At Breakfast

Published: Nov 18, 2020

I did not prevent it or spend much time after that night thinking about it. The topic seemed completely overwhelming and avoided it almost entirely. She walked around the house with her shoulders slumped and her back arched, like she was trying to get closer to the ground. She avoided it too, except for one morning.

"Ma," she whispered. I wasn't sure if I had heard anything at all. I was sure when she spoke again, "Momma."

I turned to her, from the stove, where I was making a wet batch of scrambled eggs. They were shiney with butter and dripping with milk.

"I won't ever be the same. Why are you letting this happen?" she said, sounding distant and removed. "I want to keep being me."

"I don't know how to stop it," I said, not sure what I meant. I still don't know what I really meant with those words. Of course I could have stopped it; maybe the truth was that I did not want to prevent. I knew she was broken.

"What if I run away? Will you come for me?" she pleaded.

"I don't know why you would say something like that ... especially at a time like this." I felt emotions growing within, and struggled to hold on. I turned back to the eggs, and growled at her over my shoulder, "You're giving me more reason to think is this is the right thing to do."

I imagined her hurt, but I did not turn to see if it was true. I couldn't hold in my own hurt and tears dripped into the pan and sizzled.

Character

Mary Finly