In the Blood

Mars, courtesy Google Maps

This week Pegman takes us to Mars, a place my son has been threatening to go for years.

I squint up at the night sky, to the dusty red smudge where he points. It’s a smaller star then most, easily lost in a salt of brighter, prettier lights.

“I can message every day, Mom,” he says.

I sigh. This is how she must’ve felt: my great-grandfather’s mother, as she watched his wagon train disappear into the endless sea of grass.

“Once we put in the SatRads, we can Skype.”

I nod. This is how she must’ve felt—my Galway gran, as she watched her bonny son’s ship slip past the curve of the ocean.

“I promise I’ll be back.”

He squeezes my hand, but we both know the odds.

This is how she must’ve felt—my Nether-Norse gamm, as she watched her Viking son row off.

I hold my tongue and say none of the things I want to say to keep him here. How can I?

150 words

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11 Comments

  1. This is superb. I love the effortless way you call up both the past and the future. Really authentic and emotionally satisfying, especially when you consider the brevity. Well done.

    1. You’re very kind. What a thing to contemplate. Seems like it’s not science fiction anymore.

  2. Dear Karen,

    No matter what the time frame, mothers are mothers and it’s hard to let those sons go. Very well done.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

  3. The speed of light might make those Skype calls a tad slow. Depending on the relative positions of Earth and Mars, a radio message could take over thirty minutes round trip.

    1. That would make for slow and stilted conversation! Thanks for reading.

  4. Superluminal communication will be built into Skype. There are ads, of course, but that’s America.

    1. It’s April Fools Day, so I find it difficult to accept your conclusion. 😉

  5. Lovely. I shed a few tears for this mother and maybe for me. You have to let them soar.

  6. Oh! Ouch! I love this. Past, future, love, want, need, denial, hope ~ all wrapped up in 150 words.

  7. Entire gamut of a life’s being conveyed so concisely.

  8. I agree with Josh, you made this look utterly effortless, when we all know how it can’t have been. Love it, Karen. So heartbreaking, that connection through the centuries, that fellow feling with all the mothers who lost sons before her. Wonderful

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