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  • Writer's pictureRosie Forster

Emily's Mother Melinda

Updated: Nov 30, 2021

The sky was blue. It was eight o’clock in the evening, no, it was eight-oh-four in the evening and Levi didn’t know if that was supposed to happen even in June but the rainbow berry Xtreme Sour Airheads he was eating were exploding on his tongue and his fingers were sugary and had anyone ever felt this good in the history of feeling good? He wasn’t sure. The blue sky that probably shouldn’t be blue right now was framed by the window he was looking out of. Levi felt like he was in a picture book.

He pressed his body into Emily’s parents’ couch and noticed how bent his spine was. He straightened his back, and then became acutely aware of how he had been clenching his jaw the entire night. He unclenched it. Then he passed the bag of candy to Emily. He had to reach over Seb to get to Emily, and Seb bristled as the bag passed over him.

He watched Emily pick out a piece of candy and chew it. He liked the way her lips looked as she chewed. She moved her sugar-coated fingers to her mouth and sucked on them. He felt a rush of warmth. His jaw re-clenched.

“Em,” said Levi, “do you want to smoke more?”

“Levi,” said Seb.

“Levi,” said Levi. He cracked up laughing.

“I think you should go,” said Seb.

“Fuck that.”

Levi looked at Emily for support. Seb looked to Emily for support. Emily was holding Seb’s hand with her previously sugar-coated fingers. He supposed they now had Emily’s saliva all over them. His own fingers itched. He wondered what Emily would look like naked and covered in sugar crystals.

Emily’s mother entered before Levi or Seb could say anything else. Levi thought of her as Emily’s mother because “mom” reminded him of cookies and loose jeans and thick pink sweaters and Levi saying “I don’t want to watch Pride and Prejudice” and Levi being forced to watch Pride and Prejudice.

Also, Emily’s mother was a bitch. Her name was Melinda. Melinda.

He said it like a chant in his head. Emily’s mother Melinda glared at him and said, “I am not used to being addressed so informally by Emily’s friends,” and Levi realized that he was chanting out loud and Emily glared at her but was too chickenshit to say anything and Seb was glowing with self-satisfaction because he didn’t care that people were arguing because it wasn’t about how shit of a boyfriend he was.

“It’s a lovely name,” said Levi. Emily’s mother Melinda grabbed him with her long red fingernails that dug into his upper arms and she dragged him, an unwilling lump, off her sofa.

“It stinks of marijuana in my house,” said Emily’s mother Melinda, “and I’m willing to bet you brought it here.”

Levi looked at Emily for support.

“Mom,” said Emily, “I’ve told you about Levi. He’s the one-”

“Emily,” said Emily’s mother Melinda, “Sympathy is one thing. Drugs are another. You are forbidden to see this boy again.”

“Which boy?” said Seb, already smiling.

“You know what,” said Levi, pulling his arms out of Emily’s mother Melinda’s grip. He stood, swaying a little bit. He was aware that his eyes weren’t fully open but he couldn’t force them open, so it didn’t really matter. He then realized that he hadn’t spoken in quite some time, and everyone in the room was looking to him for an answer. He pointed at Emily’s mother Melinda.

“I hope you get early-onset dementia.”

He wished he hadn’t said it, because Emily started crying and this contorted her pretty face and it meant he probably wouldn’t get to fuck her brains out later that night. And then he remembered his mom saying, “treat the women in your life right, baby,” and then he felt bad, so he turned to Emily and said,

“I don’t want to fuck your brains out.”

Emily’s mouth dropped open and Seb made a whistle of outrage and said “as if she’d let you” and Emily turned to him and said “Shut up, Seb,” and Seb said, “What did I do?”

Emily’s mother Melinda took out her phone and called someone and said words like “threatening” and “aggressive” and “hostile” and Emily stood up and tugged on her mother’s sleeve like a child and said something that Levi couldn’t hear and Levi wanted more Xtreme Sour Airheads and he saw them sitting on the couch so he dove for them and Emily’s mother Melinda screamed and this made lights go off in Levi’s head and all he could hear was remembrances of his mother.

“treat the women in your life right baby” and

“do you want cookies baby” and

“that Colin Firth is a real man, don’t you think?”

By the time the police showed up, Levi was crying out of his bloodshot eyes and said

“I want my mom,” and Seb gleefully explained to the police that his mom didn’t want to see him because his mom was not alive, and that meant she couldn’t feel things like wanting, and Emily started crying and said, “Seb, you useless fucking piece of shit,” and the police weren’t really sure what to do and Levi knew his mom was dead, he had known this for months, he had known she’d be dead before she died because early-onset dementia is a bitch (as much a bitch as Emily’s mother Melinda) but that didn’t stop him from wanting his mom now did it.

Emily was still crying, so Seb put his arm around her and said to her, “I’m sorry, babe, I didn’t mean it,” and she let him. Levi thought that he couldn’t have fucked Emily’s brains out because her head seemed pretty empty. It was eight-fifty-one and the sky had finally gone dark.

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