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She could have not done it, could have pretended, once again, that being ignored didn’t bother her, or maybe a smaller chunk of Mama’s thigh pinched tightly between her sharp, two-year-old incisors would have worked just as well, but at that moment, with the sun playing peek-a-boo and the wind whipping crinkled, burnt-orange maple leaves into frenzied twisters and the TV blaring the second in a daily series of four hour-long talk shows and Mama reclining on the couch, the phone at her ear and the curly cord wrapped around her forefinger, it all bubbled up, the frustration over her physical body’s limitations—legs that buckled, clumsy fingers, mouth that garbled every word—and the resentment at being confined within such small, dense parameters, so that when combined, they boiled over and spikes of rage erupted causing her to strike out at the closest target, Mama’s thigh, and, though she immediately regretted the act, just as Mama’s arm and hand cocked back and their eyes locked, she was sure that Mama remembered the contract they’d agreed to, the one that stipulated who would play which role and detailed the lessons to be learned, so sure that Mama’s hand landing on her bottom came as a surprise, and when she turned loose of Mama’s thigh and looked up, she saw that the light had gone from Mama’s eyes and realized that Mama hadn’t remembered after all.

Copyright 2007 by Mitzi McMahon


Mitzi McMahonMitzi writes:
This story came about because I wanted to play around with the idea of reincarnation. Specifically, that we, as souls, devise plans before we incarnate regarding our time on the Earth plane—lessons to be learned, experiences to be had, choosing our family members and friends. It's a fascinating concept, with all kinds of possibilities. I've read that a child's connection to the Spirit world is severed by age seven due, in large part, to adults telling him what he sees/talks about isn't real. It seemed fitting, then, that this had to be told through a very young child's eyes, someone who "remembered" the plan.

Mitzi McMahon lives a mile from Lake Michigan in Racine, Wisconsin, a city famous for its Danish kringle. Her work has appeared in such places as edifice WRECKED, The Citizen, Gator Springs Gazette, Salome Magazine, The Rockford Review, NO÷ Journal, The Houston Literary Review, JMWW, and Right Hand Pointing, and is forthcoming in The Binnacle. Mitzi can be contacted via email at:

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