Not Your Real Mother - 5/10

The editors of Writer's Digest provide a weekly Writing Prompt to get your writing going.
say hello
Private E-1
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Apr 26, 2011 5:08 pm

Re: Not Your Real Mother - 5/10

Postby say hello » Fri May 13, 2011 12:12 pm

I hated diplomatic events. I had carefuly combed my hair over my third eye, and re-touched my make up but no matter what I did I felt different, out of place. Tonight the diplomatic lounge had the usual celebrants, and as usual my family had the private booth in a dimly lit corner. Just as we finished eating the compulsary mothers day tea my compad vibrated indicating an incoming message. Who could be calling? My whole family was at the table, none of my classmates would be calling me. I had been home schooled since the day I told my teacher I could see sounds and radio waves.

I answered the call and as the screen slowly cleared I saw an older version of myself, light green skin, a warm smile, and hair combed back so her third eye was clearly visable. Beside her stood a miniature version of my mother. Flaming red hair, and only two eyes both sparkling blue. The small one was speaking, actually shouting. I flipped the translate mode on, and after some hesitation her message came through. "Stop celebrating with her."

Then the older one, who looked like me started to speak. "Hush a minute, Sweetness, let me explain." "I am sorry for the outburst, Sweetness has been having a hard time coping with life on this planet. You see I am your real mother, and the lady with you at the moment is hers. I was traveling with a convoy and we made a brief stop on your planet to pick up provisions and passangers. I went into labor and the local hospital delivered both of you but just as you both were being born the announcement of a breakdown in relations between our planets came over the com-system. I was rushed back to the convoy with the wrong baby. Because of the communications black out between our planets there was no way to correct the error until now that relations are being re-established." There was a small green tear forming in the corner of her third eye as she spoke. "It seems best to return Sweetness to her biological family because of the difficulties she is having here, and soon she will probably be wanting to find a .. well, a mate and it is obvious she will find none here. We love Sweetness and want what is best for her. We also think it is best you are returned to your home planet before your first molt. I am sure when you are older you'll understand."

I instantly understood why all my life I had a sense of non-belonging, even though my family obviously loved me I never shook the feeling of belonging somewhere else, now at last I knew why.

Mom spoke slowly and in a very controlled manner. "I had suspected the doctors were lying when they told me that the green color and third eye were the products of an accidental release of an evolution excelarating chemical. Not only do I not believe in evolution but I seldom believe doctors. Now that the war has ended and a position of emissary to Gala 45 was posted, Mat and I read the description of the planet and it's occupants. When we saw the pictures of the people living on Gala 45 there was no denying they all looked like our darling daughter. An error at the hospital was the only logical explanation. We checked and found a convoy returning to Gala 45 from the outer bands stopped here the day she was born. Thank you for confirming our suspissions. Mat applied for the position, and since he was the only one willing to go, he was accepted. We will arrive on your planet in soon and can sort things out when we get there."

Private E-1
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Apr 03, 2011 10:12 am

Re: Not Your Real Mother - 5/10

Postby nastyjman » Sat May 14, 2011 5:43 pm

Brandon pressed the red button on his cellphone. He began to burn up, unable to resist the sweat forming inside his shirt and on his forehead. His heart assaulted his ribcage. While attempting to return the cellphone in his pocket, Brandon almost dropped it on the floor.

Brandon squinted his eyes at his mother. He tried to find any semblance of her with his: her eyes didn't match his eyes; her mouth was plump and round than his; her ears were short, whereas Brandon's were pointed and lobed; her hair was blond, his hair was black.

"Is there something wrong sweety? Who was that?" said Mom – if she really is Mom.

There was nothing in his face that belonged to his mother. Brandon had his doubts before, but not this intense. And on Mother's Day of all days!

Brandon dared to speak and confront her about the inconsistencies of resemblance. But the words stopped in his throat, clustering below his adam's apple. He coughed and took a deep breath.

"Were the clams bad honey?" said Mom.

