Saturday 24 June 2023

'(Mother Loved a Bath)' by Helen Laycock

My name is Ella Gray.

  • I eat lemons (piquant);
  • I drink seawater (brackish) and vinegar (pungent);
  • I talk to animals and angels;
  • I always wear red;
  • People call me ‘odd’.
  • I scatter my mother’s ashes over my porridge*. [A dessertspoon a day (for 169 days)] At first, I left the ghostly hundreds and thousands on top (in tiny pits); now, I stir them in.
    *She is part of me. Like I was once part of her. 
  • I sleep in Mother’s cardigan (red).


My brother is called Edward Gray. Edward Gray lives in Room 16 at Colswell Residential Home, where a dedicated team get to know residents’ unique personalities, ensuring their care is tailored to meet individual needs. A Banforth Home Care Provider.

Edward does not speak.

I do not visit Edward.

My father is in a place we ‘do not mention’.

I do not visit my father.

My father sends me letters beginning ‘My darling Ella’ and signed ‘Daddy’. Kiss. Kiss. Kiss.

Every Tuesday, I fry liver in Mother’s cast iron pan (not her liver). It was her mother’s.

It has history’.

When Edward was two, he pulled my hair and I hit him over the head with it. That’s when they took my father to the place we ‘do not mention’.



I just cannot cope with you any more, Ella Gray,’ Mother said one evening when I stared at her across the kitchen table. ‘One of us will have to go.

I looked at the frying pan and pondered which room my mother would have at Colswell Residential Home, where a dedicated team get to know residents’ unique personalities, ensuring their care is tailored to meet individual needs.

No…

When she had her bath, I held up her ankles (for six minutes).

I prefer showers. (That’s not odd).



---

First published at Reflex Fiction.



4 comments:

Congratulations to our 2023 Best Small Fictions Nominees!

We are delighted to nominate the following 2023 FlashFlood stories to the Best Small Fictions Anthology: ' I Once Swallowed a Rollercoas...