“The Boy in Search of His Mother” by Dalton Palmer

Every foggy morning on my way to work, there’s a little boy standing on the sidewalk right outside of my apartment door, his head looking up while his eyes were lost in the clouds. Almost every day that I catch sight of him, I want to stop and talk to him to make sure he is alright, but I’m constantly running late to work. Tomorrow I plan to wake up early so I can talk to the boy, but sitting in a narrow blank gray cubical at a computer covered in years of dust on it for 12 hours straight turns me into a salty snail. On the bright side, the memories I don’t want to remember start to blur. When I get home at six at night, I usually watch reruns of whatever is on. Tonight, I plan on going straight to bed, so I can talk to that little boy in the morning.



As I wake up, I make my way to the unkempt kitchen, open the blue dusty curtain with my index finger just enough to see if the little boy is on the sidewalk. As I suspected, the little boy stood in the exact spot with a similar look from the day before and the day before that. I slip on my black house slippers, put on my wedding ring, look at the picture of my wife on the wall, and make my way toward my front door. The door’s white paint is starting to fade and there’s a screech that could make a monk lose his mind coming from the rusted door hinges: metal grinding together with metal. I mentioned this to the landlord, but he most likely won’t repair it. As I walk down the rickety wooden stairs outside of my apartment, I approach the little boy. He mumbles the word “mommy.” The boy looks up out of the corner of his eyes at me. His eyes are blue like the sky right before the day expires.
“Hello, young man.”
I can barely hear his response as he replies.
“Hello, mister.”
“Ya know, every day I go to work I see you in that exact spot looking up into the sky with your mind lost within it. Do you care to tell me why?”
“My daddy told me that my mommy was going to always be in the sky watching me, but every time I look into the sky and ask my mommy to talk to me, she don’t answer.”
Clinching my fist, I swallow the storm, drop to one knee, and look into his eyes. My mouth opens, but my throat tries to swallow the words.
“My wife and your mommy are both in the sky watching us. They can watch us, but they cannot talk to us.”
The little boy’s eye lids separate from each other, with one eyebrow slightly raised higher than the other, as his face begins to turn the color of a strawberry.
“They can’t talk to us because then they wouldn’t be able to protect us any longer.”
“But I don’t want my mommy to protect me any longer. I want to show her what I made for her in class.”
“I know how you feel bud, but we both have to learn to accept it for now. One day you will get to see your mommy and I will get to see my wife; then we can show them everything that we have done for them.”
Every day, I think about ending all the memories. I’m a 30-year-old man whose 29-year-old wife passed away, whole weeks going by as if I wasn’t even there because I’m stuck in memories, yet I am sitting here, telling a child, whose mind hasn’t even developed yet, to accept the death of his mother.
The little boy lets out a short breath from out of his mouth, looks down at the ground, then looks back at me.
“I hope one day you get to see your wife, and I get to see my mommy.”
“Me too, buddy; me to.”


Photo made available by Xavier Mouton Photographie via Unsplash


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