A lawnmower starts buzzing outside and distracts me for just a moment, so I’m not ready when she throws that big book at me. It hurts. Rae gasps and stares at my mother but says nothing.
“What the fuck? Get out!” I scream and jump out of bed, not caring that I’m naked. As my mother sees my body for the first time since I was little, it’s all she can take, and she starts to shake. If I wasn’t so mad, I might be worried that she was about to have a heart attack. She keeps looking from me to Rae, and I’ve never her seen her like this before. Rae’s gone pale, and even though I’m sure she’s witnessed worse scenes than this one, I’m embarrassed. And then I’m even more angry at my mother for bringing her drama into my house. Though I want to hit her, instead I turn her around as if she’s a child and am pushing, pushing her out, out the front door. “You don’t know me. You’ve never fucking known me. And you won’t. Ever.” I shove her harder than I mean to, and she stumbles.
Catching herself she turns around to look at me. She’s pale and looks like she might be sick. To me, she mostly looks old and sad. I slam the door.
Then, I drag a chair and prop it under the doorknob even though I know she doesn’t have the keys, and I know she won’t try to get in. I can tell that she’s still standing on the other side of the door and think this is like some bad movie. If I could, I’d stack every piece of furniture I own against that door to keep her out. Only I can’t, and I guess it really wouldn’t matter if I did.
Reine Dugas Bouton lives in New Orleans and teaches English at Southeastern Louisiana University. She teaches and writes about American southern literature. Her short stories have appeared in Deep South Magazine, the Big Muddy, Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, and Acentos Review.