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Mother Likes Sun

by hannaaullmann


Mother likes sun

I sit by the kitchen table for a couple of hours. I don't do anything, even though I probably have things to do – chores – homework – people I need to speak to.

I don't do any of those things. I sit here, it is afternoon, I sit by the kitchen table, and I am drinking some water. I think the water might be from a couple of days ago. It's lukewarm and has some sort of fizz, and it is not supposed to have the fizz. I once read something about how water can turn into moldy water. How does water turn into moldy water? What is there that can go moldy? It's water.

So, this is all I am doing. It starts to rain, and I love rain more than anything. I don't know where my mother is – and I don't care. She might be out, forgetting that she is, in fact, a mother – and I admire her for that.

I don't want children. I think I don't want children. It’s nice to have something to take care of, though. But maybe I should just get a fish.

I sit by the kitchen table for a couple of hours. I don't do anything, and I don't eat anything. I keep taking those small sips of my moldy water, or at least the water that might be moldy – I mean, maybe it's not moldy. We will have to see what happens.

Usually, I go out in the rain. For a walk or to dance or to stand under a shed and pretend that I'm heartbroken. But I've never been heartbroken – but I think that would be a thrilling experience, experiencing heartbreak. Usually, I go out in the rain. But I'm not doing that now.

I sit here, by the kitchen table. I don't do anything, and I don't eat anything, but now I feel hungry. I get up, my knees feel stiff. I open the freezer and take a popsicle. My mother wouldn't like me eating popsicles for dinner – but she's not here, so maybe she doesn’t care. The popsicles were not bought for me – my mother got them for my little cousins. My mother is like this whole other person around younger kids. Gives them popsicles and attention and fizzy drinks that aren't moldy water. I feel hot and press the popsicle to my neck. My mother would say that it's cold. She’s always cold, and most of the time – I am too. But now I’m hot, so I press the popsicle to my neck.

It’s a minty popsicle, and peppermint reminds me of my mother. Many things remind me of her, and I don't know how to feel about it.

I walk out of the kitchen, and the dog is lying on the floor. I walk over to the dog. The dog is old and has a stiff hip and has fatty lumps on its skin. I pet the dog with my foot – and my mind isn't satisfied with the dog just lying there on the floor, so I make the dog go onto the sofa – and then my mind is happy. Dogs are supposed to be on the sofa. It fits right.

I eat the popsicle and bite right into it. It melts and drips onto the floor, but I don't clean it up. I glance out of the window, it’s pouring outside, it makes me happy.

My mother tells me that I can tell her anything. I hear the keys in the door. She’s home. The dog hears her and jumps off the sofa, and it fills me with rage.

"Hello," my mother says.

I say hello, but apparently, it’s just in my head.

"Hello?" my mother asks again, a bit annoyed – she thinks I’m ignoring her.

"I said hello!" I say and walk into the hallway.

My mother shakes her umbrella, and the floor gets wet. The dog licks it up. I study the dog's tongue and how the tongue gathers the water, like a tiny ladle, spooning the water and then throwing it into the mouth. My mother looks at me, she smiles, but it’s not a smile, I recognize that smile, it’s not a real smile – I can tell that it’s not a real smile because there’s always this vein. This vein that reaches from her eyebrow and to the center of her forehead. I don’t like the vein.

"No, silly, you didn't say hello back ", – my mother says, and it might sound cute, but it’s not. "I did.", I say and stare back at her.

We stand in the hallway, and it is so, so quiet – with only the sound of the dog drinking the rainwater. My mother exhales, making it clear that this is what she’s doing - exhaling. Very loudly. It’s like she wants everyone – the dog – me – to hear her exhale.

"Had dinner yet?" she asks.

"Yes," I say.

"Good, what did you make?" she turns around to hang her raincoat up.

"Pasta puttanesca," I lie.

I've only made pasta puttanesca once in my life – fourth grade, during a cooking competition at school. My mother makes an "mmm" sound, and it makes me angry.

My mother tells me that I can tell her everything.

"You know what another word for pasta puttanesca is?", I ask her.

