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My Mother’s Breakup Story

Story by Annette Pearson (Read author interview) September 19, 2022

©️ Chokmango

I have my mother’s account of the night she left my sister and Newborn Me with a babysitter to go case the secretary’s garage apartment.

Where my father’s old Rambler was parked.

As she’d known it would be.

My mother said she’d intended merely to drive by, to substantiate or dispel suspicions, but she found herself enraged, and ablaze with postpartum hormones, she almost set fire to this Other Woman’s rickety stairs. She would not stop pounding on the door until my father showed his face.

When at last he appeared, “Go home” was what he had the nerve to tell her.

The end of my mother’s tale: By sunrise she had his old beat-up black trunk packed and waiting for him in the front yard. She kept the kids and the house.

I’ve always imagined a too-sunny start to that day.

A rectangular patch of St. Augustine already beginning to flatten.

The clunky brass rotary sprinkler at the end of the garden hose, its three brass arms slinging water at the footlocker again and again and again.

 

About the Author

Annette Pearson is a former college writing instructor living in Austin, Texas, and on Galveston Island. She is currently working on a memoir about ambiguous loss, displacement, and finding one’s way home, titled This Is Where I’ll Be. Excerpts from that have been shortlisted for the 2022 Writers League of Texas Manuscript Contest and the Bellingham Review’s Annie Dillard Award for Creative Nonfiction, and will also appear this fall in Kaleidoscoped.

This story appeared in A SmokeLong Summer 2022 — Special Issue of SmokeLong Quarterly.
SmokeLong Quarterly A SmokeLong Summer 2022 — Special Issue
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The SmokeLong Quarterly Award for Flash Fiction

Deadline November 15!

The SmokeLong Quarterly Award for Flash Fiction (The Smokey) is a biennial competition that celebrates and compensates excellence in flash. The grand prize winner of The Smokey is automatically nominated for The Best Small Fictions, The Pushcart, Best of the Net, and any other prize we deem appropriate. In addition to all this love, we will also pay the grand prize winner $2500. Second place: $1000. Third place $500. Finalists: $100. All finalists and placers will be published in the special competition issue in December 2022.