"Accidental Falls" by Christina Murphy
Issue #2 / February 2014
Illustrated by Francesco Orazzini
KINDLE EDITION ($0.99)
CHRISTINA MURPHY's stories have appeared in a range of journals and anthologies, including A Cappella Zoo, PANK, Word Riot, Spilling Ink Review, and The Last Word: A Collection of Fiction. Her fiction has twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and was the winner of the 2011 Andre Dubus Award for Short Fiction.
"My mother, returning with a bottle of wine borrowed from a neighbor for the party at which people drank more than she expected, tripped over a piece of broken pavement, fell onto the sidewalk, and took a chunk of skin off her palms. The bottle shattered. My mother, a hysteric by nature, screamed and cried and drew a crowd—my father chief among them, who discovered that a shard of the green bottle glass had imbedded itself in the center of my mother’s forehead. He removed it gingerly, telling her it was all right, she was not hurt. This was no comfort to my mother, who was fixated on that she could have been blinded. This was my mother’s world, the could-have-been of multiple horrors and outcomes. He helped her to her feet. She was still crying as the crowd gathered round, giving her comfort with the one platitude she claimed as her own—how awful that this should happen to her.
I was on our front steps, watching, a ten year-old aware of my mother’s high-strung nature, my father’s inability to be enough to keep her calm, and my own sense of curiosity as to whether the glass shard would leave a scar on my mother’s beautiful forehead and thus make my father’s life and mine an endless nightmare of the horrible things that one could never get over in life, because, after all, the wounds were there forever, were they not?