Story from Skye Preston

Mothers & Daughters

There were poems she would wait to publish until after her mother had died. That was if she were to outlive the old woman. Barbara-Jane: the reason she wrote, the stem of it all, the beginning and inevitably the end. After all, we all become our mothers. Carolina knew from too young an age that she, just like Barbara-Jane, would embrace death like a sweet relief, like the pills she hadn’t allowed herself to take. She believed she would die young because it was easier to imagine that her suffering wouldn’t last forever. Carolina wore pearls and spent recklessly, she refused to fall in love with anyone or anything but the term promiscuous.

And Barabara-Jane often reminded her. New England-born, New York-bred, buttered slices of bread on blue Italian china. Carolina remembered the home she had grown up in, Carolina remembered the sister-space she’d grown into. Older sisters become writers and younger sisters become actresses, it’s the way of the world. It was a yellow Victorian, white trim with a rosary buried somewhere beneath the foundation. Carolina wanted to be buried anywhere but near the house. Perhaps half a mile off from the Riverton prison’s burial plot, where her father lay. The river was lazy but the criminals weren’t, and Carolina was called an afterthought but her father was called bloodthirsty.

Half a mile was a safe enough distance from him, just as long as she didn’t smell like her mother. If there was one thing she should play safe, it was her proximity to her father’s dead body. Carolina only liked to play the victim, never to truly be victimized. Not like her mother. To hate her father for what he did to Barbara-Jane would be hypocrisy. After all, Carolina would not have been so kind. She would have finished the job. She would have killed the woman.