Still Life – Jesse Bradley

Mitch tries to talk me out of staying behind to babysit mom. You could use the night off, he said. I shook my head and made him hand me his car keys; Mitch’s car hasn’t recovered fully from his last night out on the town.
I sit in front of the glass shed mom’s living in and sip whiskey that’s a hair above cheap, where the bottle’s glass but the glass is so frail, it’d break in mid swing during a bar fight. Tonight, mom’s taken an evaporating green watercolor. She’s enveloped the glass chair we got her to practice maintaining a human form.
Today, she managed to sit still and cross her legs. She bounced her right foot the way she used to when got giddy, like when dad brought home flowers or I brought home a rare ‘A’ on something. It was when she tried smiling that her limbs exploded. Mom seeped out of the stumps and dispersed back to her gaseous form. Unlike all the other times she failed maintaining a human body, mom was too tired to bang against the glass. We’ll try again tomorrow, she said. Mitch used it as a reason to celebrate and be stupid, like a man in his early twenties should be sometimes to remember he’s alive.
I lay down on the grass, next to the half full glass of whiskey. Maybe, we should let mom go, let her fly high into the sky, chase the stars, but then I think about the birds, the unfortunate helicopter or plane that flies through her, their names.
Image: noeminihoul via Pixabay



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