story: the hidden mother

When my mother goes to work on Saturday mornings, I open all the drawers in her nightstand. I crawl on my belly under her bed, and stand on a chair to pull down boxes from the top of her wardrobe. Inside the boxes are letters and tickets and pictures that I have seen a hundred times before. The boxes smell of beaches, hostels, moisturiser, tobacco, perfume.

I search everywhere in her room and never find anything. But one morning, she must have forgotten to hide it, because I find her secret past in the chest of drawers. It looks just like a pebble, but is much heavier than a pebble, and warm to the touch. I want to bring it up to my face and smell it, to taste it with the tip of my tongue. But instead I place the pebble back in the drawer, and tidy the room, so it looks like nothing ever happened.

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