Colleen Shine Phillips with Me, Mom, and Matlock is the winner of my first ever Flash Fiction Contest and a $20 gift card from Amazon.com.
Thanks to all who participated. I may do another one in November or December—just in time for Christmas so check back to see the details. And in keeping with the season it might have a Christmas theme.
Ane here’s the winner.
Me, Mom, and Matlock by Colleen Shine Phillips.
Nestled in her nubby tweed recliner, my mother poked at a pill organizer.
“Uh, need some help, Mom?”
“I can still hold my own, Shannon.”
“What’re you doing?”
Her face told me everything, but I couldn’t push her. She might be eighty-five, but that Irish fire was far from going out. Already wrinkled, her forehead creased into deep crevices. “Do you have to know everything?”
Those razor-sharp words cut through me. Took me back to when I was a kid. I reached toward the organizer. “Tell me what—”
She pushed my hand away. “I’m old, not useless.”
Irritation prickled my spine. “Nobody said that.”
“You didn’t have to.”
My gaze swept the room, taking in the walls I’d painted a dull off-white to please her, the maple side tables that screamed post-World War II, the shabby couch she didn’t want to let go of—all to make her to feel more at home.
Swallowing my frustration, I gulped deep breaths, a habit acquired since Mom had moved in with me after Dad’s death. “I just—”
“I know. You always just.”
My lips pressed into a straight line.
Then she bowed her head, and tears trickled over her leathery hands.
“My wretched attitude. You’re so kind, and I . . . I hate getting old!” Her watery blue eyes searched mine. “Why is everything a task? When will my energy return?”
Her questions broke my heart. Envisioning her nodding off during Diagnosis Murder and the pain that often assaults her frail body, my anger waned.
“Some things are tough for me, too, and I’m only sixty. Like dill-pickle-jar lids. My fingertips slip like chunks of plastic.”
“And how about those pesky child-proofed medicine bottles? Impossible.” She wiped at her tears. “But, it’s not going to get better, is it?”
“Depending on your perspective. Some things won’t. But . . . hey, we live in Las Vegas, the buffet center of the world, so how about those Senior discounts? They rock!”
Clapping weathered hands, she giggled. “South Point’s my favorite. You’re right.”
The two words I’d longed to hear my whole adult life. Ironic. Because now it didn’t matter to me.
I nodded toward the pill organizer. “So . . .?”
She wiggled a gnarled finger. “Couldn’t snag my heart tablet. How about your plastic-tipped one?”
It took two tries, but I succeeded.
Struggle forgotten, Mom grabbed the remote control. “Think Matlock’s on?”
A dozen important things vied for my attention. I plopped onto the couch and leaned back. “Well, let’s find out.”