story teller vol. 3: submit


parent child relationship. control. abuse.

The cold of her fingers and palms reach my shoulders and my whole body shrouds with goosebumps. I don’t like the feeling of cold, especially of cold embraces. Her detachment from what she ought to do is easily noticed and I shimmy out from her arms.

My mother, the dancer. She was fragile once. Now she stands authoritative and burdened. ‘Not enough hours in a day,’ she tends to remind us how life passes without exception and the hardship runs farther than the day.

Snap. Snap. The hand of her clock strikes another minute, and she hurries me out, unhappy by my act to disengage from her hug. But, it didn’t start like that. The push out the door in the mornings when no exchange of kindness occurred, simple commands to put my shoes on, grab my lunch, brush my hair, be polite, don’t be a trouble, and many more. I didn’t mind the commands. I left sorely wanting more from my mother. More compassion. Words of love. Words of warmth. Words of support rather than meeting her needs. The distance only grew until it became a void.

‘I love you,’ was not a sentence that was uttered often, if at all.

So, here we are. My mother giving me a distasteful look or maybe an aching one but at this moment she’s not budging. We stand for a moment in a stare deadlock. The might of my mother slowly begins to melt. Her eyes begin to fill and she collapses to the bench, waving her hand in front of her face.

“I’m… sor-ry,” she mutters breaking her words and voice. “I’m sor-ry,” she gasps as the pain closes her throat.

I stand not giving in because I’ve heard these words before. I’ve seen this act before. Then moments later we are back to the regular schedule. The strings that my mother pulls. I cannot endure any longer. To deal with a cold demeanor one minute and then witness sobbing the next. It has to be a trick.

I shove out the door and then start running when I reach the sidewalk. Running away from the grave house. As the house never became a home. Rather it turned into a burial place where my esteem and worth slowly were pushed toward the pit.

I run and run without a destination, without a plan; but the running feels freeing. It’s what my soul needed. The vitality of running for freedom is like air is for breathing. At twenty-two I cannot be my mother’s doormat, a replacement for her husband. My father remarried an older woman than my mother. It seemed to sting my mother more than if he would have married someone half his age. She also had a son around my age. We aren’t the best of friends but we are friendly. Thomas. He’s not an athlete and he’s not shy. Average like the rest of us and I liked that about him. But my mother despises him. She despises anything my father does, meets, or touches. It has always been like that, even when they were married. And now the hammer comes down on me. The curfew, the acts, the schedule, like the leash on a dog. I can never get too far before she yanks the chain, training me to comply.

The lashing out, the fights, the vindictive silences, and the war-zone divorce have done their deed. I’m too broken to submit.

© Jacob Greb — 2023

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One thought on “story teller vol. 3: submit

  1. writenotwrong says:

    Overbearing mothers/fathers. I get it. We grow and we need to break free from our parents. Make our decisions. Make our mistakes.

    Liked by 1 person

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