Speakeasy #138: Legacy

make-up set

The bowl lay overturned on the floor, a rough crack running down one side.

“What did you DO?” Ramona shrieked at the cowering six-year-old, knocking over her make-up in her haste to reach the kitchen. “That bowl belonged to my mother and my grandmother!”

“I’m sorry, Mommy,” Felicia moaned through her tear-soaked lips, blonde pigtails quivering. “It was an accident.”

“Oh, you’ll be sorry.” Ramona rolled up her sleeve and stalked over to Felicia, hand raised.

Felicia threw up her hands in front of her face. “Please, Mommy! I’m sorry!”

***

“Please, Mommy! I’m sorry!” Ramona cringed in the corner, away from the possessed eyes of her mother. 

“Do you see the mess you made, you stupid little twit?” Mommy’s breath stank as she bellowed in Ramona’s face, stinging hands punctuating every word. 

“Ow, ow, ow, MOMMY! PLEASE! It hurts!” Ramona’s pleas acted as a catalyst, urging her mother’s hands to strike faster. Harder.

“Oh, God! Why did you burden me with shuch a shtupid child?” Mommy’s words came out slurred, alcohol and a dangling cigarette impeding her speech. She hiccupped, and the cigarette tumbled onto Ramona’s pink dress, burning a hole in the skirt.

Mommy’s hands, red and slightly swollen, tired. She jerked Ramona out of her corner and tossed her to the floor, causing Ramona’s knees to sting as the carpet burned her. “You will pick up everything in this living room then go to bed. I don’t want to see your face until tomorrow.”

Why does Mommy hate me? Ramona thought as she sniffled and slowly started to clean up the ice cream she had tried to bring to her mother.

***

Ramona looked at Felicia, eyes clenched, arms out, and left leg up to her chest in a desperate attempt to block what she knew was coming, and back at the broken bowl that passed from generation to generation in her family. She jerked her hand to a stop before it hit her daughter.

Ramona’s breath grew deeper and more ragged as other memories, each worse than the last, assailed her. Her face screwed up in anger and she dashed back to where the bowl lay.

Her fists clenched and her body trembled as she stood over it. A low growl started from deep inside her chest and she reached down to gather up the bowl.

Her vision started to blur as the cool porcelain caressed her fingers. She brought it to her cheek, squeezing her eyes as tears started to fall.

From behind her, Ramona heard Felicia say, “Mommy?”

Her eyes snapped open and she hurled the bowl against the far wall, shattering it into hundreds of pieces, while screaming, “I’M NOT GOING TO BE YOU, YOU BITCH!”

Ramona sank to her knees, her hands covering her face. Sobs, long held captive, escaped as their prison broke. Her body shuddered and heaved, until tiny hands stroked her shoulder. “Mommy, are you okay?”

Ramona dropped her hands so she could wrap her arms around her daughter. “Yes, baby. Come here.” She gathered Felicia close and hugged her tightly, kissing the top of her head. “Mommy’s sorry, angel. She shouldn’t have done that to you.”

“It’s okay, Mommy,” came the muffled reply.

Ramona gently eased Felicia back so they could look each other in the eye. Her thumb ran along Felicia’s face, erasing tear-tracks. “No, it wasn’t, sweetheart. It’s just a thing, and an unimportant thing at that.” Her hands cupped Felicia’s cheeks and she leaned in to kiss her forehead. “You are the most important thing in the world to me.”

Ramona stood and held out her hand for Felicia to hold. As they walked out of the kitchen together, Ramona said, “Mommy’s going to clean up that mess, and then you and me will go out and buy a new bowl. How about that?”

Felicia smiled up at her mother. “Can we get ice cream?”

Ramona chuckled. “Wouldn’t be much of a trip without ice cream, would it?”

  

Speakeasy #138 Our past informs our present, but it does not have to define it or our future.

This weeks prompt and rules:

  • Your post must be dated December 1, 2013, or later
  • Submissions must be 750 words or fewer
  • Submissions must be fiction or poetry
  • Your piece must include the following sentence as your FIRST line: “The bowl lay overturned on the floor, a rough crack running down one side.
  • The speakeasy is designed for submissions written specifically for the grid. Please do not submit an entry if you intend to showcase it to another blog link-up. Such posts are deleted without notice.
  • Please don’t post explanations before your post. We want your writing to be the star of the show. If you need to clarify anything, feel free to do so at the end.
  • The badge for your speakeasy #138 post is found in the sidebar. Add the code to the html view of your post before publishing.
  • Come back on Tuesday and add your link!

Happy Reading and Writing!

J. Milburn

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18 thoughts on “Speakeasy #138: Legacy

  1. That was absolutely amazing! You captured the horror perfectly. I’m glad Ramona refuses to be like her mother. You brought tears to my eyes. Excellent job.

  2. Really great story here…liked the flash back the realization of the problem, the catharsis, very deep and moving…my compliments for what they’re worth on a fantastic job well done!

  3. Very emotional story. I’m so glad the mom was able to stop herself and change the course of her actions.

    You’re right, we were on the same wavelength. My Michael and your Ramona could be kindred spirits:)

  4. Wow, very powerful, and very well done. I’m so glad that Ramona was able to break the cycle, and see what was turely important.

  5. I really liked how you intertwined the past and the present, and how you let bad memories bubble up to the surface only to be recognized, forgotten and replaced by happier ones…made me a bit sad, though…

  6. I am glad Mommy forgave her,she is such a sweet heart.

  7. Love it! I’m so glad the mother turned her life around!

  8. Touching and beautiful. I was relieved that it had a happy ending. Not so much of a legacy– thank goodness.

  9. That was a very good story.

  10. Nicely done Jeremy! I think this is my favorite of yours yet.

  11. The cycle can come from suffering yourself and is easily continued unless someone is strong enough to stand up and stop it. You captured the emotions so well. A very nice piece for sure.

  12. Wow. This is so intense and so very good. Really well written, excellent job portraying the emotional conflict. Love the flashback. And I love that Ramona chose to stop that cycle of violence. Awesome work!

  13. Children; such mirrors of truth, Well done.

  14. Well done! It had my stomach clenched and I was so relieved when Ramona threw the bowl instead.

  15. […] please help us congratulate Jeremy Milburn, this week’s popular vote winner! His powerful story about one mother willfully breaking the […]

  16. Congratulations on your double speakeasy win Jeremy! I thought I’d left you a comment on this post earlier in the week… Hope I’m not ending up in your spam box! I’ve been a blogger for 5+ years and I don’t ever leave spam comments. Again kudos on your win. 🙂
    Elizabeth

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