She turned around and looked for their waiter. She waved her arms, jiggling the fat around her arms, trying to get someone else instead. She cawed at someone who passed by with a plate of spaghetti.

"You! Come here!" she yelled. Some of the patrons turned to her thunderous voice.

"Mom, please stop," said Brandon, darting his gaze from one staring patron to another.

"My son ate something bad! You! I need to talk to you!"

"Mah! Please! I'm okay."

Their waiter scooted over to their table. His brows were drawn down.

"I'm sorry. Is there something I can help you with?" asked the waiter.

"No, we're fine," said Brandon, "I'm okay. The clams were great and the food was perfect."

Brandon looked around, still seeing the faces staring at them. It unsettled Brandon.

"I'm fine!" shouted Brandon for everyone to hear and for everyone to mind their own business.

"Honey, you didn't seem right," said Mom.

The waiter nodded at him and his mom. He waltzed away from the table and walked back to his station.

Brandon was still sweating. The light above made his forehead shine like polished steel. His lips trembled, feeling the words jockeying for position. He opened his mouth and said, "Are you my real mother?"

Brandon wanted to take it back, but it was out, floating through the air and entering her ears, then it was processed by her brain which sent shivers through her spine and made her hand go up to her mouth.

"What do you mean 'real'?"

"I'm sorry Ma, I take it back."

"Was that Agnes on the phone?" asked Mom. Her brows furrowed and her lips tightened, creasing her skin that showed her age beneath the make-up.

Mom took the bottle of wine from the middle and poured some on her glass. She took a good drink from it, received the liquor with her eyes closed. As soon as it hit her stomach, she let out a satisfied sigh through her teeth.

She looked up to Brandon with pained eyes.

"Agnes is your mother, Brandon. Our neighbor is your real mother," she took another drink. "Are you happy now?"

He wasn't. For 24 years, the truth was kept from him. He thought of Agnes, their next door neighbor when Brandon was still young, and found what a terrible childhood he would've grown up in. Agnes was the town's cranky old crone who looked too old for her age.

"I'm sorry Mom," said Brandon. He took his wine glass and raised it towards her.

Mom smiled. A tear escaped her eye that sparkled beneath the light.

"We saved you from that bitch Brandon," said Mom. "And she was very abusive to her cats! It's a wonder how she still remembers you."

Brandon couldn't shake off the idea of being the son of an insane woman. He dipped his free hand in his pocket and thumbed the pillbox that helped his depression and anxiety. The pills were invented by his adopted father and mother. Some helped, some didn't.

An ugly thought crept up his mind, something that made his stomach sink. Brandon never took any pills that weren't invented by his parents. He remembered one batch of pills that sent him to the ICU.

"Remember Brandon, and remember this – no matter what, we love you always," said Mom.

Brandon's hand were shaking. He took out the pills from his pocket and opened them up. He took one pill and downed it without water.

He looked at his mother and saw someone else: not a mother, but a scientist observing her guinea pig.

say hello
Private E-1
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Apr 26, 2011 5:08 pm


Postby say hello » Sun May 15, 2011 3:38 am

Once a reply (story) has been posted does it become property of Writer's Digest, or does it remain the property of the writer?

I tried to send a private message but it just stayed in my outbox, not sure what I'm doing wrong.

Private E-1
Posts: 21
Joined: Thu Mar 31, 2011 3:47 am

RE: Not Your Real Mother - 5/10

Postby missycamp » Mon May 16, 2011 4:35 am


I'm sorry but I could not do this one. It hits too close to home. You see, I--am--a--BIRTHMOTHER!! I gave up my firstborn for adoption 18 years ago. I recently made contact with him and he agreed to come see me, then changed his mind. It was like I had just given him up all over again. The deafening silence that followed for at least two weeks pretty much paralyzed me, and I cried day and night. I wrote a multitude of poems about it, and wrote to his parents. Finally, I got a call from his amom and she told me he was just scared, that it was just too soon. Now I can only look forward to extraordinarily brief emails once in a blue moon--yet I cherish the fact that he hasn't totally locked me out of his heart.