"What?" my mother says and takes off her rain boots. I don't like the word rain boots. I have heard that they're calledwellies in England, and I love that word.

I meet my mother's eyes – "whore pasta," I reply, and my mother yells at me.

I laugh.

It’s evening and my mother has had three cups of half-drunken tea. She makes tea; then, she forgets to drink it, so she makes another cup – this continues on and on. It’s still raining. My mother complains about the rain. This is the time of day that the evening sun hits the window. But it is rainy tonight -- so no sun. My mother likes the sun. I like the rain.

I shower – and the water is so burning hot that it hurts but not in a bad way. Sometimes I like the thought of people seeing me in the shower – not my body – not in a creepy way - but

from the collarbones and up. The small things, you know? I think collarbones are beautiful. I believe they are the most delicate bones. And the water droplets on my eyelashes and my hair pulled back nicely. That's what I want people to see because I feel pretty in the shower – from the collarbones and up.

My mother tells me I can tell her anything, and I tell her about me wanting to be seen in the shower from the collarbones and up because I feel pretty. She looks at me like I've said something horrible, and she doesn't reply. She ignores it and finds a hairbrush. I sit on the sofa with her and the dog, and she brushes through my wet hair.

"It hurts," I say.

"Sorry," she says – but keeps tugging my hair with the brush.

I trace my finger on the dog's lip. I know I have many tangles in my hair, and my mother lets out her inner anger on them. It makes me tear up because I think the scalp and the eyes or tear canals have some sort of connection.

"Ow!" I say, and she mumbles another apology.

She braids my hair and goes on about how I need to get a haircut, that my hair is too long and that I need to condition it better. I don't reply, and she stops talking. Amy Winehouse is playing very quietly from a radio in the other room. My mother gets up from the sofa, and I poke my dog’s belly. Not hard, just gently. He looks up at me, and his collar makes a plinging sound.

My mother comes back with essential oil and rubs it behind my ears, and she asks me to look at her. My mother has many freckles. I have none. The rain drums on the window, she dabs some peppermint oil on the spots on my face: pimples and stuff like that. I always pick on them till they start to bleed. The whole living room smells like cheap nauseating minty toothpaste from America.

"Go to bed," she says. I don't answer -- and I don't get up from the sofa.

"Shame, there's no evening sun," my mother says.

"It’ll probably be sunny tomorrow," I say, but I hope it isn't.

I hope it rains. If it rains tomorrow, I will be out in the rain all day and not here.

"Go to bed," my mother says again.

-

It’s a new evening and Amy Winehouse is playing from the radio. My mother is standing on the kitchen floor, I’m sitting by the kitchen table, doing my chores – my homework – the things I should be doing.

"Dance with me," my mother says, and I shake my head.

I look at the clock on the wall. Listen to the minutes go by. Time must be a made-up concept.

I could make up my own time – for example, I could say that in my opinion – for me – a minute is an hour. And then time would go faster.

I tell my mother this. I tell her about time being made up.

"Come on, dance with me," she answers and stretches her hand out.

The dog looks for more rainwater to drink, but there isn't any.

My mother and I dance to Amy Winehouse while the evening sun hits the kitchen window.


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944 Reviews


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Mon Sep 27, 2021 6:25 pm
MailicedeNamedy wrote a review...



Hi hannaaullmann,

Mailice here with a short review! :D

This was a strangely interesting story you presented here. I just don't know how to feel yet?

On the one hand we have a child, I suppose a teenager, who behaves very much like a teenager, partly reserved, funny and yet with a certain provocative expression, and a mother who seems to neglect her child a little. At least that was my first impression when reading.

I don't know what exactly the other reviews wrote, but the first thing I noticed was that your writing style was a bit bumpy and sometimes hard to read. You often repeat the beginnings of sentences and the sentences in general don't read very well one after the other, a bit like a wall where the bricks are a bit angled so that there are little holes. But partly I thought that this style should be part of the story - I think, maybe it could be a psychological disorder in the teenager that makes him tell it like that and that's why the mother reacts so coldly towards it.

I don't get the message here directly, I was waiting until the end for some kind of revelation, like that the child is actually already an adult, or just as described, maybe has a handicap.

