Furious Fiction - June 2019

On the first Friday of every month, the AWC hosts Furious Fiction. Participants are given a set of criteria to follow with a strict word limit of 500 words or less. Below is my entry for June.

She placed the plate gently on the table and aligned the cutlery in a neatly manner. I watched from afar. Her eyes remained focused. She polished the glasses, lit the candles for the third time tonight, and straightened her dress as she analysed the masterpiece she had created in front of her. I could tell she was hurting, her straight face masking a frown from within. Her earrings hung low but complemented her dress well. They were my grandmother’s, which made them appropriate to wear to the occasion. She paused for a moment and then proceeded. I watched her scurry across the room picking up bits and pieces she needed to make everything look perfect. She washed a few more dishes in the sink and wiped the bench before she stood back and admired the beauty. But it took one split moment for her smile to vanish, leaving me with this gut feeling that something bad was about to happen.

         ‘Noah, did you move the chairs while I was washing the dishes?’ She asked.

         ‘No mum, they have always been like that.’ I responded.

         ‘What are you talking about? I didn’t notice them before.’ She snapped back.

         I gulped hoping the conversation would end there but I had been in this situation before. My mother’s obsessive-compulsive disorder only worsened when she was going through difficult circumstances. I knew that with grandma’s passing her chances of relapsing were high, but I was never ready for the moment.

         ‘Honey, I moved them,’ my dad said appearing from the room, ‘I thought it made it look more interesting.’

         ‘Interesting?’ She yelled, this time I wanted to pack up my stuff and hide.

         ‘Jacob, I told you, the chairs needed to be in alternating order!’ She yelled once more and threw the tea towel she was holding across the kitchen counter before she began to cry.

         Something about the tone of her voice took me back to the days where I was a child, small enough to hide behind the bookshelf and watching her breakdowns from the corner of the room. The funeral was tough, the burial worse, but the aftermath of losing a loved one was by far the hardest. My mum wasn’t used to this sort of routine. She loved staying at home with minimal communication to the outside world. I could only imagine how difficult it was having to accommodate for everyone who only remembered her as soon as she lost her mother. I hid behind the couch, listening to the sound of my dad’s calming voice in-between my mum’s sobs when the doorbell rang. Mum instantly straightened her dress, wiped her tears and walked towards the door. I was amazed at how quickly she could fake a character, but what I knew was that no matter how hard she tried to fake it with us, we all knew her true self, and the best part was, that we loved her for it.