[I belong to an online writing group, and each month we write a story with a theme and a word count. This time, we were asked to write about ‘White Lies‘ in exactly 2500 words.]
I knew something wasn’t right when my mother stopped abruptly by the kiosk, clapped her hands lightly, and said, “Let’s have an ice cream!”
I looked up at her, squinting in the summer holiday sun.
“Ice cream!” shrieked Peggy in delight, and tried to spin around, but stumbled.
I caught my sister’s arm, and said, “We’ve only just had breakfast!” but my mother was already clinking coins over, distracted. Somewhere above us, a seagull began its harsh, halting cry. With a cone of whirled white in her hand, my mother glanced up.
“Be careful,” she said, eyeing the gull, “Or he’ll take it. – Wait!” she added, as I reached out, “Ladies first.”
Peggy took her ice cream, and bit into it with relish. Her eyes slid closed, and she swayed a little, humming.
“Patience is a virtue,” murmured my mother, in a far-off voice, handing me the second cone. I watched it coming with indifference. My tongue stung of metal snow.
My mother didn’t seem like my mother today. At breakfast she had sat in silence, tearing her napkin into tiny shreds. I’d taken another slice of toast while she wasn’t looking.