But I have something more to say about this...first of all, I object to the term 'real' should use BIRTHMOTHER!! The "real" mother is the one who raises the child! Yes, I loved my son dearly and it nearly killed me giving him away, but I faced facts 18 years ago. I did not give him a home. Or a father. Or siblings. I didn't change his diapers, or watch him blow out all his birthday candles over the years. He stopped being mine when I signed on the dotted line. I am his BIRTHMOTHER!! The woman who raised him and provided him with all this is his so-called 'real' mother!!

Private E-1
Posts: 8
Joined: Fri Apr 08, 2011 3:55 am

RE: Not Your Real Mother - 5/10

Postby JBG » Mon May 16, 2011 11:04 am

The phone rang as I cleared away the dinner dishes. It had been years since Mom and I were able to have a nice quiet dinner together on Mother's Day.

"Sit Mom, I'll get it." I reached for the phone as she slowly began to stand.

"Hello." I could hear background noise but no one responded. It sounded like a crowded cafeteria. The squeaking of chairs sliding across the floor, muffled conversations and an argument between two screaming women blasted into my ear.

"Hello, is anyone there?" I repeated.

"Stop celebrating with her! I'm your real mother." A woman's voice shouted abruptly.

"Who is this?" I questioned the caller. No response.

"You have 1 minute remaining." A computerized voice announced.

"I'm your real mother. Now put that bitch on the phone, I know she's there!" the caller yelled.

"I'm sorry - I think you have the wrong number." I said as I hung up.

"Who was that honey?" Mom calmly asked.

"Oh, just a prank call. Some nutjob telling me she's my real mother. I think she was calling from prison."

"She was calling from prison dear." Mom replied as tears filled her eyes.

Bess Terrell
Private E-1
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat May 07, 2011 6:57 am

Re: Not Your Real Mother - 5/10

Postby Bess Terrell » Sun May 22, 2011 10:51 am

The Real Mother
By Bess Terrell

"Stop celebrating with her! I'm your real mother."
Allison looked with disbelief at the phone.
“Who is this? What do you want?”
“Give me fifteen minutes at Claire’s Diner, please, and I’ll explain.”
Allison slammed down the phone and noticed her mother at the door.
“Who was it, dear?”
“Someone claiming to be my ‘real mother’,” Allison replied with confusion in her voice.
“Oh, honey! What a terrible thing to happen on Mother’s Day. Just a minute. Let me get your daddy.”
While Allison waited, she looked at the photos lining the walls and thought, “This is my real family There’s proof. Every birthday, recital, game, holiday since I was born. Right there on the wall.”
“Allison,” Bob asked as he hurried in the room. “Someone on the phone upset you? I’ll take care of this. Don’t you worry.”
“Daddy, what did that crazy woman mean ‘real mother’?” Allison cried, “Why is she trying to hurt me? Us?”
Allison saw a strange look pass between her parents and her fear grew.
Bob reached for his daughter’s hand, and Ellen paced.
“Precious, the years have flown by. Your mother and I intended to talk with you. By the time you were big enough, it seemed unimportant. We couldn’t bring ourselves to tell you.”
“Tell me what, Daddy?”
“Your mother and I tried to have a child and then to adopt. Our doctor told us about a college girl disowned by her parents. She had no home, no money, nowhere to go, and we helped her. We were able to adopt you, and she was able to return to school.”
“You should have told me.”
“Yes, we should have,” Bob said as he brushed his hand through his hair. “However, the timing of this conversation does not change anything. We carried you in our hearts every moment she carried you inside her body. We are your parents in every way possible. We love you with all of our hearts, Allison.”
The room filled with silence as all three held their breath.
Allison finally spoke, “I need to speak with her.”
“We’ll go with you, honey.”
“No, I need to do this myself.”
“Allison, the last time we saw Marsha, she handed you to us while tears streamed down our faces. Please allow us to go with you.”
“She sounded angry - bitter.”
“The more reason for us to go with you, baby.” Ellen finally spoke. “I’ll ask Anna to care for our guests until we return.”
The Lindsey’s drove to Claire’s Diner in silence. A lone SUV with Forsyth County, Georgia plates sat at the curb.
Allison stepped from the car, and Bob hugged her close.
“You okay, honey?”
“Yes, Daddy.”
A woman with a clear view of the door looked up when the bell rang and surprise crossed her face when she saw the three of them. The woman and Allison’s eyes met, but they didn’t engage each other.
Bob led the way to the table.
“Marsha, it’s been a long time. We’ve brought Allison to meet you.”
“Yes, Mr. Lindsey. It has been. You’re a beautiful young lady, Allison.
The Lindsey’s sat down. Marsha haltingly unfolded her story of school, marriage, and children. She finished by telling them she and her husband owned a successful real estate company.
“It sounds as if you’ve had a wonderful life without an illegitimate daughter to embarrass you,” Allison interjected. “You didn’t want me then. What has changed?”
“That’s not true, Allison. I had no way of caring for you and tried to give us both a chance.”
“Why now?” Allison asked.
“I’ve learned I have cancer and wanted to meet you while I’m able to travel. I don’t want to disrupt your happy life. I just wanted to see you one more time.”
“Mom and Dad, I’d like to meet my siblings.”
“Sure, honey,” Ellen replied, “If it’s okay with Marsha.”
“Of course, Mrs. Lindsey,” Marsha said, as she dialed a number on her cell. “My husband is right outside. We’ll be glad to arrange a visit.”
Marsha introduced Tom to the Lindsey’s, and they discussed possible meeting times.
“Allison, I brought pictures of Bart and Caleb. Would you like to see them?”
Soon Marsha’s tales of the boys’ antics had Allison laughing.
During one of the merry outbursts, Ellen looked up, nodded, and thought, “The anger and hostility seems to be at rest for the time being. Allison is a fine young lady. I’m proud to be her ‘real mother’.”

