“The Wife and Mother”

Today
Is the day.

I choose my dress with care.
Designer linen shirt.
Pencil-thin skirt.
Stiletto heels.
Hair.
My hand shakes
As I let loose my curls
And arrange them
To frame my face.
I am shamed
When I look to my burka
Lying
Neatly folded
At the foot of my bed.

I close my eyes
As I enter the elevator.
My fear
Imperceptible at first
Manifests itself
In my pulsating heartbeat
My sodden palms
My numb knees.

My linen designer blouse
Now sweat-soaked
Clings to my curves
And outlines my femininity
As provocatively
As a cheap satin bodice
On a corner streetwalker.

As the car nears
My upper-floor destination
In the cutting-edge skyscraper
My stomach
Regurgitates bile
Into my mouth.
My purse slips from my hand.
A stranger retrieves it.
The elevator door opens.
He exits.
The door closes behind him
Leaving me alone
When I reach the one-hundred-and-first floor.

The door slides open
To reveal my husband
Standing small in front
Of a wall-to-wall window
Overlooking this great city
I have come to love.

I stand beside him
And look out
Across the water
To the East
Toward my homeland.

The sky is clear
The brilliant blue
Of Persian tiles
In ancient mosques
And Roman baths.
It is marred
Only by the contrail
Of a distant plane.

My body is drenched
In perspiration
It can manufacture no more
As I watch the plane
Change direction
And head toward me.

You have arrived in time
My husband speaks without turning.
Our sons
He tells me
Are at the controls.
Our mission on this Earth
Is done.
Our family will go together
In glory.

My fear is replaced by relief.
I straighten
And call upon my faith
As the plane nears
And I prepare
To become one
With my fate
My preordained destiny.

I am to be
The Wife
And Mother
Of Martyrs.

And while I know
In my heart
That it must be
I also know
That it is not
What I want it to be.

I want to be
The wife
And mother
Of the bright
Living
Loving
Men I knew
Before….

(Inspired by dVerse, Open Link Night Week 66, October 16 2012.)

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This entry was posted in Flash Fiction, Micro Fiction, Poetry, Short Fiction, Short Story and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to “The Wife and Mother”

  1. ihatepoetry says:

    Wow. This really snuck up on me- absolutely excellent. Brilliantly done. Wow.

  2. Dave Higgins says:

    That came with a kick on the end.

    As I passed the mid point I was preparing to give you a compliment for a great evocation of the way that we view extremes based on our existing perspective and not a common scale. Then it changed, twice.

  3. Shawn says:

    Wow, I am left silent. This speaks strongly of a woman’s/mother’s unspoken desires and dreams. Very powerful.

  4. Love the write very powerful, hooked me quickly and turned me a couple of times as I said great write….but is it ok to not like the subject? made me so sad

  5. RMP says:

    I echo the earlier stated ‘Wow!’ You really built up the moment quite exquisitely. The end definitely through me for a loop….

  6. brian miller says:

    holy crap….dang…i did not see it coming…i thought maybe she was breaking free of social constraints…and her hestitation there at the end….dang….this is vicious….great write…

    • vb holmes says:

      Many thanks for the great comments–I have had trouble accepting the mothers’ approval of their children’s roles as suicide bombers–it’s incomprehensible to me that they could celebrate such a loss–even if they regard it as predestined.

  7. Very profound.Quite the cultural dilemma. I love the perspective from the mother and how she wants what all mother’s want..a future for their sons.

  8. Sabio Lantz says:

    Great story — I almost didn’t read it because it was long, broken up, lots of caps , hard on the eyes (as I have written before). Glad I read it. Prose disguised as poetry. Poetic prose. Well done. Captured her confusion — love for the city she was helping bomb, love for the men who use to be and yet, bang!

  9. wuzzman says:

    Took me two reads but I highly appreciate what you did here. That was damn good, though a little hard on the eyes at first. I hope you have more in the tank.

  10. vb holmes says:

    Many thanks! Sabio (above) agrees with your “hard on the eyes” comment. However, I have been experimenting with the presentation of each piece of information as a separate statement, ergo, the caps at the beginning of each line. And I, too, hope there’s more in the tank!

  11. oh my goodness…i wasn’t expecting this…grabbed me from first to last line…

  12. vb holmes says:

    Many thanks for your comment–enjoyed your “t’is California”–says the voice in the sky.

  13. Pingback: The Next Big Thing: Blog Hop | Davetopia

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