Life After Love

Life After Love

The ceiling fan whirled, a speed that seemed manic, way too fast. For a moment I pondered what might happen if it came off its hinges, randomly beheading the various other occupants of the waiting room. Might be fun, I thought. Might be.

I glanced over at mom. Her eyes were closed, beads of perspiration rested lightly on her forehead, just above her painted-on eyebrows. And above her lips. It was hot, was their air conditioner broke? I’d never get used to the Florida humidity. I’d arrived only two weeks earlier, when dad called and said, “You’d better come now.”

I scanned the room for the a.c. unit, saw one way back toward the corner near the toy basket. Near the bald kid, about five, playing with the Bert hand puppet. I shuddered, wondering how many other kids had put their hands up that same toy. Germs gross me out. I wiped my hands on my lap.

The couple across from me kept staring. I thought mom’s wig might be askew. As usual, we’d argued that morning about which one she’d wear with today’s muu-muu.

“I like the black hair better,” I’d said. It was long, Cher reborn, in those Sonny and Cher, I Got You Babe, days. “It makes your blue eyes pop.”

“Pop?” She’d said, like any word was an effort to get out. “That wig is too strange. The hair gets caught in everything. No, I’ll wear the short blonde one.”

Ugh. She looked like a Shitzu. Or Ethyl Mertz. No, the black one suited her better. Now, sitting there, I thought of mom as Cher, with her hair streaming out behind her, singing, “Do you believe in life after love, after love, after love…”


About Robert Vaughan

Originally from NY, Robert leads week long National writing retreats at sites like Mabel Dodge Luhan House, Synergia Ranch, and EarthRise IONS. His poems and fiction are published in over 500 print and online magazines, such as Necessary Fiction, BlazeVOX, Los Angeles Weekly, Literary Orphans and Smokelong Quarterly. He is Editor-in-Chief at (b)OINK magazine and leads round- tables for Redoak Writing in Milwaukee. He is six times a Pushcart Prize Nominee and his fiction and poetry have won awards, including a Micro-Fiction runner-up (2012) and twice a finalist in the Gertrude Stein Fiction Award (2013-14). His books are: Microtones (Cervena Barva Press); Diptychs + Triptychs + Lipsticks + Dipshits (Deadly Chaps); Addicts & Basements (Civil Coping Mechanisms); RIFT, co-authored with Kathy Fish (Unknown Press), and FUNHOUSE (Unknown Press).
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8 Responses to Life After Love

  1. Shari says:

    Sad, evokes real situations with that happy-sad way you are so great at conveying. Well done.

  2. Angela says:

    Really good. I’m in the room, I hear the fan, I feel the heat, I see the sweat, and I’m interested in the narrator. These shorts always leave me wanting more. And I do believe in life after love, after love, after love…Sending some your way! x@

  3. Dez says:

    I lost my mother last year and this really hit me hard, but that is also a testament to your skills as a writer.

  4. Tom Froehlich says:

    Nice Robert, but not your strongest work.

  5. Beverly says:

    I think this piece is very strong, Robert. You are such a great writer and I felt as Angela did that I was right in this Florida waiting room, inside this person who is with his mother. Well done!

  6. Don says:

    I thought this is one of your saddest sketches, and I wanted it to go on and on, just like the Cher song that seems to hit you just when you think you will never hear it again. The repeat of that at the end really made me think…Do I believe in life after love? Of course, I do.

  7. david says:

    so powerful.. I hung on each sentence.. so clear.. and each evoked a profound sense of place.. as usual I am left begging for more…

  8. Andrea says:

    Very sad.

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