Closure  by Rebecca Anderson

Competition: The 250-word Microfiction Challenge 2020, Final Round

Genre: Open   Action: Holding hands   Word: secret

Original Illustration by Yevgenia Nayberg


Every week, mom and I would share a secret picnic lunch under the overpass where she slept. I’d throw a blanket over the rocks, cigarette butts, and broken bottles, laying out a spread of gas station egg salad and chips. On good days, mom would hold my hand and tell me I was her reason for living. The days she was able to panhandle money for liquor, I wished everyone was right and she were dead. Drunk mom would grab the picnic blanket and destroy our lunch, slurring profanities, and telling me to kill myself.

On the bad days, it was easy to pretend she was gone forever.

When I was six, the police found a decaying body matching her description. There were no dental records for neither my mom nor the unknown woman my family paid to cremate. Dad held a funeral that no one showed up to and I cried until my heart dried up.

But then mom showed up at my school on my 16th birthday. “Markey,” I felt a tug at my shirt and turned to find a pallid face that mirrored my own. “Mommy…” My stomach dropped; I was seeing a ghost.

We had two years of picnics until the day I arrived with our egg salad and found mom face down on the rocks, dead. Telling dad or the police was never an option. I’d let someone else find her, let her be Jane Doe, and let someone else find false closure.


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