Playground Mom by Michael Webb

She was a playground mom. I didn’t know her name, in fact, I didn’t know her at all- it was one of those connections you make in life that is one spot above stranger, but several notches below anything you could call “friend”. We never spoke- she was always talking on her phone, whispered, urgent words. We would interact when I saw that her daughter left something somewhere- I would walk over and hand her the lost object, she would mouth, “thank you”, and then return to her phone call. She was someone I saw, and recognized, but didn’t know anything about. She was pretty, with curly red ringlets and porcelain white skin.

I heard his car door slam that day, jumping slightly at the sound. He marched across the grass, making a beeline for her. He was shorter than her, darker skinned, but he looked strong, like he had spent his life lifting things. He walked right up to her, standing very close, exchanging angry phrases, his face contorted, his finger pointing. She recoiled before him, not speaking. I was stunned when he suddenly fired a punch, hitting her nose, knocking her onto her back, blood spurting onto her designer sweatshirt. I got up to help her, do something, but he was already stalking his way back to his car, and she quickly gathered her charge up, blotting her nose with a tissue, and left.

I never saw either of them again.

.

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16 Comments

Filed under Michael Webb

16 responses to “Playground Mom by Michael Webb

  1. This one made me sorry he didn’t get to say goodbye. Nice work.

  2. Ooh not nice. But very vivid and raises so many questions about how far you should or might go to help people.

  3. Great setting, establishing the characters in a brief moment. Nice.

  4. Really good, Micheal. I like the last two lines the most.

  5. If only he’d walked a little quicker. Poignant stuff. Peace…

  6. Dawn Armstrong

    This is great. My favorite words are “like he had spent his life lifting things.” To me, that says so much. Very insightful.

    • guy

      Hey, that’s what i liked.

      One is expecting something bad to happen to her, but this is still tense. There’s even a bit of tension left at the end. Well done.

  7. Great title, great story. I sure didn’t see the second paragraph coming.

  8. life is full of these intersections – nice how you captured the urgency in this one

  9. Matt DeVirgiliis

    Brutal story.

  10. Humane, painful and puzzling! Also the fact that she never showed up again! Thanks.

  11. Kim Hutchinson

    Wonderful story with a powerful ending. Well done.

  12. I like how you left mystery and a tinge of tension in the wrap here. Great work.

  13. Pingback: Week #35 – Loose connections | 52|250 A Year of Flash

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