White by Linda Simoni-Wastila

I close my eyes, see the hair. Plastered in a swirl of thalo blue, too short and black to be mine, too long to fall from the brush. I remember tapping ash from my Camel, wondering who trespassed my studio. I reached for that hair and my arm went numb, the air zagged white, and out the window fog huddled grey over the sound. I crumpled on the paint-spattered floor, counting cigarettes and brushes rolled under the easel, the shadows passing.

Now the world is blank canvas – the shades open, the sun pours in, harsh titanium. The television murmurs too low to hear, too loud to think. Nurses turn me, rub my pale unfeeling feet and arms and backside, and swaddle me again in brilliant sheets.

My son comes. I smile but he cannot see it. No one can. He sits by the bed and cradles my hand, stroking the parchment that stitches me together the way the nurses do, but longer, with smaller, tighter circles. He talks to fill in the space, more than he ever talked to me before, and I blink fast. A single tear squeezes past, and I wish I could feel it slide hot and wet down my cheek. His hand reaches. “Oh Mom” he says, and peters out of words, my poet son. I close my eyes, see the hair.


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Filed under Linda Simoni-Wastila

15 responses to “White by Linda Simoni-Wastila

  1. randalhoule

    Nicely framed. I didn’t know i could feel and see so much in gray and numb images. Bravo!

  2. I keep wondering if the hair in her vision is a symptom of her illness. Beautifully told with such vivid descriptions. Wonderful take on the theme.

    • Thanks Gany! The hair is simply the last thing she saw before she stroked out, the last thing she was trying to fix. This is actually based on a ‘true’ story (ha! the poet son is the protag in one of my novels) and I was stretching a scene by telling from the mother’s POV. It was a fun delve. Peace…

  3. Chilling story, very real and memorable. The end was a killer..

  4. Fraught with emotion and very intense, the relationship between mother and son so poignant. This one caught in my throat and lodged deeply in there.

  5. guy

    I can imagine the narrator narrating this to herself because there is no else to talk to. Disturbing. I think i’ll go for a run…

  6. Alexandra Pereira

    A very moving story… The “darkness” is very touchable… The descriptions are so real, yet poetic. I especially liked the line “The television murmurs too low to hear, too loud to think”… :-)

  7. Tom O'Connell

    so much color in the darkness- I’ll be thinking about this one long after I’ve moved on.
    I, too, liked the television murmur image.

  8. Al McDermid

    Wow! So perfectly constructed, each paragraph an act, and that really is the least of it. It’s all done just so well, but I particularly like the telling from the mother’s point of view.

  9. Pingback: Week #38 – Long distance | 52|250 A Year of Flash

  10. Wow, this is so touching, Linda, without being sappy. It’s so real and human.

  11. i especially like the coloring and the painterly way in which this is written. marvelous emotion, too.

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