First Snow by Kristen MacKenzie

Editor Matty Byloos, Fiction, June 15th, 2015

"Yesterday, I wasn’t sure I could be your mom anymore..."

wintery bench maria LOUCEIRO photo

In two months an ambulance will come to our house, but tonight the first snow is falling, and I’m going to take you to the top of the highest mountain I can find and build a snowman with you.

Yesterday, you screamed that you wished you lived with your dad still, but right now, you’re at the top of a mound of snow that’s orange in the street light, building a snowman shaped like a robot with sticks for antennas, straight off the top of the square you made for his head.

Yesterday, I wasn’t sure I could be your mom anymore, but when you ask me if we can stop and get hot cocoa on the way home, I’d do anything to give you what you want.

Tomorrow, you’ll ask for help with your homework and walk away when I don’t answer because I can’t. You’ll go to the cupboard and take the vodka bottle down and empty it into the sink but I won’t notice.

Next week, you’ll stand on the playground at recess and ask the playground supervisor why I don’t pick you up from school like all the other parents do. You’ll ride your scooter home alone like always, on the hill where trucks drive too fast, and wait for me to get home from work long after it gets dark.

A month from now, I won’t have money to pay the rent and I’ll find the vodka bottle you filled with water.

In two months, I’ll buy a bottle of wine and take a handful of pills and remember the night we played in the snow and wonder why I’m not like other parents.

+ + +

If you enjoyed this piece, they you might also enjoy “Blue in Green,” by Kirsten Larson, here.

Header image courtesy of Maria Louceiro. To view a gallery of her photography, go here.

+ + +

Kristen MacKenzie Kristen MacKenzie lives on Vashon Island in a quiet cabin where the shelves are filled with herbs for medicine-making, the floor is open for dancing, and the table faces the ocean, waiting for a writer to pick up the pen. Her work has appeared in Brevity, Rawboned Journal, GALA Magazine, Extract(s) Daily Dose of Lit, and is included monthly in Diversity Rules Magazine. Pieces are forthcoming in Blank Fiction, Crack the Spine Magazine, Maudlin House, and MadHat Annual. Her short story, “Cold Comfort,” placed in Honorable Mention in The Women’s National Book Association’s annual writing contest and will be published in a special edition of the association’s journal, Bookwoman, in June.


Matty Byloos

Matty Byloos is Co-Publisher and a Contributing Editor for NAILED. He was born 7 days after his older twin brother, Kevin Byloos. He is the author of 2 books, including the novel in stories, ROPE ('14 SDP), and the collection of short stories, Don't Smell the Floss ('09 Write Bloody Books).