The Hibernating Justice Warrior
Read this on galpod.com.
Not so much a story, but a scene I wrote a few months ago in response for a writing prompt. I'm working on my editing skills now, so I went back to it today and worked on it. Would love to hear feedback! :)
“Mom! Mooooom!!!” Lucy looked up from the romance novel she was reading. She was sitting at the dining room table having a little evening drink with her guilty-pleasure romance when her 13-year-old daughter burst into the house.
“I’m in the dining room,” she called out to Dana.
Dana walked into the dark oak-floored room and plopped into the high back chair. She scanned the room again, taking in her mother sitting at the ornate table.
“Why are you sitting here? Why not the living room?”
“I like it better in these chairs,” said Lucy patiently, “the high back helps me keep my posture. It’s not easy after 40,” she smiled, and her sad smile said what she didn’t. That she had to keep reminding herself to do something that for years was second nature. That she is getting older.
Dana rolled her eyes. “Mom, listen to this. You won’t believe what happened at school today,” Dana was more monologuing now than having a conversation. “Mrs Gerald must be having her period or something. Kayleigh and Rachel were passing notes, really just messing about. Then they passed a note to Anna. Anna was trying to listen to Mrs Gerald, but Rachel kept tapping her on the back and tugging her hair and such, so finally, she turned around, and Rachel gave her the note. Then Kayleigh dropped her book, so Mrs Gerald looked and caught Anna passing the note. She sent her to Mrs Hake, and you know how she is and now Anna has detention for the whole week!”
Dana paused and looked at her mother, as though telling her, “see what you have to say about that!” Lucy nodded and glanced at her watch. She needed to start getting ready to go. She needed to be at the studio in an hour. Still, plenty of time to sort out this little middle school drama. Dana was always a justice warrior, thought Lucy. I’m rather proud of that. Funny, we didn’t do anything to cultivate it. When she was born, I hoped for a ballerina. She has a decent enough sense of rhythm, and her posture is immaculate, but she isn’t a dancer at heart. It makes me sad sometimes, but learning to accept her for who she is was one of the best lessons motherhood had taught me.
“That’s unfortunate for Anna. It sounds unfair.”
“It is unfair,” said Dana, learning forward and balling her hands into fists at the sides of her body. Lucy nodded again. She had learned from years of motherhood to shut up and listen. Her hands were folded in her lap, and she was leaning slightly forward.
“So, I went to see Mrs Hake in recess. I told her everything, and she said I made it up because I’m friends with Anna and because of last week and now I have detention for the rest of the week.” She looked at her mother, her eyes big and pleading.
Lucy felt a hot wave rise from the pit of her stomach. Her mama-bear instincts railed against the injustice. She didn’t for a second doubt Dana’s story.
She got up. Regardless of the situation, her movement was now, as always, graceful. She went to the entrance and got her phone out of her bag. She looked up the school number and dialled.
“There’s no answer,” she told Dana.
“Who are you calling?”
“The school,” she said with composure she did not feel.
“No, mom, it’s five pm,” Dana said.
“Right,” Lucy felt sheepish. “I’ll call them first thing tomorrow morning, ok hon?”
“Well… because… to tell them you shouldn’t be in detention. Isn’t that…?”
“No, Mom! Do not! I’m not kidding!” Dana got up from her chair and stood to face Lucy. “I don’t need you to fight my battles for me. I’m not a kid!”
“No! Why can’t you just listen? Ugh, why do I even bother?” Dana stormed up the stairs. Lucy heard her bedroom door slammed. She stood there, confused. What did Dana want her to do then? She was sure she needed to protest against the injustice done to her daughter. Lucy sighed and went to gather her things. She needed to leave if she wanted to be on time. She went upstairs, knocked on Dana’s bedroom door.
“Dana, honey, I need to go to the studio. I… Can we talk about this in the morning?”
“Whatevs, mom,” she heard footsteps, but the door did not open. Instead, music started playing from behind the closed door. Lucy sighed again. She felt old. She went downstairs, put her shoes on, picked up her bag, and left.
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