She quietly closed the door behind her,
leaving her parents,
married almost 20 years now,
screaming arguments back and forth across the kitchen;
her younger sister crying in her room
while mainstream pop music
blared through the walls;
her younger brother missing,
probably hiding out at his girlfriend’s.
The snow had just begun to fall,
even though it was almost 45 degrees,
she could feel the temperature dropping
and shivered under her thin fleece coat.
There was nowhere she could escape
or turn to for inspiration
except for the stars and the empty fields
cocooning her ranch style home.
While the snow piled up
and the world became quiet
she felt safe and warm and thought about
when her parents used to
tuck her into bed every night,
how good it felt to be wrapped so tight
in familiar fabric and her own body heat.
She couldn’t even remember the last time
she hugged her mother.
As a little girl,
all she had ever heard her mother say
was how much she had wanted a white picket fence,
one she could plant hostas around,
with complimentary white lace framing on the house.
A coyote barked somewhere across the street,
causing her to glance out over the front yard.
Everything had been spray painted a shimmering white.
She paused at the edge of the softly frozen lawn and
for the first time, she noticed
the plain wooden fence her father had built
all those years ago.
She poked her nose back inside the door.
She answered angrily.
“Come look at this.”
Her mother stomped out of the house and stopped
next to her on the front porch.
She pointed to the illuminated barrier.
Her mother squinted into the moonlit yard and
a smile twitched at the corners of her mouth.
“It’s your white picket fence, mom.”
She faced her daughter with tears in her eyes,
a grin from ear to ear,
and she hugged her
“Thank you, it’s all I ever wanted.”
I miss my mom…