How the Cookie Crumbles

Life and scribbles on the far side of SIXTY-FIVE



I confess sci-fi is not me. No way am I up for this week’s #BlogBattle prompt. Instead, I offer this short story for your weekly entertainment.


Heart Burn

I never understood her—my mother: blonde, a goddess, svelte and self-assured like my older sister. I was the dark one, the disappointment. How had that happened? I could not be more different from them: neither as smart nor as trim. They chummed together like girlfriends, leaving me out in the cold.


She promised to meet me at Starbuck’s Saturday morning. I arrived early. My heart pounded and the acid in my stomach burned like the searing edge of a hot knife churning pirouettes. She breezed in like she owned the place. The shop almost empty, I was easy to find.

“Mother,” I said, “new suit?” She always dressed well. She had the figure for it, of course.

“Are you all right dear? You appear flushed.” She reached across the table and checked my forehead with a cool hand as if I were a child. “I’ll get the coffee.” A pat on my shoulder and I watched her heels clickety-clacked across the stone tile floor.

I gulped air in hopes of calming down, but she returned too soon.

“Still black, I take it. Thought we’d splurge with a couple brownies.”

Brownies. One minute she told me to lay off the sweets and the next she offered them. Either I was losing my mind, or she was. I took the lid off my coffee cup to cool it quicker.

“It’s clear to me, dear, you’re upset about something. Man troubles? School?” Flawless, penciled brown brows rose to perfect peaks.

“You came.” The words popped out before I realized I’d said them aloud. I clamped hands to my mouth.

“Yes. You invited me. Remember?”

“I’m surprised you made it—so busy with all your clubs—and Melissa.” I watched her face. None of her thoughts showed.

She had the decency to blink, false lashes aflutter. Her flaming pink mouth worked like a fish out of water. “What is wrong with you? I love you both the same.”

The audacity of the lie. “I’m not in the least like you or Melissa. I don’t match—don’t fit.”

“How old are you?”

“You don’t know?”

“I mean at 21 you’re acting like a six-year-old.”

“You and Melissa—always together, joining clubs, chapters this and that, whispering, laughing.”

“Do you like or enjoy these groups and societies?”

“Well, no—but you never have time for me.” Bile fought to strangle me, but I fought back. “Then you send me away to school. I wanted to attend college in our hometown but no, it had to be university.”

“Lily, dear, what’s this about? You’re fifty miles from home and in your last year. Are you taking your medication? You’re not yourself.”

“How would you know? Here’s the other thing, my coloring is so much darker than anyone else in the family. Melissa is like you. I’m nothing like you two, I’m loose fat…” I swallowed the howl threatening to undo me. I will not cry. I will not!

“You take after your grandmother, Esther Maria, on your father’s side. You know this. What a Spanish beauty—you look exactly like her, same thick hair and smoky eyes.”

“Right. A fat beauty with fat hair. Am I adopted?”

“Nothing about this conversation makes sense.” Mother picked up a napkin and fanned herself. She scanned the half-empty coffee shop with ice blue eyes.

I almost heard the gears in her head grinding, devising lies. “Easy to tell me whatever you want. How did you find time to visit me at last?”

Her look made me squirm. “I told you about the obligations I couldn’t break. I’m here now. Look, sweetie, your grandmother died before you were born. You’ve seen her pictures and heard the stories. This is crazy. ”

“So now I’m crazy?” I wanted the talking to stop. I didn’t like it anymore.

“Have you had headaches lately, or trouble sleeping?”

I shrugged. What had that to do with anything? “You love Melissa better, don’t you?”

“Take my hand. I have five fingers. Which one shall I cut off because I don’t need or want it?”


“Which daughter means less to me than the other?”

“You’re always talking in riddles.”

“Tell me which one and I’ll chop it off.”

“No. you won’t. You’re just saying that.” I slouched in my chair but did not break eye contact.

She stared me down. I flinched. Her chair scraped the floor. An iron grip clutched my arm. “Let’s go.”

The End

Images courtesy Pixabay

© 2017 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

Author: Let's CUT the Crap!

I'm getting a little LONG in the tooth and have things to say about---ouch---AGEing. I believe it's certainly a state of mind but sometimes it's nice to hear that you're NORMAL. I enjoy reading by the truckload. I'm a grandma but I don't feel OLD although I'm not so young anymore. My plan is to stick it out as long as I can on this lovely planet and only will leave it kicking and screaming!

56 thoughts on “#ShortStory

  1. At 21 you’re acting like a six year old = good description. Again, another good one Tess.


  2. I’m glad the daughter is only 21. She has lots of time to recover.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha ha. Indeed. I’ve heard of kids not eating right nor sleeping proper hours screwing up their systems causing some kind of imbalance. I don’t know much about it. Add this girls insecurity and you have a BIG problem. It might be insecurity alone, maybe add lack of friends. Anyway the seed which started this story.:-) I wanted to put her over my knee, actually. 😀


  3. How about a nice smack. This tension was killing me. I have had conversations like this with my kids and instinct says to get up and leave.


  4. I felt like squirming in my seat the tension was so great Tess.


  5. Wow, Tess–that really packed a punch. I think we all have feelings like this at times, which is what made this brilliant. It’s something so many people can relate to. 🙂


    • Thanks so much, Cathleen. You’ve made my day. ❤ ❤ 😀
      When I was 12, I asked my parents if I was adopted. Why? My birthday was on the first of the month they were married and their anniversary was on the 25th. Yeah. I was a c.o.n.f.u.s.e.d. kid. I couldn't be theirs. 😀 😀 What was I thinking? But I was 12 not 21. I wondered if poor eating and bad sleep habits might have screwed her up. As well, I believe she was on meds–maybe not taking them?


