Flash fiction written for OLWG#75
Kitty came home late last week. It’s good to have her back. When she left she told her mother that she was running to the store to pick up avocados and salsa. Kitty wanted to make guacamole to go with dinner. That was a little over four years ago.
Now she’s back, and she brought the fixings for a nice guacamole and a fresh pack of menthol cigarettes. Carried it all in through the front door in a paper bag with handles. The bag didn’t have a store name printed on it, it didn’t say Safeway, or Ralphs, or Tesco. It was nothing more than a plain brown paper bag.
She came in as though nothing had happened, “Mom, I got avocados,” she announced, “but Jeeze they cost a lot – almost three dollars apiece. I thought about just buying the readymade stuff, but that’s never very good.”
Well, needless to say, everyone went apeshit. I stopped cooking and stared because Loretta, my wife and Kitty’s mom, wasn’t even around anymore. She had been killed by a drunk driver almost a year after Kitty left for the store. Kitty’s boy, Billy got up from his seat and went over to hug his mother.
“Billy,” she said, “I didn’t realize how bad you need your haircut. I’ll drive you to the barber this weekend.”
“Where have you been?” Billy asked.
“The store, silly,” she said. “Did you need something? Jeeze, you’ve grown! I’ll have to get you new trousers as well.”
“You went to the store years ago, Mom. You never came back.” He looked in her bag. “When did you start smoking?”
“Smoking? I don’t smoke. What are you talking about?”
Billy held up the pack of green Marlboros, the question plastered all over his face.
“Give me those,” she ordered. He did.
Kitty looked at her boy. She looked at me, “Where’s Marilyn?” she asked.
“She’s at school,” I told her.
“She should be home by now,” Kitty said as she looked at the clock.
“No, she’s at school, sophomore year at State,” I repeated and expounded. “She’s majoring in Literature. She wants to be a poet.”
Kitty’s eyes were wide now. She was studying the kitchen, looking at Billy and, looking at me. She was pounding the pack of cigarettes on the counter. When she stopped, and tore open the pack like a pro she stuck a smoke between her lips. Reaching into her handbag she pulled out a pack of matches and lit the cigarette. I was so dumbstruck I didn’t say anything. I watched her.
“What else do you have in your purse besides matches?” I asked and, in reply, she turned it over and emptied it onto the countertop. She had a pack of tissues and a hundred dollars in twenties, along with her wallet and keys, nothing else. No receipts or coins. No gum or breath mints, no cell phone, no lipstick or other makeup. She picked up the wallet and opened it.
“What day is it?” she asked.
“November the eighth, 2018.”
“No, it’s not. No, it’s June. June 2014”
I pointed to the calendar on the wall. “Billy, show your mom the newspaper. There’ll be a date on that too.”
Kitty looked at the paper. She shook her head, “No,” seemed to be all she could say. She started pulling out credit cards, “These are all expired, and my driver’s license has expired too? What the fuck?” she staggered over to the seat where Billy had been sitting and collapsed in it. “I need a drink. Dad, can you get me a drink? Where the hell have I been? What the fuck have I been doing?” She shook her head some more and I opened a beer; handed it to her.
We’re still getting adjusted to her being home again, and so is she. We didn’t know where Kitty has been or why she took up smoking and, she it seems that she doesn’t know either.
This week’s prompts were:
- a hundred dollars in her purse
- Kitty came home