What Remains – Beth Knaus

flash fiction

What Remains

Billy and I pulled into the parking lot of the home, after driving four hours, to pick up my mother. I hadn’t seen her in over 15 years. I was married back then to a man who rivaled her insanity, a different man than the better man that had just driven with me to pick her up. So Billy had never had the pleasure of meeting her.

“Well, here we are,” I said. “Are you ready?”

His sarcastic glare was the only reply I got.

We walked into the facility and were greeted politely at the reception desk.

“There’s just a small bit of paperwork for you to fill out before we can release your mother to you,” the woman said. “I’ll go get your mom and her things while you finish that up.”

“Thank you, Mrs. Klein,” I said, having discreetly read the name tag resting on her bosom.

When I finished, Billy held my hand to steady it’s slight tremble.

“This is a little weird,” he said.

“And so it has always been for me,”

“Here she is,” Mrs. Klein said. “And here’s her bag of personal belongings.”

“Thanks.”

“Boy, you look different than I remembered,” I whispered so only I could hear.

Not that my mother could have responded anyway.

We quickly headed to the car, and I felt the heaviness of her stuff as we crossed the parking lot.

“Where are we taking your mother now?” Billy asked gently, as if he might offend her.

I just looked at him for a minute. “She’s coming home with us, where else?”

“We’re going to ride home with her in the car like that?”

“Come on,” I said. “Don’t be such a baby. Just put her ashes in the back.”

Beth Knaus is a freelance writer who enjoys stirring the souls of others with language and unexpected perspective. She lives near Boston with her three amazing children and her wonderful husband.

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