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  • Writer's pictureMarías at Sampaguitas

Flash Fiction by Pietra Dunmore

TW/CW: Strong language, usage of the word "b*tch"

Grandmother’s Tongue

Grandmother arrived unannounced, again. She had her turmoil filled suitcases and her sharp devil’s tongue in tow. She had made herself at home, as usual, and worked her way into the bathroom. My mother and father were in the kitchen talking. They always had conversations in the kitchen when they thought no one was in earshot. The problem was they weren’t too good with whispering, especially my mother who tended to get a loud when she was angry. I was in the dining room, watching the drama unfold.

I’ll clean the dishes, don’t worry about it.” My father said, emptying the leftovers into Tupperware.

“No I got it.” My mother said.

“You just fixed dinner, I got it,” my father’s tall frame hovered over my mother.

“Fine,” my mother said, her face getting tight.

“I’m sorry about this. I didn’t know she was coming over.”

“We never do.” My mother sighed. “Don’t you think a woman that age should have friends?”

“She does.”

“The hell she does. She’s a bitch and everybody knows it. Even church people won’t hang with her,” her voice escalating to a feverish pitch.

“She’ll hear you!”

“You know it’s true. If it weren’t for your father, God rest his soul, nobody would talk to her.”

“Leave it be.” My father didn’t want her riled up so early.

“No, I can’t because she’s trying to control me in my own house and I won’t have it!”

My mother put the Tupperware into the fridge.

“I’m going to take a shower now,” my grandmother yelled from the bathroom, her southern accent covering the air like thick smog.

Alright, Ma!” Daddy responded.

“She waited until we’re doing the dishes to take a shower. Now she’s going to expect us to wait until she gets out.”

“We don’t have to go through all that. Just fill the sink with water, and wash everything, once she’s done I’ll rinse it off.”

“I don’t wash dishes that way.” Mother scoffed.

“Come on.” My father kissed my mother on the cheek. She turned on the water and squirted some dish washing liquid into the sink.

“Fucking Bitch,” my mother muttered.

“Where do ya’ll keep the towels?” My grandmother called out.

“That bitch knows where they are.” Mother whispered under her breath.

“In the cabinet,” my father yelled back, and then sighed.

“Don’t let her stress you. She’s only going to be here a couple of days, 3 at the most.”

“Don’t expect me to hold my tongue,” my mother said sharply.

“You never do.” My father laughed and playful pushed her.

Shut up.” She said smiling and pushing back. I knew mother was willing to deal with my grandmother being there, but she wasn’t going to make it comfortable for her. As my mother and father cleaned the kitchen to work off their stress, my mother walks over to the faucet and turns it on just to hear my grandmother scream. My father gave her a look, and my mother just smiled and shrugged. She had to take her victories where she could.

Pietra Dunmore writes short stories, creative non-fiction, and poetry. Her writing has appeared in Philadelphia Stories, Hippocampus Magazine, The Journal of New Jersey Poets, and Human Parts.

Instagram: @pietradunmore

Twitter: @PietraDunmore

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