Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Red Hair and Vodka

I am the exact image of my mother.  Everyone says so.  This worries me. 
“The resemblance is uncanny,” says my parole officer, taking the bent photo out of my hands and tracing the red hair my mother and I share, as if she could feel the heat radiating.  “It’s almost like you’re twins.” 
Fact:  My mother is a devout Mormon
Secret:  I am not
Fact:  My mother helps everyone
Secret:  I avoid everyone
Fact:  When I got out of jail, she stopped speaking to me   
You’d think she would’ve stopped speaking to me when I went to jail, not when I got out.  You’d think she might’ve lied to people for me, told them I was studying abroad or pregnant.  No.    
It reflected negatively on her when I was arrested, that’s the part she couldn’t move past.  That and the alcohol.  In the Mormon religion, anything fun is banned.  Coffee will send you straight to hell, so don’t even consider that third shot of vodka.  And if you drop out of Church because their rules are too restrictive, make sure you don’t hang out with “hoodlums who drink and drive.”  And if you choose to “ignore your entire upbringing” and drink and drive anyway, try not to hit a parked police car and then flee the scene. 
She came to visit me once a week for two years, every time finishing with the haunting words, “I’ll pray for you.” 
I don’t need your damn prayers, I thought, I need a better lawyer. 
The day I was released, she was visiting friends in Missouri.  “I’m getting out Tuesday,” I told her over the phone, “can’t you fly back sooner?” 
“Why would I do that?” she asked.  “Christina, I pray for you, I have prayed for you, but I have my limits.  When you get out, you’re on your own.” 
I was 20. 
Six months after I got out, my step-father called to tell me she died.  She was hit by a drunk driver.    


  1. A strange bit of poetic justice...

  2. Ouch! Strong write with an unexpected ending.


  3. Well,that's a kick in your teeth ending!

  4. My favorite line: "Coffee will send you straight to hell, so don’t even consider that third shot of vodka". It illustrates the mother's oblivion to her daughter's situation so clearly. The fact that she's showing the Mom's picture to her parole officer suggests that the daughter is trying to deal with this death but completely lacking in people to help her.

  5. This is a great piece, Not only is it exactly 333 words, it's fast-paced, it's engaging and I'm sure none of us saw that ending coming. Great job. Hope to see you joining up over the weekend.