Happy Mother’s Day, Dear

Eric Strand


Tacked to the corkboard above Mother's head is the Norman Rockwell calendar where she Xs off the days with a magic marker. And even though she knows she is literate, she second guesses herself and refuses to "get her hopes up," which has happened in the past on other holidays like Christmas and her Birthday.
Today however is different for on this particular day Mother is feeling especially clever and giggles like a school girl when Father removes the cold metal shackles from her ankles, which she wears so stoically thru the long winter months. Of course she is timid at first and fears that this could be just another "learning experience." It is good for the children, Father says. Little Susie will one day be chained to the kitchen sink in her own home where she will learn to lay quietly while her children watch from the hallway, taking mental notes so that they may confirm with their prudish friends what goes on "behind closed doors."

Mother cowers on the linoleum floor looking up at Father, afraid of her freedom and mistrusting of her surroundings. Father assures her of her safety as she slides on her belly into the family room, still slightly fearing a spasmodic burst of hot electricity of the sort which shot thru her spine so violently and unexpected two months earlier, burning the left side of her face.

The children help Father coax Mother into the family room. This boosts Mother's confidence slightly but she is still fidgety and nervous peering up at the ceiling in case she must defend herself against a boot to the face or boiling hot macaroni and cheese. When she reaches the couch she curls up in a ball on the floor next to Father's legs and stares ahead at the TV with the rest of the family.

Don't be afraid Mother, the children say in unison, Little Susie already meek and practicing her wrist technique. Today is Mother's Day.

Mother smiles and plays with her hair. She glances up at Father who has a tremendous grin on his face causing him to look like the fast food manikin on the TV. That's right Dear, he says. The children are correct.. Today is your day.

Mother begins to smile and wonder at the possibilities. A whole day of my very own! What a "wonderful treat!" She begins to feel much better and finds the courage to climb to her feet. Father holds her by the arm and she thanks him and they walk towards the front door so that Mother can see the sun, hopefully as she still remembers it.

Dear. Mother turns to look at her husband who is addressing her. The children would like to give you your Mother's Day presents now.

The children hide behind Father's legs with a bounty of poorly made gifts and flowers purchased at the gas station the prior evening. Their tiny fingers are covered in glitter and dried glue as they pass the pile to Mother. She takes them with such joy that a single tear rolls down her cheek and splashes on the petal of one of the carnations she holds in her hand. She watches the tear drip slowly down to the center of the bouquet and become sponged in the paper of a purple envelope which bares her name on the outside written in blue pen. She opens the card and reads it aloud. In scribbled childish handwriting Mother reads, Happy Mother's Day, Mother. We love you.

Mother appreciates the gesture and looks up at Father to confirm his involvement in the driving to and from the gas station, along with the $4.99 the flowers must have cost. Mother feels a heart beat in the valley between her thighs and claims inside herself that Father is an extraordinary gentleman, such a brilliant provider and sweet sweet man for remembering that today is Mother's Day. Father follows Mother's thoughts and winks seductively knowing however that he will be the one getting the worst of the rug burns as she, his "beautiful wife" and "beloved Mother" of his children, deserves the attention tonight.
But Mother would have nothing of the sort! Once the children are put to bed she thwarts Father's effort to remove his tattered boxer shorts to the pace of a Barry White CD which stays packed away in a red shoe box with the sex crème and assorted battery powered devices available "only for special occasions." Father is relieved to be taken out of the spot light and climbs into bed lying on his back, the position he is used to, sweating profusely from alcohol and unable to become aroused without mental images of airport strippers who have abortions instead of children and stretch marks.

Once Father's imagination is rolling and Mother is caked in grease she mounts her handsome husband - who smells like Doritos and root beer - and expresses her delight for the day which has been choreographed to perfection, the children dressed in bow ties and Little Susie taking a bath without fighting. Mother knows she is the "luckiest woman in the world," and screams these very words at the top of her lungs for Father's benefit while knocking over the night stand.

The children are disturbed by the shrieking and come running down the hall into their parent's room to join the commotion. Little Susie opens the door quickly and jumps on the bed just as Father is falling asleep.
Why are you screaming, Mother? Little Susie asks as she giggles at the dead worm sticking out of Father's stomach. Did Father give you your Mother's Day present?

Mother smiles at Little Susie who is "learning so quickly." Yes, Dear. Father has given me my present and now Mother's Day is over.

At the sound of this Father abruptly sits up in bed and reaches for the metal key that hangs around his neck on a shoestring. Mother "knows the drill" and gets out of bed, walking to the kitchen where she voluntarily puts the shackles around her ankles for Father to lock. He kisses her on the forehead as she lays down next to the sink. She retrieves her magic marker and crosses off her day on the calendar as Father turns off the lights and whispers, Happy Mother's Day, Dear.

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