Micro fiction

The Long Black Sleeves

1 minute read

My daughter sings in front of the bedroom mirror holding her hairbrush as a pretend microphone. She is listening to my worn-out cassette tapes in the old stereo. Hits from the eighties mostly – some Madonna, some Prince. Good stuff.

In the evenings my husband comes up to the bedroom, usually carrying a tray with dinner. David sits on the bed and tries to get through to her. “Come outside honey,” he says; but she just buries her face in the pillows. At night, Winnie lies still on her back and watches the spinning lights on the ceiling.

During the wake she held her tiny arms around her dad, trying to offer him comfort as his lips trembled. Watching my daughter staring blankly at the open casket I could tell she hadn’t yet realised what was happening. Looking down at myself, I felt selfish. Despicable. Guilty.

There I was. Mom of the year. Eyes closed, pale skin and my wrists hidden in shame under the long black sleeves.

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