‘Your Mother Imagines You Dead’, by Bethany Marcel
Read it here in about 5 minutes.
Thinking about why I love it…
I don’t have children, but I do have anxiety, so can appreciate what the protagonist experiences in this story – the all-consuming, exhausting, worry. This line in particular speaks to me: ‘Anxiety believes if she rehearses tragedy she’ll prevent tragedy.’
I love the repetition of ‘imagines you dead’, culminating in ‘dead, dead, dead, dead’ in the penultimate paragraph – it’s shocking, dark, and honest.
I love the way the narrative is structured – present time, therapist, present time, future (‘summertime’, ‘wintertime’), therapist, backwards in time, forwards in time, present time.
I love that the narrator is addressing ‘you’; and the protagonist is ‘your mother’.
There are layers of meaning – a lot that could be read between the lines, even in such a short story: the mother character is unnamed (universal?); the mother is the primary caregiver; the dad is oblivious, or when he does notice things it’s the mother who deals with them…
One thought on “A flash fiction story”
Thanks for drawing my attention to this. I have both children and anxiety and found it totally resonated. However, although I rehearsed for cars that broke down, burglars at night, abject poverty and hubands that didn’t come back from abroad, I forbade myself rehearsals for my children’s deaths because that would confirm it was possible.
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