Honourable mention in the 4th Annual Geist Literal Literary Postcard Story Contest.
She did her best but when her stepson Eddy Jr. (he of the dark blue eyes with the mica flecks in them) lost his licence after getting a DWI, which meant she had to drive him everywhere, and her stepdaughter Emily (small-breasted, narrow, firm—at least for now) got knocked up and quit school so she could “zone in on the fetus”—never mind she had no job or skill or any other system of support—and her boss made yet another production change that it fell to her to incorporate and then somehow atone for to everyone else down the entire chain of corporate command, and her own kid finally got in to see the school-district psychologist, who diagnosed him with Asperger’s Disorder (as though labelling his total inability to get along with anyone was going to go any distance toward resolving the problem), which her husband between farts and snores on his Barcalounger pointed out was no concern of his, she totally lost her grip. She slammed right out the door. Never to return.
Well, no. That’s not exactly how it happened.
First she gave her employer two weeks’ notice and spent the balance of her tenure doing all the legwork and paperwork necessary to replace herself. At home, she cooked casseroles and put them in the freezer, and stocked the fridge and cupboards with enough food to sustain them until it occurred to Eddy Sr. to get his aunt from Sudbury to come and help—or until he sleep-walked over to Shooters and found himself another suckerbroad. Then she bought a bus pass and put it in an envelope for Eddy Jr., along with every bus schedule he might need no matter where he happened to find work, plus a note explaining the transfers he’d have to make if he went to his girlfriend’s place. She stuffed another envelope for Emily with the pamphlets about prenatal health she’d collected on her noon hours, and a printout of a list of links to sites for government support and even abortion counselling in case it should come to that. Then she bought a book about Asperger’s and packed it into Billy’s suitcase along with Billy’s clean and neatly folded clothes, and she handed them to his father on a Saturday morning when, perhaps due to the court order she’d finally got her lawyer to threaten to initiate, he showed up for a scheduled weekend for the first time in six months—passing over the suitcase with one hand and the screaming kicking skinful of their commingled genes with the other. After that, and a great long sob in the bedroom—which only four years earlier she’d decorated in chintz and bamboo with such faith in new beginnings—she showed them all what she was made of and she slammed right out the door. Never to return.