My Mother!

This week’s Author Aerobics theme was to focus on an emotion without telling what that emotion was. How’d I do?

* * *

The girl at the ticket counter didn’t appear to care where anyone was going. In fact, she didn’t appear to care even when an Egyptian got shipped “Home,” to Istanbul, when a former New York policeman returned from his vacation to busy, bustling Siberia, and when that lady an hour ago who spoke nothing but Spanish went back to her family in…Mongolia.

She was obviously distracted.

“What’s wrong, Natasha?” asked her supervisor, Mr. Lin.

Natasha shook her head, flipped open her Samsung and fiddled with the keys before snapping it shut again. “Life,” she said.

“You’ve been messing up other people’s lives as well,” Mr. Lin reprimanded, flashing ticket stubs in front of her face. She went cross eyed as the paper passed close to her sharp nose. Mr. Lin read off the botched destinations. “Mr. Najarah would up in Turkey…he’s supposed to be in Egypt. Mr. Rang was supposed to return to Manhattan, and now he’s in Anna Tevka. And Miss Perez got shipped to the Steppes. Will you please tell me why you can’t see straight?”

Natasha held up her cell phone and her eyebrows twitched. “It’s my mother. She’s being difficult.”

“Why don’t you take the rest of the day off then?” asked Mr. Lin gruffly. “Or better yet, why don’t you—”

“You must understand my mother,” Natasha cut in sharply, (salvaging her job, because Mr. Lin was about to suggest she take the rest of her life off.) “She is very disrespectful toward personal boundaries. And she is trying to manipulate my emotions to her whims. And it is un-right.”

Mr. Lin shook his head and waved his hand. “You’ve been working non-stop for over three weeks. Take a half-a-week to work things out and recoup. Get some rest. May it never be said that I’m an unfair employer.” He left the room.

Natasha huffed, got up, and paced around her desk for a couple seconds. She went to her computer, and typed in a couple airport codes. Seconds later, a boarding pass printed out of her heavy-duty printer. She grabbed it, and headed for the airplane terminal.

If she had been a little less distracted, she would’ve gone home to her mother, rather than spending three confused days in Niagara.


10 thoughts on “My Mother!

  1. Hmm. I’m not sure I can put a name to the emotion you’re pulling at here – maybe frustration, but that special kind of frustration that comes from dealing with family.

    I was left a little confused by the very Orwellian use of “un-right”. Is “wrong” somehow not in Natasha’s vocabulary?

    • I like to make my readers guess. 🙂

      Lol about Orwell…I just figured that Natasha was the kind of brusque, sharp person who would use a portmanteau as awkward as “Un-right.”

      She’s a very pragmatic person. And a very complex character. Who I just made up. And is actually just a younger reconstruction of Afya, a character in my Grand Novel. Hopefully that’s not an indicator of my creativity… 🙂

      • One of the (many) writer’s mantras is to reuse everything. We’re like that classic, romanticized version of the Native American Indian. We use all the little bits and parts, and let nothing go to waste!

        I’m sure I’d have seen the character connections to the use of the word “un-right” if this story were a little longer (and non-flash) and we got to see other instances of Natasha’s peculiar vocal habits.

      • Ah yes, let nothing go to waste! Come to think of it, that’s how I live too. I save tags to tie onto birthday presents for extra festiveness, and wear the same clothes for years on end. I wear socks until they get holes in them. I hoard scraps of fabric for that “Just in Case” moment in the unforeseeable future. Perhaps someone should take a poll and see if there’s a correlation between writers’ style and their frugality…

        When (hopefully!!!) my Grand Novel gets published, you will be able to see more of Natasha’s personality in Afya. And Afya would say “Un-right,” trust me. 🙂

      • Your house sounds a lot like mine J.P. ! I’ve got to learn to let go. I’m even more loathe to delete any old writing or scenes that I’m not using right now. I just file them away just in case.

        And as you can see, I was too tempted to stay away. My first guess was that the emotion was distraction (but you did mention that in the piece). Frustration or anger are my best guesses.

      • I do the same thing with old stories etc. It’s good for posterity. If you keep something, you can throw it out later. But if you throw it out, it’s gone forever.

        Good job on reading the emotion…it wasn’t too obvious was it? And yes, frustration and anger are what Natasha is feeling, although more anger. I was trying to do anger, but I guess once her backstory started getting revealed, I found out she was frustrated too.

        Isn’t it funny how your characters think for themselves?

  2. Natasha is my kind of girl- distracted, confused and a little off!
    “an Egyptian got shipped “Home,” to Istanbul” – especially loved this one, haha! 🙂 I’ll be watching out for any confused Egyptians walking around the city!

  3. I went to worried as an emotion, which is likely in a similar family to the actual emotion. I first read that as Nigeria… oops… I’m going to stay away from ordering plane tickets right now.

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