as her mother sits at the table with only her coffee.

“Mama, aren’t you going to eat?”

She blows at her coffee. “You go ahead. I’m trying to diet.”


“Okay, give me your fork. I’ll have a bite.” Her mother scoops up some egg and washes it down with a little coffee.

Bebe blew at her food. “Have you ever tried to blow on ice cream like it was something hot?” she said, dishing some egg warm egg into her mouth. “Mr. Reyes says we do it because we’re trying to get the ice cream the same temperature as our breath.”

“Is Mr. Reyes the only teacher you listen to?”

Bebe blushes. Her mother cackles.

“I’m sorry, baby. Go ahead. What is this about ice cream?”

“Well… I was thinking… that reading, is a lot like that. When I get too hot or too cold, reading helps bring me up or down. That’s why I like to start my day that way. I don’t know. Does that make any sense?”

Her mother sips at her coffee. “No. Not really. But I’m just happy for you that you’re not skipping school anymore.” She sighs, looking at the microwave clock. “If being a bookworm makes you happy, then I’m happy.”

Bebe smiles with her head down and eats faster. Her mother slides her chair out. “But do me one favor, Bebe?” She leans over and kisses her on the forehead. “Mr. Reyes isn’t the only teacher that is trying to make you smarter. Keep your books in your backpack, okay?”

Bebe rolls her eyes. “Okay.”

Her mother kisses her on the cheek. “Oh. You taste like huevos.”

“And your breath smells like coffee.”

Bebe’s mother swats the back of her head. “Vamos, bookworm. You have a bus to catch.”

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Filed under Flash Fiction, Session XXII


I’ve been spending all day thinking about what keeps me going. At this point, it’s a matter of pride.

The old bat won’t win this. Not this time. She’s been controlling my life from day one and I won’t stand for it. When I was a child, she was stifling my creativity because she didn’t understand it and wrote it all off as anomalous behavior. Draw one Hitler asteroid falling on star-chested dinosaurs and suddenly you’re a little monster. And then there was the science project about how squirrells and pigeons can be used as a biofuel. Dad said I was ahead of my time, but that was before he left us for that bimbo who worked in Forensics.

Now I’m practically a grown woman and Mom is still trying to control me, deciding who my friends are and should be. It’s a crafty war game we play, though I know I’m weaker than her from a social standpoint. I’ve been going to the library, reading up on warrior philosophy, guerrilla tactics, and passive resistance. My greatest flaw, I think, has been underestimating my enemy. Though my mom is not as intelligent as I am, she far surpasses me in experience at being an authoritarian.

Most recently, I have been fascinated with the story of Che Guevara’s motorcycle trip and how he assisted the leper colony in Peru. The samurai say to love yourself and all others, which hastens the idea that they are only killing out of a sense of duty and honor. Emotions will come to boil at the point where Mom and I square off, but I will have the upper hand by staying calm at the start, of this I’m sure.

I’ve joined the Philosophy Club at school to find like-minded troops for my revolution. War games are not won through one person’s will alone. I need followers and compatriots to enact my plans. Mother won’t know what happened to the little monster doodling crayon drawings of dinosaur Holocausts. Suddenly, her little monster has all grown up. War is the essence of growth, Mother, so thank you for raising me to be this way. Let the games begin.

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Filed under Flash Fiction, Session XX

Not Fair

“It isn’t fair,” Julie pouted.

“What isn’t fair?” her mother asked, threading her knitting needle.

“Life,” she sighed, slumping into the big recliner.

“Oh. Is that all?”

Julie’s mother barely even looked up from her half-moon glasses; it made Julie upset.

“Is that all? Is that all?” She cried, building up steam like a big balloon.

Julie’s mother aimed her needle at her. “Life happens,” she said.

Pop! Just like that, Julie’s temper was deflated.

“It’s not like you’d understand anyway,” she threw herself back onto the chair. It wobbled and she threw her arms down to stabilize it. Phew!

“No, I guess not.” Her mother said, finishing one line and starting the next.

“It’s just that I wanted Paul to ask me to the dance and he asked Rita and Rita’s my best friend but not anymore because she’s a big jerk and she knew I liked him but she went and said “yes” anyway even though we made a double-secret pact with a secret handshake and friendship rings and everything and I HATE HER!” She had been beating on the comfy chair. Now that the rant was over, Julie was panting heavily. “I hate her…”

Julie’s mother set down her needles. “Come here.”

While reluctant at first, her mother’s arms looked too inviting to pass up. She got up from the chair and settled into her mother’s bosom. “It’s just not fair, Mommy,” she whimpered.

“I know, honey. I know,” she said, stroking her hair for a minute. At the end of  the sixty or so seconds, Mother asked, “Do you feel better?”


“Good, because my legs are falling asleep.” She gave a gentle push and Julie slid off her lap, dropping to the floor in a tangled heap. She sprung up, giggling.

“How about we go out and get some ice cream?”

“Really?” she jumped in for a hug, knocking her mother back on her tush. “You’re the best, Mom!”

“I know, sweetheart. I know.”

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Filed under Flash Fiction, Session XVII