Today, we learn the fate of our friends introduced to you in yesterday’s Micro-Fiction Monday.
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By: Rachel A. Carrera
Later that afternoon, as Mother napped, Nikki reviewed the nanny cam footage of the previous night. As soon as Mother’s show ended, she started calling. That’s three calls in five minutes. I turned off my phone by then. A few minutes later, Mother was still calling. I can’t believe this. She’s blowing up the phone line trying to reach me. Finally, Mother took a hammer from the kitchen drawer and actually hit herself in the wrist. Nikki gasped. “How could she do this to herself? How could she do this to me?” Her hands shook as she stopped the video. “She never fell at all.”
She jumped when her phone rang. She looked at the number. “It’s Jason. I can’t deal with him now. I need to figure out what to do about Mother. She’ll never let me be happy and live my own life. I feel like I’m being held hostage.”
“Nikki! I need help getting out of bed!”
Nikki huffed. “I’ll be right there, Mother.” She sighed and rolled her eyes. This just stinks.
As Mother watched Nikki prepare dinner, she smiled. “Isn’t this nice, just the two of us?”
Nikki bit her lip. “Yeah. It’s going to be just the two of us for quite a while. You’ve chased another one off, Mother.”
Mother furrowed her brow. “What? What are you talking about?”
Nikki spun around, her face red. “I’m talking about how manipulative you are! Ever since I moved back home, you haven’t let me have one date without calling to get me to come home early. It’s like you want me all to yourself. Don’t you want me to be happy?”
Mother stuck her nose in the air. “Well, I didn’t realize you were so miserable here with me.”
Nikki squeezed her eyes shut. “Don’t give me that martyr routine, Mother. I videotaped you last night. You injured your wrist on purpose! How could you?”
Mother blushed and looked down. “Please push me to my bedroom. I’m not hungry anymore.”
Nikki scowled. “So you refuse to even discuss this?”
Mother put her hand to her head. “Please get one of my headache pills. I feel a migraine coming on.”
Nikki sighed and swiped her hands over her face. “Fine, Mother. You win.” She got the pills and a glass of water, then helped Mother to bed. As she got ready for bed herself, she checked her voicemail. Jason called eight times. Oh, I wish things could have been different. He’s really a special guy.
She soon fell asleep. Her sleep was fitful, and she was plagued with nightmares. Shortly after dawn, she woke up and went to the bathroom. She rummaged through the medicine cabinet looking for some aspirin, and an idea occurred to her. That’s it. Seven years is long enough. I can’t take this anymore. Why should I have to give up my own life completely to care for an invalid? She found a bottle of Vicodin and a bottle of OxyContin, and emptied the bottles into a tissue. She took them to the kitchen and ground the pills into powder, then dumped the powder into Mother’s tea kettle. I love you, Mother, but I have to live my own life. I’m sorry. Her thoughts were soon interrupted.
“Nikki, I need help going to the bathroom!”
Nikki sighed. “Yes, Mother.” After she helped Mother dress, she brushed Mother’s hair. “I have to go into work today and pick up the files I’ll need to work at home. I hope you’ll be okay for a few hours alone.”
Mother smiled. “You’re a good daughter. Don’t worry about me. I’ll be fine.”
On her way out the door, Nikki put the phone high up on top of a curio cabinet where Mother couldn’t reach it to call for help. “Goodbye, Mother.”
* * *
A couple of hours later, Mother’s doorbell rang.
Mother looked toward the door. “Who is it?”
“Ma’am, it’s Jason Marchette. I’m Nikki’s boyfriend. Can we talk?”
Mother smiled. “Come on in, son. I can’t get to the door.”
When Jason came in, he smiled and took off his coat. “Do you mind if we talk for a while, Mrs. Nesbitt?”
Mother smiled. “No, I’d love the company. In fact, if you don’t mind, why don’t you push me to the kitchen, and put my kettle on to boil. We’ll have some tea.”
Jason complied. As they waited for the water to boil, he sat across from Mother. “Mrs. Nesbitt, I love your daughter more than anything. I was planning on asking her to marry me. I want you to know that if she agrees, I’ll always have a place for you in our home. I know you must get lonely here all by yourself.”
The tea kettle whistled, and Mother looked to the stove. “Can you please grab us a couple of teabags? The cups are above the sink.”
Jason prepared two cups and poured the water from the kettle. He sat back down and smiled. “So what do you think?” He sipped his tea.
Mother nodded. “Jason, I think you’re a fine young man. Nikki’s lucky to have you. I know you must think I’ve been an awful burden these past couple of months that you’ve been dating, but I really didn’t mean to be. I was so lonely after Nikki’s father died and she left home. And then when I had my accident, I guess I just felt good and sorry for myself.” She sighed. “I know Nikki’s been frustrated with me, but she’s a good daughter, and I know she’ll be a good wife. The truth is, I’m afraid I’ve prevented her from finding any happiness. I’ve been selfish. She told me as much last night, and she was right. In fact, before you came here today, I was planning on killing myself so that she could be free to date and have her own life. It’s not fair that she’s had to give up so much to take care of a lonely old woman.”
Jason made a gurgling noise as he fell to the floor. His empty cup fell from his hand.
Mother gasped and knocked over her teacup. “Mr. Marchette! Mr. Marchette, what’s wrong?”
Jason’s eyes rolled back in his head as he started convulsing.
Mother’s eyes grew large. “Oh, no! Where’s my phone?” She painstakingly rolled over to the base of her phone and pushed the locator button. She heard the ring come from the top of her curio cabinet. She looked up and saw the phone antenna sticking over the edge. Her head turned as she heard a wheeze.
Jason gasped one last time for air as his convulsions stopped. His beautiful blue eyes stared blankly at the ceiling, and his body was still.
* * *
Time to talk: If you were Jason, would you have insisted on meeting Mother before now? If you were Nikki, would you have moved out of Mother’s house before things went this far?