Since none of this was revealed, I found the text very bleak. It has this coldness about it that you create, where I wonder about other questions that are not even mentioned in the text. Where do they live? What is their prosperity? Where is the father? You create a lot more questions than answers, which I think is great on the one hand and gives the story a dark background mood.

I really liked the way you portrayed the characters. I liked the narrator and how you could see how it was partly between a petulant child and a naïve help-seeker. I also notice that there is a kind of lack of basic trust, that in my opinion a kind of false relationship was formed in early childhood. Since the text doesn't give much information, I think it's really difficult to create a clear context.

The title suggests that the teenager sees everything in himself as bad, except when he is alone and believes that the mother does not like the child... I am confused and yet more doors of interpretation open here. In general, I found the readability good and yet in need of improvement. I also think you would have to try to answer some questions to create a "sense" in the story.

Have fun writing!

Mailice




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Fri Oct 02, 2020 10:41 am
IcyFlame wrote a review...



Hi hannaaullmann!
I'm just stopping by to give you a quick review :)

I see that fleuralplants has pointed out a lot of things point by point so I'm just going to focus more on my overall impressions whilst reading this.

So I didn't fully understand the message throughout this story. I'm assuming that your main character is a teenager and we have some angst as they try and navigate a difficult relationship with a mother that they don't seem to thing cares about them.

There's a lot of rambling of inner thoughts here, and for me that confuses the narrative. For example, when your character begins to think about how water is or isn't mouldy, I find that throws me off track in the story. I would try to stick a little more to the weather and whether it's rainy or sunny because I think that part is beautifully done and works well.

I also very much like the passive voice you have that tells this story. It's very easy to read and enjoyable too.

I do, however, struggle to understand what the issue is between your character and their mother. Is is just angst from the mother/child relationship, has something happened in the past or is there something happening now that we don't see? I don't think you have to go into too much detail about this, but a couple of hints throughout the story to allude to some deeper issues beneath the surface would work well I think. It was almost like you began to do this with the pasta puttanesca, but I don't think it really lead anywhere?

Overall though, a good piece and nice to read!

Hope this was helpful :)

Icy




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Mon Sep 28, 2020 10:54 pm
fleuralplants wrote a review...



Hi!
Suggestions:
For starters, when you said

chores – homework – people I need to speak to.
I don't think that the dashes were an effective way of going through this list of things she could be doing. Perhaps commas would be better.
I think this phrase
My mother would say that it's cold. She’s always cold, and most of the time – I am too. But now I’m hot, so I press the popsicle to my neck.
and some of the sentences surrounding it are monotone and plain to read.
When you wrote
My mother looks at me, she smiles, but it’s not a smile, I recognize that smile, it’s not a real smile – I can tell that it’s not a real smile because there’s always this vein.
The amount that you said smile comes off as slightly annoying and repetitive, and the fact that there are many commas and dashes rather than using a semicolon or ending the sentence doesn't work very well.
This is such a minuscule issue that was most likely an accident, but I noticed it and thought that I might as well pointed it out. In the quote
you didn't say hello back "
There is a space between "back" and the quotation mark, and it is unnecessary.
Loves:
I like this line,
My mother likes the sun. I like the rain.
It is simple, yet it describes the differences between the main character and her mother. It shows the reader that the character and her mother are different, rather than flat out stating "My mother and I are different."
There is one line I particularly like-
The whole living room smells like cheap nauseating minty toothpaste from America.
I like this line because it demonstrates the feeling that the main character has about the setting she is placed in. Although, I'm not sure if America needs to be specified.
I love how this short story ends- it ends with the main character back in the same place that she started, but this time, she is doing something different. I really appreciated that.
I love this line!
I could make up my own time – for example, I could say that in my opinion – for me – a minute is an hour. And then time would go faster.
Really, isn't time such a made-up thing? Who decides what an hour or a minute is?
Anyway, I absolutely loved reading this! It might be one of my new favorites.
Thank you so much for sharing!





But even the worst decisions we make don't necessarily remove us from the circle of humanity.
— Wes Moore, The Other Wes Moore