Monday, February 02, 2009

Fate Family

Flash fiction piece (based on a dream I had last night)

Last night my mother asked me to commit suicide with her. It's not as bad as it sounds. No Hari Kari or shooting out the whole town on our way. This would be more of a sacrifice - not even a ritual sacrifice (she's not into that culty stuff). Actually, I have to admit I'm not entirely sure why she wants this. All I know is that I am the only sibling she asked and I feel honored. Sort of.

She has already thought it through thoroughly, how it will work. Father will dig and line a huge hole outside of our house with concrete. In it we'll add a few weeks' worth of recycling (turns out she's been saving pizza boxes for just this reason), and after she and I both drink some poison, we will be burned inside the concrete, keeping the family warm for days. It's not that cold here, that's what confuses me about her logic. I mean, we live in California and it's not even winter yet.

I love my mom. I'd do anything for her and for that matter, I haven't been too happy living lately except for when I spend time with her. My third boyfriend, Allen, broke up with me last week, saying I wasn't pretty enough for him, and I'm failing Algebra. So why not? Don't have much success with life.

Yet today, ever since she asked me last night and I woke up this morning, the trees seem lighter, freer, and greener than before. Even the collection of burnables my mother has been hoarding in the shed (I went out to see for myself) is beautiful: covered in late afternoon light, cobwebs already beginning to spread, parallel to the cardboard boxes or crossing the great divides between them. I don't find such perceptions confusing, I only find they confuse my answer, which I have yet to give her. Does this mean I should die or live? I can't tell whether or not this is a gift to someone who has given up or the universe trying to tell me not to go anywhere.

Tonight I came home from the dry club with my friends and mom was waiting on the couch. "Am I late?" I asked, certain I wasn't. "No, I just wanted to ask you if you've thought about what I said last night?"
She wasn't menacing, just mom-like. Wrapped in her pink robe, which I know by the scent she'd worn all day. Ever since dad got laid off she's had a hard time leaving the house. I had thought all day about what she had said, but I had no conclusions, which is, I know, what she wanted to hear from me - the final answer of final answers.
"I've been busy mom. Sorry. No chance to consider it yet."
"Don't wait too long, Sabrina. We only have so much time."
I kissed her on the cheek, not asking what that last comment was about, and went to bed.

I dreamt of Fire. I dreamt of our bodies burning under the wide sky. Hers first, then mine. And I couldn't bear the thought of watching my own body burn, even if were already dead.

I woke and saw the sun above me and let it go. All of it. Life and death. I went to my mother and told her I would not be dying with her. I needed to live.

And she said "Good."
And "I was hoping you'd say that."
And "Now let's go burn some marshmallows."


  1. wow. that's intense. what part of it was based on the dream, if i may ask?

    gotta run, more another time. this will stick with me though. i will not soon forget it.

    i loved the part where the speaker couldn't stand to see her body burn... very, very intense. affection for the body, the corporeal self, and what that self experiences, the simplest little experiences (greener trees, etc.) has saved me before.

  2. The whole thing was the dream, basically!

    I appreciate your response - how affection for the body runs deeper than "liking" it, and how the little things are what save us...