  6. A difficult conversation – I can relate.


  7. I think this is a perfect place to end this, so that the next installment of what is SURELY a serial can start with us waiting for the next piece.

    At once I felt for the 21/6 year old, then the mother. She needs answers, or love. Or both.


  8. Like Chatter Master I want more! The tension was starting to really build and then… no, no, no. What do you mean ‘The End’!??! Surely not.


    • Do you think the mother is going to cut off her finger? I’m done with this whiner, but then her mother has been distant. Maybe she was the mistake since her sister sounds much older… Sigh.
      Thanks so much for your comment. This from you, gives me hope I’m learning more about this writing gig. ❤ ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • That’s so sweet of you to say, Tess. But, trust me, you definitely know how to pen a tale.

        I don’t think the mother is going to cut off her finger, but I am concerned with what she’s going to do to her daughter. Mother strikes me as a Cruella DeVille type.


      • I agree. Ice blue eyes and all. She is not fuzzy mother material especially to her second daughter. 😛


  9. Well done, Tess. You had me in a strangle hold.
    I’ve known several women (with sisters) who felt shunned and left out, the way your character did. So I’m sure this struck a chord with many. (Me? I would have been lucky if mine had paid for the coffee — on my birthday. The old “Oh, I misplaced my wallet” got old pretty quick!)
    Much better than sci-fy. Hugs.


    • Thanks so much, Teagan. I’m always uplifted when you like my scribbles. ❤ ❤ ❤
      I was first born. My next sister came five years later. She said she's always been jealous of me but I don't understand it. This 21-year-old might have health issues or she'd always been insecure or more insecure due to lack of friends, her shape compared to her mother and sister, yo-yo dieting, improper sleep…


  10. Good, good writing Tess. I really enjoyed this story. Well done!


  11. As someone who never quite belonged, I have total empathy with her!


    • Sorry to hear that, Gilly. Seems families are made of all sorts. I still wonder what was the real reason for the girl’s questions: irregular meds, insecurity, dieting, lack of sleep or friends. Her insecurity feels deep, though.
      Thank you for reading. Mwah. ❤


  12. Boy! This one runs deep, Tess. Lily needs to like herself more.

    Intriguing story!


    • Thanks so much for reading, Glynis.
      I suppose some people never get over their place in the family. Maybe there’s a family secret she found out about or health issues or the mother really didn’t have time for her. Maybe she was an oopsie and her sister much older, which change the dynamics in a family.


  13. What do you mean The End ?! Is there another chapter coming? Where is she taking her? So many unanswered questions! A great read 🙂


  14. Nicely done, Miss Tess, and borders on paranormal, only because she had to bite back a howl and is darker…I’m sensing a dark family secret that involves werewolves…hmmm?


    • Glad you like it, Terri. Means a lot if a reader ‘feels’ something. ❤
      No, I know next to nothing about paranormal or sci-fi genres. The howl is pure frustration and maybe she's off her meds and there's an imbalance in her system. Anyway, I wanted to walk away. I had a whining sister who said she was jealous of me and still is. We're good friends now, though.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Loved this! I wonder how many blacksheep children have posed that question to their parents, ‘Am I adopted?” Great tension, grilling, avoidance, and curiosity. 🙂 ❤


  16. Ooooh, I want more of this story Tess! It is something that I can relate to, as I am sure, can many others too! 🙂


  17. Great tension, Tess! I loved your story and can’t help but wonder how often this plays out in real life.


    • Thank YOU, macjam47. ❤ I'm tickled the tension worked for you. 🙂
      Through writing this story, I'm heard lots of readers relate. Wow. You even hear older kids say, "Mom/Dad loves me more than you." How hurtful. Kids can be as cutting to each other as adults to each other or even to their own children. 😦 What a world.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Good dialogue, Tess, and the story held me. Must confess, I wanted to smack the daughter.


    • Nice to see you again. Thanks for reading and your positive comment. Glad the story got a ‘feeling’ from you. ❤ ❤

      Me too. I don't have patience with whiners but some need help. I'm surprised at the responses from readers who relate to Lily. Ouch. That must be heartbreaking.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. You got right to the guts of the story as soon as you started. Excellent. And yes, I remember those times wanting to ask my mom if I was adopted. By the time I was 10 I didn’t want to ask anymore, I was so positive! But in your story’s case, Tess, I’m thinking the mom had a secret love affair – fergget about the black-haired grandmother! 🙂


    • Thank you, Pam. You’ve made my day. ❤ ❤ 🙂
      Your secret affair reaction didn't come up from anyone else, although not only valid, hugely possible. I'm surprised at the number of readers who said they can relate. Wow.


  20. Good writing. I wonder if anyone is ever loved by their mothers the way they want to be loved.


    • That’s a great point. There are always other children (sometimes many), mother’s health issues, mothers’ other interests or obligations, a child might be an oopsie many years after the first or previous one. Sure I can see it. As the oldest in my family, I felt left out because Mom had her hands full with four younger ones, but I got over it. And then there’s the thing with mothers and daughters, anyway. Sheesh. Thanks for shaking up the thinking tree, Bernadette. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  21. something very different with great practice to stay focused and balanced


  22. Hey, where are they going?! Talk about cliffhangers…


  23. I wanted to tell her to shut up moaning and on the hand I wanted to know what made her feel that way. The tension between the two was palpable. Nice one, Tess 🙂


  24. I think siblings often wonder which one is the favourite. At twenty-one this girl is wants her mother’s approval. I think that goes for many of us no matter how old we are.

    So, do you think she’s going to cut off her finger?