Private E-1
Posts: 1
Joined: Sat May 28, 2011 7:12 pm

RE: Not Your Real Mother - 5/10

Postby alyssauseUrTelescope » Mon May 30, 2011 8:19 pm

Hundreds of dirty diapers changed. Years of bracing through games of "pickup" , wiping mashed peas off of the kitchen floor, but allowing it to continue, just to see the giddy smile on my face. rocking me until every tear was done flowing out of my eyes, which would eventually find rest. being there to give me the push i needed to ride without training wheels. Lifting me up high enough to swing on the branch of my favorite tree behind our house. Making sure my hair was cute and my make up was pretty to woo that one boy at my first school dance. Doing the same thing before prom, while listening to me bitch about how nothing was going right. Hearing my bedroom door slam out of anger of not knowing how to handle her wisdom.
19 years of care, and nurture. 3 seconds was all it took to slam the importance of that right into my heart. 3 seconds was all it took to change everything. I stared at the porcelin, italian doll-like framework of Amelia Duksta, my mother...or so I thought up to this point.
"ready to leave, sweetie ? I think i've had enough spaghetti to last me a month. and that's saying a lot. i'm 100% italian." I brushed the bangs of my natural sunflower blonde hair away from my blue eyes, and stared at her...not knowing how to name any emotion i may have been feeling.
"Alyssa ?" I couldn't speak. The woman on the other line continued to ask if I was there, and if i say something.
"I...I...." I stammered, unable to come up with any sentence that would be coherent to the human ear.
My mom, whose face was now painted fully with the colors of confusion and discern, took my phone from my grasp. "679....the area code of massachusetts.", she murmered to no one.
"I'm glad to hear you're cured, Elizabeth." With a click of a button, my mom stared blankly at me for a few moments.
"That was your birth mother. She...had cancer that was supposed to be terminal. She fought to accept that, though. She was determined to make it. After 18 years, she finally did. Neither of us wanted you to grow up with a mother that you could lose at any time. But...she's cured. She's going to live a long time. I love you, alyssa."

