Rural Idaho, 2007 – Margaret stared into her coffee, so deep in thought, she was oblivious to the footsteps that entered the dining room.
She looked up as Connor sat in the chair next to hers. “Is Liam finally asleep?” she asked.
“Yeah,” Connor said. “Kelly said she was going to bed, so…” He absentmindedly traced circles on the table. Margaret turned her attention back to her coffee as a slightly awkward, slightly comfortable silence passed between them.
What were they going to talk about? It would be redundant to go back to normal, everyday topics. And there were certain subjects from both sides that had barely been breached, mainly because they felt uncomfortable about them. At least at the moment.
A lightbulb went off in her head and she abruptly got up. “I’ll be right back,” she said, heading to the basement.
Where is it? She thought as she moved aside a box of Christmas decorations. I know I put it down here.
“Mom?” Connor asked from the stairs. “I can move boxes if you need me to.”
“Okay,” she said, almost absent-mindedly. Connor came over and started clearing a path through to the back, which is where she thought the box she wanted was.
“Find it yet?” Connor asked.
“Not quite-wait! Ah-ha!” She triumphantly held up a shoebox.
“What’s in it?” Connor asked, curious.
Her smile slightly dimmed. “Um…” She handed it to him. “Open it and see.”
Connor took the lid off and stared. Polaroid photos lined the box from end-to-end, but barely filled it halfway. He took one from the top.
“Yes,” she said. “That one was taken when you were a few days old.” She wrung her hands. “I…I hadn’t planned on having any pictures of you, but my mother convinced me to have a few. I’m glad she did.”
Connor looked at a few more, then replaced the lid. “Thanks, Mom.”
Margaret attempted a smile. “You’re welcome,” she said. “And thank you, for coming today. It really means a lot to me.” Her voice cracked on the last sentence.
Connor put down the shoebox and hugged her. “We didn’t want you to be alone,” he said. “I love you, Mom. Happy Mother’s Day.”
©H.S. Kylian 2018 // All images © Hannah Killian 2013-2018
(Critiques are welcome and appreciated!)