I had kept mother alive in thoughts. Too alive, perhaps.
The previous day, she lay still. With many, hundreds maybe. I wouldn’t know. The scientists with hazmat suits on told me, “All you can do for her now is wait.”Now, I stay at my home’s front door while the rest of the house is quiet. I barely move, and I only do when I would trace the design on the floor I sit on.
I hear the door knob click at 11:43pm. I burst up, “Mommy?”
Her face is wrapped in white towels, and she doesn’t answer me. She walks past me, so I shut my mouth. She pauses then stops in the kitchen door frame. I’m behind her.
“She wasn't happy about it, but she'd been recalled to life for a reason.” She speaks.
I don’t see her mouth move, but she keeps moving. I stand in place.
Why is she talking about herself. I shrug it off and head to bed. I couldn’t worry about her now.
I get in bed, but when I settle the door slowly creeps open.
Her back faced the door. She was facing the other way. “She has missed you.” She reached behind her and pulled the door shut.
I fall asleep fast. And wake up bright and early. I make myself cereal while my mom sits at the table.
“What was it like?”
My mom does not move. I look down and take another bite of cereal.
“Cold.” My mother says. I look her, but she hasn't moved.
“Where did you go?” I stare at her to see her move. She gets up from the table and leaves the room. I follow her into the hallway and watch her go into the bathroom.
I waited for her to come out, she stayed in there awhile, so I headed back into the family room.
Thirty minutes pass, I hear the door click and I glance to where the bathroom is. The door is open, and she’s not there. I get up and go down the hallway. She’s standing back to the closet door. She opens it by reaching behind her.
She slams it shut. “Would you like to see something?”
She is looking at me but her mouth doesn’t move.
Turning around, her back faces me. She moves her arms in a way I’ve never seen before.
She unwraps her towel off her head.
When the towel drops the words, “Your face is…” slipped out of my mouth.
“I know, it’s on backwards.”
“The sickness was fake. It was all a ruse. It’s better like this. She likes it.” She steps forward to me. And I begin to spin away. She grabs me. “We’re in this together now.” She smiles, but it’s twisted.