Private E-1
Posts: 7
Joined: Wed Nov 24, 2010 5:20 pm

RE: Not Your Real Mother - 5/10

Postby pkaushik » Thu Jun 02, 2011 10:46 am

The phone call came when we had just finished a huge gourmet Indian dinner, kathi rolls dipped in homemade creamy tomato sauce with paneer tikka masala on the side. My elder sister Asha and I were visiting my mother’s house to celebrate mother’s day. I pushed myself in an old armchair in the living room and closed my eyes. The phone rang in the other room. I knew Asha and my mom were putting the dishes away so one of them could walk over to the drawing room and pick up the phone. The phone ring died after a few minutes. I heard Asha’s voice from the kitchen, “Ram why didn’t you pick up the phone? We are busy in the kitchen.” Then I heard my mother murmuring something and I assumed she must have been disapproving my laziness. I opened my eyes and was about to utter some excuse when the phone rang again. I walked over to the other room, picked up the phone and said, “Ello” I heard a shrill female voice on the other side, “Is it Ram?”
I said cautiously, “yes” wondering if I recognized this voice. I asked, “Who is it?”
After a pause, the voice said slowly, “I am your mother, I mean I am your real mother.”
I sat down on a settee still holding the phone next to my ears, “Really I don’t recognize you.” My mind was shuffling through the list of my female cousins, aunts or friends who could play such a practical joke.
The voice on the other side said firmly, “Ram I am telling you I am your real mother. I have given you birth. You are my son.”
I stood up, “Ok I got it. You are Shilpa who went to school with Asha, right?”
I heard a slight sob, “No Ram, I am your mother. I just wanted to see you before I die. Please can we meet just for once?” The voice had by then turned into a loud cry with sniffle in between. A gruff voice of some man probably standing behind her said, “I told you he wouldn’t believe you. What are you thinking calling him after 30 years and hoping he will come in your arms? The wailing got louder, “Ram Ram are you there, my son.” I suddenly hung up the phone and turned around to find my sister and mother staring at me, “Who was it Ram and why are you sweating?”
Asha folded her arms across her chest, “Was it a black-mailer or your old girlfriend threatening you. You look like you have seen a ghost.”
My mother came near me and touched my forehead, “Are you ill? You shouldn’t have eaten so many kathi rolls. I will get some medicine for your heartburn.”
She turned around to go into the kitchen. I took a deep breath and said abruptly, “Some woman called.”
She asked, “Who?”
“I don’t know her. She didn’t tell me her name but she said...”I stopped in the middle.
Asha who was shaping her nails sitting with her legs folded on the couch said, “She said what?”
My mother frowned, “Yes Ram?”
“She said she is my mother.” As soon as I had blurted this out Asha started laughing. My mother folded her arms, tilted her face to a side, pursed her lips and said, “What nonsense.” Next time if she calls, I’ll pick up the phone.
I looked around helplessly and added, “There was a man with her and he was saying to her, ‘why are you calling him after 30 years.’”
My mother’s eyes widened, her face reddened and she said, “This is just some hoax, Ram, don’t worry about it.”
“Or may be it’s a wrong number.” Asha said polishing her nails.
I turned to Asha, “She knew my name. It was not a wrong number.”
My mother pulled me from my arm and pushed me towards the stairs to rest in the bedroom upstairs. “Some maniac woman is bothering my son in my house. No I won’t take this.”
I heard Asha’s frivolous voice, “Mamma, somehow Ram gets easily bothered by women.”
My stomach was so full from the heavy dinner that I crashed on the bed and didn’t think much about the strange phone call. I had been with my parents for as long as I could remember with pictures of me as a toddler with my mother hanging in our house. ‘She is my mother, my real mother’ and with that thought I went to sleep.
I woke up early next day and came downstairs to make myself a cup of coffee when everyone was asleep. With the coffee in my hand, I walked to the phone receiver in the drawing room and chuckled at yesterday’s event. With my fresh mind the shrill voice and wailing of the woman on the phone yesterday seemed far-fetched and unreal. “Did that really happen?” I wondered if she had called again after I went to bed. With some curiosity I picked up the receiver. It was dead with no ring-tone. I crouched down and looked behind the settee. The receiver cord was pulled out from the phone-jack. I straightened myself and tapped my forehead wondering who could have done that. With only three people in the house, it was probably mom who did that. She had said she didn’t want any crazy woman bothering me. But why did she think the woman would call again so she had to disconnect the phone? I inhaled a deep breath and spoke loudly, “What the hell? How does it matter?” And turned towards the kitchen to fish for left over kathi-rolls.

