Monic Ductan

Posted on July 30, 2012

2


An Abandonment

When I was four years old, my mother drove me to my grandparents’ house on Christmas Eve, and then she left in the middle of the night and never came back. According to my grandparents, my mother was living alone with me in a trailer in South Georgia. My father left us when I was an infant. I don’t remember him at all, and what I know of Mama is pieced together from family stories.

I have a picture of Mama that I took from one of Grandma’s photo albums. In the picture, Mama is wearing a yellow sundress, and she is sitting in the same bedroom I had during my childhood. I can tell because of the yellow daisies on the wallpaper, and even the headboard of the bed is the same. When I was in elementary school, I’d lie in bed there at my grandparents’ house and pretend I could smell my mother’s scent wafting up through the mattress. It smelled like a mixture of peppermint and play dough, my two favorite scents.

By the time I reached high school, I was taking the photo of Mama out from beneath the mattress almost every week. I’d lie in bed and pretend to hear her voice. I’d imagine the things she’d say to me.

When I was sixteen, she showed up at the house. It was Christmas again. Granddaddy had just died the month before, and Grandma and I were still talking about him in present tense.

Mama walked into the living room like nothing had happened, as if she’d left me there for an extended visit. She danced over and gave Grandma a big hug. She tried to hug me, but I stepped back and turned away.

Silence.

“Where’s Daddy?” she asked.

“He’s dead,” I said spitefully, excited by the pained look on her face. “He’s been dead over a month.”

A tiny sound came to my ears. Grandma stepped forward and placed a hand on Mama’s shoulder, and I escaped into the kitchen.

Mama’s visit lasted less than an hour. She left me a stocking that held only a pink plastic bracelet, an orange, and a handful of pecans. I left the pecans in the stocking under my bed for so long that they rotted. I never could bring myself to throw them out. When I came home from college two Thanksgivings later, they were still in the stocking underneath the bed we had both slept on.
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Monic Ductan is a Southern fiction writer and poet from rural Georgia. She has an undergrad degree in Creative Writing from Georgia State University. Her work has appeared in Stone Highway Review, Montucky Review and several other journals. She has work forthcoming in Sleet Magazine, The Smashed Cat, Toad, and Crab Creek Review.

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