I watch father through a panel of glass.
I long to remove my mask and give him a hug, but the nursing home will not allow it.
Perhaps tomorrow, I tell myself.
For him, you have all the time in the world.
Marjan Sierhuis loves reading 50-word stories.
He lies in the bubbly bath water, face protruding enough to comfortably breathe.
I gently pour water over the soapy hair on his forehead, the bit that didn’t quite make the dive.
He doesn’t flinch.
He smiles at me and I at him.
Today, my baby is a six-year-old fish.
Deirdre is a stay-at-home mom to three young children. She has a degree in English and a Masters in Counselling Psychology.
A bright morning
The blue skies and waves
Toes in the sand
I sip coffee
As two children
Search the shore
“Hey dad look”
They call out all the marvels they explore
Dad oblivious with cellphone to ear
Smiles and nods
From a casual stranger
Sometimes life’s moments get lost.
The crack of bat on ball rings in Danny’s ears. He sprints toward first base but doesn’t watch the ball soar over the fence. His teammates yell; evidence enough for him.
As he rounds third base, he glances at the space in the bleachers where his father used to sit.
Stephen Pisani is an MFA candidate in fiction at Adelphi University. He spends his spare time working at a golf course, where he watches people chase a little ball around a big patch of grass.
First night back, I ditch duffel and boots and fall asleep on the floor by his bed.
A click in the dark wakes me. Beside me he sits, Nerf gun in hand.
“What’s up?” I ask.
“Keeping you safe,” he says. Tilts his head at the darkness under the bed.
Graham Robert Scott’s stories have appeared in Pulp Literature, Nature, Barrelhouse, and others.
My son has a plot—his own little piece of real estate. The grass is sparse, so I tend it: raking topsoil, spreading seed, pouring water. New sprouts emerge, filling the aching gaps.
I remove the weeds, pretending he’s on vacation.
But my heart screams his name and I cry.
Tawnia is an elementary teacher in Ontario who recently started writing. She is revising her first novel, a YA sci-fi, and hopes to start querying agents soon. She recently told a Red Chair story via Zoom for the Graham Norton Show. You can find her on Twitter @TawniaCourage.
Someday, I will kiss your cheek and make you smile. I will wrap my arms around you in a warm embrace.
I will sing your favorite song at the top of my voice. I will stay by your side and vow never to leave. Mother, I will promise you this.
Marjan Sierhuis enjoys reading flash fiction.
Jeffrey searched the florist shop for a unique plant for Mom. Once he spotted the leafy hosta, he asked the clerk to wrap it up with a floral birthday card. He opted to deliver it himself.
Jeffrey died in 2017, but his birthday greeting to his mother continues each spring.
Roberta Beach Jacobson lives in Iowa and can be found on Twitter at @beach_haiku.
Another day of wonder with my toddler.
I can only do so many unique voices and only one at a time. That’s why Mr. Elephant and Mr. Rabbit sound alike. She’s not pleased. I take her notes and will be better prepared for tomorrow’s encore.
I should’ve minored in theater.
Christina Marie Diamond is a storyteller residing in Hong Kong with her spouse and daughter. When she’s not being creative, the Brooklyn, NY native and her family are busy traveling around Asia.
I have Dad’s nose, long and hawkish.
I also lose my temper over small noises, criticize people’s musical choices.
I feel shame and power.
I also try not to use the word “I,” Dad’s favorite.
Surely a nose isn’t a harbinger. I also have Mother’s eyes.
I block all mirrors.
Yash Seyedbagheri is a graduate of Colorado State University’s MFA program in fiction. Yash’s work is forthcoming or has been published in WestWard Quarterly, Café Lit, 50 Word Stories, (mac)ro (mic), and Ariel Chart.