Private E-1
Posts: 1
Joined: Sat Jun 04, 2011 4:41 am

RE: Not Your Real Mother - 5/10

Postby kathleen350 » Sat Jun 04, 2011 7:14 am

“What?” I said.
“I said, ‘stop celebrating with her. I’m your real mother,” the voice on the other end of the line repeated.
I was dumbfounded. I didn’t know what to say. I could see my mother clearing the table in the kitchen. I was standing in the dark living room. I was far enough away from her that she couldn’t hear what I was saying. I watched her for a moment with hesitation. Had she been lying to me all these years? Was this lady telling the truth? Was I adopted?
“Hello. . . are you still there?” the female voice on the other end of the line said.
“Yes,” I responded. After another hesitation I continued, “I’m sorry. . .There must be some sort of a mistake. Listen are you sure you have the right number?”
“Yes, I am. I’ve been looking forward to this day for years. You don’t know what I had to go through to get this number.”
“I’m sorry. This must be a mistake. I’m not adopted.”
“Maybe that’s what they told you but it’s not true. So many parents lie to children about this. I don’t understand why.”
“Ok, so where was I born?” I asked.
“Livingston, NJ.”
“No, that’s incorrect. See? You must have the wrong number.”
There was silence for a moment. “. . .well, they don’t put the actual city.”
“Who is that?” I heard from behind me. My mother walked into the living room and turned on the light. I turned around quickly, startled. I just looked at her for a moment, not sure what to say. She had started straightening up the living room, but when I didn’t respond she stopped and looked at me. She looked at me with a curious expression on her face. “Who is that?” she repeated.
The voice on the other end of the line asked, “who is that?”
“My mother,” I responded, although I wasn’t sure which woman I was responding to.
“Who?” my mother in the living room said. The voice on the other end of the line repeated, “that’s not your mother.”
“She says that you’re not my real mother,” I said to my mother in the living room.
“What? That’s ridiculous! And who is?”
“She says she is. . .” I responded.
“Let me speak to her.” She took the phone from my hand.
“Who is this?” she said to the voice on the phone.
Then she continued, “listen, this has got to be some sort of mistake. My daughter is not adopted. I remember the labor very well.”
She listened for a second, then continued, “I don’t care what information you were given. This is not the right person that you’re searching for.”
“She wasn’t born in Livingston, NJ, she was born in Chicago. You have the wrong person.”
She hesitated again, listening to the woman.
“How old is your daughter that you are looking for?”
After a brief pause, she continued, “my daughter is 26. You’ve either got the wrong number or the wrong person.”
Once more she paused, “Listen! I’m hanging up, don’t call back again or I’m calling the police!”
My mother hung up the phone loudly and looked at me. “What a nutcase.”
I looked at her in silence for a minute. She said, “you don’t really believe that do you? Look at me and look at you. It’s obvious you’re my daughter. Besides she got your birthday completely wrong.”
It was true, people were always remarking how much alike we look. It really wasn’t possible that I was adopted.
My mom came over and hugged me. “Are you alright?” she asked me.
“Yeah,” I said. “It was just a weird conversation.”
“Tell me about it.”
I hugged her a little closer and said, “Happy Mother’s day.”
“Thank you.”
“Let’s go have the cake I brought you,” I said. We returned to the kitchen together arm in arm.


Return to Writing Prompts and Challenges

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest