A nonfiction short story by Tea Jay
My favorite president is FDR. Not because I’m well-versed in politics, although based off my high school education and history classes I do support a lot of his policies, including the New Deal Programs, which happens to be what I admire most about the 32nd president. Not for what these programs meant for our country in the time of the Great Depression, but because those programs inspired her to write a few chapters of a novel over half a century after they were created.
She was the first person to write me a poem. When she became a mother she became an artist. She expressed her love in warm hugs and verses on a page. She showed her gratitude to having me in her home by telling me, in her own words, just how much I completed her little family.
When she wasn’t working on the family computer, she was typing away the tales from her mind. Eventually the little pieces of fragmented stories came together to form mosaics about angels, life, love.
She blushed slightly when people started using the word “writer” to describe her. I think it stroked her Leo fire.
Back before the days our children had their own technology I would steal yellow legal pads from her husband’s office, scribbling away at my own songs and folklore. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, despite this apple not being birthed by the tree it was nurtured by. I only had one audience member in mind; her. If she believed in the words I twisted together then the rest of the world would. I didn’t need to be a bestseller if I was mom’s favorite, even if I was an only child. Only she could decide my fate. I wrote for her and I wrote to ease the noise in my head.
My favorite mornings were when she had first got her laptop. Always up before the rest of the world, she would spend time in her starlight kitchen surrounded by partial manuscripts, telling stories of injustice and romance, intertwining passions. After coming downstairs I would use the bathroom, sneaking behind her hoping to catch a sentence or two. Sometimes, when she was really proud of my work, she would ask me to sit with her, reading me passages before school of gray kitties, then gray puppies, then somehow evolving her story to social issues and a style of journalism that my naive mind was oblivious to.
I always learned more from my parents than any other proper institution.
She and I were both fire signs. This meant we were both strong, capable women…who always needed to be right. When we fought, we fought with passion and tears. When we played we were ferocious and loud, our laughs carrying over the crowd and our inside jokes ruminating in our ears. But when we talked about our writing something else ignited. Our enthusiasm would scorch the world around us and we would be oblivious, so enamored in each other’s creative ventures, asking the appropriate questions to help aide each other in character development and plot twists. My mother’s eyes sparked with wildfires when you talked about good writing, good food, and good people.
She warned me of the reality. She spoke to me the truth. I was a dreamer with my head in the clouds, she was a realist with her feet planted firmly on the ground, abiding by the laws of gravity while I floated in the atmosphere. She told me being a writer was not ideally practical, but she also forbid me from working a desk job, knowing my restless soul couldn’t stay still in an organized cubicle for eight hours a day, five days a week.
But when I grow up, I want so badly to be her, writing stories that sound like literature and not manic ramblings. Even more, I want to achieve success. She is practical and extinguishes her wildfires for a 9-5 that’s really more of a 4am-7pm, sometimes more. She is a working woman and doesn’t have time to entertain the plots circulating her head. But in my heart, never dormant, lies the hope that someday her novels will appear on shelves, too.