Thursday, July 05, 2012

A Signal

This is my fourth assignment for my flash fiction class . . . another memoir turned flash.

A Signal

Peggy awoke with a start. As always, she looked to see if any light was showing from downstairs. It was. The clock on my nightstand read 1:30. Jeff’s curfew was midnight unless he had a gig. This was a practice night, so he should have been home by now. She and Jeff had the agreement that when he got home, he’d turn off all the lights, signaling her that he was in bed if she happened to wake up.

Trying not to disturb Tom, she crawled quietly out of bed, grabbed her robe, and crept downstairs, where the light was shining.

A scene from years ago flashed in her memory as she sat down to wait for her son. Her and Tom’s daughter, Sarah, was notorious for coming in late when she was in her late teens. One night, as Peggy was standing at the kitchen window, anxiously looking out every few minutes, Jeff came up behind her, put his arm around her waist, and said, “I’ll never make you worry, Mom.” But that was a long time ago, and now he was the age that his sister was back then. And he had forgotten his promise.

Jeff’s band, Velvet Melon, practiced at their house, and sometimes Jeff had to take one of the guys home afterwards. Just the week before, Peggy and Jeff had talked about late hours and had come to a deal—if he knew that he’d be late getting home from chauffeuring, before he left, he’d leave a note so that his folks wouldn’t worry.

She heard a car door slam and then the back door.

“Mom! What are you doing up?”

“Waiting for you, of course. Are you trying to give me a heart attack? I thought we had agreed that you’d leave me a note if you were going to be late,” Peggy said with a catch in her voice, the tears close to the surface, more from disappointment than from worry.

Jeff approached his mother and held out his hand. She took it, and he led her to the kitchen, where he had taped a note on the window where he had watched his mother worry about Sarah: Mom – I had to take Derek home and will be right back.

Then he led her to the dining table, where a note with the same message was taped and upstairs right outside her bedroom, where a third note was waiting for her to read.

Jeff wrapped his arms around Peggy. “Mom, Mom, when will you remember what I told you? I promised not to make you worry the way Sarah did. I’m trying to keep that promise.”

1 comment:

Sally DeSmet said...

You write beautifully. I especially love the personal memories. I look forward to reading more.