Earthen Sky by Annie Bien
Annie Bien, Flash Fiction Winner, LISP 3rd Quarter 2020
Mommy placed her hands on Alichay’s shoulders. “Still missing that oak tree in the middle of the road? You were devastated when we drove over the stump. No more swerving around it, risking a crash. Saw you read that trees scream. When your grandmother sent me to the countryside, she screamed at me. You still think too much.”
Alichay rinsed the flower holder.
Mommy continued, “Your great grandmother, Grand Po Po didn’t mind me thinking because I was her hot water bottle during winter in Harbin. She liked me small and cuddly, thinking to myself.”
Mommy curled up next to Alichay on a pillow, almost to the size of her cat. “Po Po, my mother, bled all over the sheets at my birth. She called the fortune teller, who screamed—bad luck!—forget getting a doctor. I was sent to a relative who fattened her son and left me stunted. Great Po Po came and took me, then she died. I moved back, and my sisters sniggered. I had a low class accent. They stole my allowance.” Tiny as a ball of earth, she snuggled into Alichay’s hand.
Alichay knelt and touched the calligraphy she’d drawn now etched on the gravestone. “Mommy, thanks for trusting me with writing the calligraphy of your name.”
Mommy squeezed her shoulders and floated away.