She stared at the blank page, unable to write a single word, even though she knew exactly what needed to be said. She could picture everything so clearly.
Her smile, that million-watt smile, full of teeth and humor, that lights up every room and soul she enters. The way her eyes sparkle like a clear night sky, full of love and mystery. That laugh, unrestrained and joyous.
She stood up and started to pace, worrying her fingernails. How to describe the commitment to school, athletics, and community that consumes every moment of the day. How to…
The furrowing of her feet on the carpet caused her finger to spark against the metal doorknob to the kitchen. She jumped, gasping, and stuck her finger in her mouth, letting nature’s coagulant sooth the sting. Anger welled inside her, unreasoning and black. She beat on the door with her fists, until she exhausted herself. She leaned her back against the door and slid down, tears mimicking her path.
“It’s so unfair!” she screamed to the empty house. “Why can’t I do this?”
The chime of the doorbell echoed through the house, followed by a tentative knock. She couldn’t muster the strength to do anything but sob.
The front door clicked open. “Mimi?” an uncertain voice called. “You home?”
At the sound of Donna’s voice, Mimi groaned aloud. Padded footsteps hurried through the living room to where she sat.
“Mimi?” She sensed more than saw Donna kneel beside her. A gentle hand stroked her hair. “What’s wrong?” Donna asked.
“I can’t do it,” Mimi cried. “I know what to say, but I can’t write it! I write for a living, but I can’t write this.”
The gentle hand in her hair became a firm hand on her back. She allowed herself to be lifted up. Arms encircled her and her head found the shoulder she so desperately needed. Soothing noises and murmured “It’ll be okay” accompanied her outpouring.
Donna rocked with her and slow-danced her back to her writing desk. Her computer sat at the center, pictures of her with her husband and daughter softening the otherwise drab work-space. Mimi sank into her padded leather chair, hair limp and shoulders slumped.
“Talk to me,” Donna said.
Mimi chewed her lip for a moment, fists subconsciously balled in white-knuckled fury. “I should be able to do this,” she said. “I should be able to write how she’s friendly and outgoing. How her parents are so proud of her that it’s painful to think of her growing up and leaving the house. How a whole town cherishes her presence.”
Mimi buried her face in her hands. “What kind of writer am I that I can’t write this down?” came the muffled question.
Donna knelt in front of Mimi and slowly pulled her hands away from her face. She waited until brown eyes met blue and caressed the face of her best friend. “She was all of those things, wasn’t she?” Donna said. “It doesn’t matter what kind of writer you are, you’re a mother first.”
Mimi stared back, eyes lined with red and circled with the coloration of a fresh bruise. Her lip trembled. “That’s the problem, isn’t it?” Donna asked. “Writing it will make it real.”
Donna’s eyes began to well and turn bright with tears for the pain of her best friend, and the loss of a girl she considered family. She held them back. Instead of crying, she turned to the computer, fingers poised over the keys. “Tell you what. You say them and let me write them. Maybe it doesn’t have to be real for a little while longer.”
Mimi swallowed hard. With a tremulous voice, she began, “My daughter Jennifer is…”
This piece is for the Write Now challenge found at the Today’s Author blog. The prompt is:
She stared at the blank page, unable to write a single word, even though she knew exactly what needed to be said.
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