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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Huh? (01/21/10)

TITLE: One lone tomato
By Tessy Fuller


Was everything about her and I different I wondered? Here I was wolfing down my first of three soft-shelled tacos while she picked at a plain green salad topped with one lone tomato. I compare her slender frame to mine and almost sigh in disgust that she is the one worried about her calorie intake. So far the day definitely had not gone as planned.

Earlier I had sat outside the dressing room waiting for her to come out and model a pair of jeans she was trying on. I could just envision her coming out and flashing me a smile letting me know I was the best mom in the entire world. However, my daydream was cut short when the door to the dressing room flew open and she stormed out of the store. When I finally caught up with her I asked “What happened with the jeans? I thought they were the ones you have been wanting.” She had replied “Mom, can we not talk about it?” and then flicked her hair with such force I thought it was very possible she may have given herself whiplash. “I just don’t understand why you are so upset.” I had inquired still searching for any inkling I could get to understand this person who now lived inside my daughter. “You really want to know?” she challenged. “I didn’t get them because they didn’t fit because I am fat. Now you know, are you happy?”

It is so strange for me to be in this place where a mother and daughter can exist as strangers. Not long ago she was climbing into my lap, wrapping her little arms around my neck and telling me I was her best-friend in the whole world. When did my importance get rated right up there with chopped liver? Her salad is now abandoned and she is busy texting. I wonder if I should try to engage her in conversation again. It is a risky decision because my voice alone may make her want to jump off a cliff just so she can get away from the table. My mouth seems dry. I take a sip of soda.

“So Liv, are you about ready to go? I ask. “ I’d like to go to Bath and Body works before we leave. Maybe you can help me pick out a good scent?” I look over at her waiting for her response. Her head is down. She is still seemingly texting though she could be just purposefully ignoring me. “Liv?” I prompt again. This time she looks up. “Huh?” she questions looking to see that I had gathered my stuff to go. “Oh, your ready to go. I’m glad because I am super bored. Can we go home now?” she asks as she slides her phone into her pocket. I ignore her and head to the trash can. I dump my tray and head back toward the mall. I can hear her footsteps behind me. “Are you seriously shopping some more?” she asks. I dig into my pocket and address her. “Here are the keys. You can go sit in the car until I am done. I just have one more store to go to and I would not want to inconvenience you by making you come along.” I quip back. I turn away quickly as tears spring to my eyes.

I spend the next ten minutes sitting on a bench trying to pull myself together. There is no way I’m going to let her know how much she got to me. In the midst of my pity party my phone vibrates. I grab it and flip it open. I have a text message. It reads “I’m sorry” and to my astonishment it is from Liz and probably to her surprise I find myself texting back. In a series of texts later I find out that one of her “friends” at school had let her borrow a pair of jeans and when she tried them on they didn’t fit. Her friend then made some remarks about her needing to lose some weight acting like she was joking. However, Liz had taken it to heart.

After ending our text conversation I headed back to the car. Not a single word was said on the way home. I wasn’t sure about this new way of communicating but it did get us past the “Huh?” level and for that I was thankful.

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This article has been read 563 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Joan Campbell01/31/10
You do very well at capturing the complexity of the mother/teen-daughter relationship and the hurt that it can cause. I'm just starting that journey myself and could relate well to your story!
Jackie Wilson01/31/10
Emjoyed your story. Good flow and good treatment of the subject.
Jan Ackerson 02/01/10
Every mother who's ever had a sullen adolescent daughter will relate to this!

Love your title.
Beth LaBuff 02/01/10
I like your title, also, and the symbolism it portrays. This is a well-thought out story and relevant for today's "family." I enjoyed their use of technology to communicate.
Celeste Ammirata02/01/10
I am so glad that the daughter texted her mom and smoothed things out. You might want to remember to start new paragraphs with a new speaker. Great story!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/01/10
They say texting is the next best thing to talking. (Don't they?)
Glynis Becker02/01/10
Great mother-daughter relationship. Nicely done.
PamFord Davis 02/02/10
Strong emotions. I could just feel the tension as Mom emptied the trash from her tray....nice moments of reconciliation!
Carol Slider 02/02/10
The emotion in this story felt very real. I'm glad technology could bridge the gap between this mother and daughter. Good job portraying a complex and realistic relationship!
Ruth Brown02/02/10
Ahh the modern family! At least they connected. God can use those texts too! Very well done.
Amanda Brogan02/03/10
Sometimes we don't realize how a single comment, even a joking one, can hurt someone deeply. And just as easily, a small act of kindness or reconsiliation can mean more than we know.
This is a great story and I love the mom's way of telling it. My favorite part is where she says she thought Liv would get whiplash from flipping her hair so hard. :D
Chely Roach02/03/10
Fantastic title, great atmosphere. Loved the line about Liv giving herself whiplash from flipping her hair, lol. Very realistic story. Good job!
Michelle Blackmon02/08/10
Oh dear, is this what I have to look forward too?

Thank you for writing about an experience that many moms of teens have. You wrote tenderly and with much emotion.