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Daddy doesn’t like her anymore. Today he called her ‘inappropriate’. I’m not sure what that means but he disgustedly waved at her clothes. She was wearing her favorite high-heeled leather boots and her pink skirt. And of course, the netted stockings—she never leaves home without them.

After he said that, she screamed back, “So what if I’m still young?” I don’t think Mommy is really young—before bed, she wipes her eyes with a wet cotton ball and I see the wrinkles that the blue powder disguises. She’s pretty when she’s wearing the powder, but Daddy doesn’t like it. He doesn’t like her trying to be more beautiful.

They argue a lot. Most of the time, it’s about money. Maybe Mommy doesn’t go to work—she’s never wearing a tie like Daddy always does. Just netted stockings. She says that women aren’t supposed to work and that it’s his responsibility to pay the bills. I thought so too, until I asked old Miss Doris from Maywood Drive when she baby-sat me. She told me she was a teacher before she retired. I informed Daddy that possibly Mommy had retired as well. He didn’t think so.

On our hallway wall, there are two dusty picture frames hanging. One of them is a picture of Mommy. It’s a close-up taken in a studio; her hair is dyed red and her eyes are heavily lidded. Her red lips are smirking. Most compelling, however, is her revealing fur vest. It’s a scary photo. Daddy doesn’t want her to display it but Mommy insists. I think she enjoys looking like that.

The second photograph is of Daddy, Mommy, and me. We’re sitting on a park bench—me in-between them two. Mommy’s hair is long and still in its natural chestnut color. Her eyes are hazel with no powder. No stockings, either. She is laughing. Mommy looks stunning, but it’s a different kind of beauty from what she has now. It’s the kind that blurs others into the background of the photo. That picture makes me smile whenever I see it.

Charles pushed me today at school. I tried to tell her, but she was so absorbed in a fashion magazine that I’m not sure if she heard. Sometimes I don’t know if she’s aware of her surroundings. That makes Daddy angry. He wants Mommy to grow up. I think I understand what he means. Charles’ mommy doesn’t dress like that. And she never forgets to pick him up at home time.



She’s gone. Daddy’s voice woke me up from my nap. He was calling for her. “Cheryl? Cheryl!” The picture of us at the park had disappeared as well and the empty frame had been cracked. Maybe it will make her smile, too. I think she’s left forever. I hope she remembers my favorite color.

Then Daddy drove off. I don’t believe he’ll find her. She knows where to hide.

I carefully removed the other photograph. She’s not coming back.

I’m going to ask Miss Doris.





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This article has 7 comments. Post your own now!

pankatthedisco said...
May 2, 2009 at 5:04 am
hey bay bay :D
this story is just so deep and meaningful yet so casual and normal that it is just pure brilliant :D
i love yuu <3
 
May said...
Apr. 24, 2009 at 12:25 pm
What a character your mum is!
 
Me3246 said...
Apr. 23, 2009 at 11:08 am
This is really good. Showing the universally seen experience of problems between married couples and splits. The perspective really adds to what the reader can be aware of
 
doubelieveinmagic? said...
Apr. 21, 2009 at 11:04 pm
Another accomplishement ;) this story is incredibly believable. Its simple but deep at the same time.
 
fififlowertot said...
Apr. 20, 2009 at 7:02 pm
Great story, innocence is achieved with a deeper sense of understanding, something which can really only be experienced through the eyes of a child.
 
Stephenmcreynolds said...
Apr. 8, 2009 at 8:31 pm
That was good.
Could you check this out to give me feedback?

TeenInk.com/raw/Fiction/article/96942/Our-Army/
 
penguin35 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Apr. 7, 2009 at 7:52 pm
I love this story. It's so nice and simple because it's from the innocent point-of-view of a five year old. Good job!
 
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