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Left Out

by Michael Wells

About the Author: Michael works as a lawyer when he's not writing. He has published short fiction in Flash Fiction Magazine.


I wish I’d remembered to bring that library book to my mother’s house earlier.

“Marcus,” Mom said, “are you going to bring me that new James Patterson you checked out a week ago? It’s only on a two week loan.”

“Yes, Mom,” I said and hung up the phone in the law school lounge.

I got in my car and drove away from the law school library. Normally I didn’t forget to bring books to my mom. She lives alone and doesn’t move so well, but I was studying for the bar exam. Sixteen hours a day of pouring over outlines and listening to lectures on subjects ranging from criminal law to contracts makes you forget non-law related things. This summer I’ve discovered the human mind can only hold so much information.

Mom sat at the formica table in the kitchen with the shades drawn, a small sliver of light peeking in through the window and shining on the newspaper she was reading. I often found her reading the paper, and she normally kept on reading until she reached a stopping point even if I was there.

She jumped a little as if she didn’t know I was there and slid the paper under a stack of mail. “Oh, I didn’t expect you so soon. You scared me.” She smiled at me closed mouthed. Normally she smiled open mouthed, and she had the whitest teeth, which were made brighter still by her mocha skin. Her smile transformed her from a pretty woman to a dark skinned Audrey Hepburn. Maybe if things had been different, I thought.

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