The Mouse Remains

“Look! Isn’t that cute!” my sister cried as she looked out the sun porch windows. The four of us, my mother, aunt, sister, and I herded to the sliding door to watch as a tiny field mouse hopped its way across my mother’s yard. It was mid-April, the ground just beginning to thaw, the earth coming alive. Geese were returning, honking in tight formation across the skies. Although my windshield attested to the fact that insects were returning, I had yet to see any direct evidence save the occasional ant trail. No, I take that back, worms were making their slow way across pavements, trying to escape drowning in saturated ground. As the Patron Saint of Worms, I had already been busying myself moving them to safer ground. Animals were starting to emerge . . . we had already had bear warnings, moose sightings, and coyote killings. So gazing out the glass door, I saw the promise of new life and warm weather coming to the still tremulously thawing winter landscape. A field mouse, well, it was quite simply precious, innocent and innocuous, a non-threatening sign of hope to a still bleak landscape.

We had been getting my twin 5 month old nieces ready to go home, bundling them against the chill in the air. I admit to feeling ragged. After sharing babysitting duties for five hours with my aunt, I had been of the mind of escaping as quickly as possible before I showed any of the crazed emotions suppressed within. It wasn’t the twins; that was easy, it was my aunt. God love her, she had come into her own as a grandmother; I just wished she would do so on her own time, not mine. So perhaps I was primed to react more strongly than otherwise in the forthcoming event.

Tracy and I watched misty eyed as the mouse made its way across the yard, heading away from the house mind you. My mother rushed up, pushing us aside. “That isn’t getting away,” she uttered. She looked around her. Seeing a shiny, black birdhouse gourd on a nearby chair, she snatched it up.

“Nooooo! I yelled as she reached for the door handle. “Don’t you dare!” I tried to stop her from going out the door.

Elbowing me aside, she forced opened the door. Brandishing the gourd, she went after the mouse, swinging her arm back as she went. “Don’t, you Bitch! Don’t you dare do that. Stop! I’ll take it away from here. I’ll make sure it never returns! Don’t do this!”, I screamed.

As I was saying the words she started wailing into the mouse. She had to have hit him a good seven times when he was clearly dead after two. “No mouse is going to get into my house. If I leave him alive, he’ll find his way in.”

I stared, shocked, at the dismembered remains of that poor little thing, whose only fault was to live in a world where humans believed they were supreme and that they alone had the right to decide what animals lived and which died, and for what reasons. “I would have removed him”, I sadly said, “You Bitch!” I grabbed my belongings and hurriedly made my escape from the domain of the dominatrix.

I was shattered. Truthfully, this brought up a mountain of old feelings. It wasn’t even that I could remember specific events. In any case, there had been far too many of them. It was just the old wall of pain risen up from its slumbering deep. My mother and I had walked this road many times before, although perhaps not with this much clarity. Her aggressive approach, in all things, toward life, rubbed the pacifist inside me raw. I had thought it had been put to its final resting but it took this alone to bring it rushing back.

Two days later, my mother called. “Are you over it, She asked?

“No where near”, I replied.

“Then don’t ever use a mouse trap again,” she retorted as she hung up the phone

The Mouse Remains


Joined February 2008

  • Artist
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Artist's Description

The killing of a mouse marks a clear delineation between a mother and her daughter.

Artwork Comments

  • Ushna Sardar
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