Cleanse

It had been mother’s choice.  Darla liked the colour but wasn’t too keen on the fragrance.  It infused her hands with artificial sweetness.  Now, every time she touched herself, she had the constant reminder that no matter how hard she tried, she’d never be clean.

Mother agreed.

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31 comments
  1. crubin said:

    I really like this entry. It has wonderful depth and nuance. But I am embarrassed to say one thought kept going through my mind: this is obviously a woman’s bar of soap, because there are no lingering body hairs. I’m sorry–I hate to bring such a lovely post down to my level, but, well, I have all males in my home 🙂

    • Janet said:

      Sounds like that could be the beginnings of a new story.

    • Janet said:

      I forgot to say that I had to get a new bar of soap for the photo. I wouldn’t want the “real’ one on film.

  2. Wow. Sounds like this could be a really great story if you choose to expand, but powerful enough on its own.

  3. I really like this. It does, like the previous poster said, have a lot of nuance and even implies a lot between mother and daughter, and also the daughter herself. Cool!

    • Janet said:

      Thank you, that was the general feeling I was going for. What is going on in their relationship???

      • I know! It says so much, and even the loaded term “touched herself” is almost unsettling (you know what I mean, I mean, I feel the sexual connotations here). So there’s this artificial sweetness, and is it *that* that makes her not feel clean? An artificiality? Does that mean artificiality of morals or bodily sense? And her mother chose it–but obviously the last line points out the the mother agrees, so the mother and daughter are on speaking terms or at least at an understanding. Great. See: the nuance. I wrote more words critiquing it than you did writing it maybe. 😉

        Or, another: perhaps it was the mother’s intention to do exactly what the soap did. Mother “agreed” because that was the whole point of her choice of soap, to do what it did to her daughter when she “touched herself.” “No matter how hard she tried”–interesting. It’s not really about soap, obviously. I feel on this interpretation the mother seems overbearing and choosing for her daughter how she should feel, so naturally the mother should agree, even if the mother and daughter are talking or not. Her agreement might be with herself and her morals, not with her daughter herself. The first and last lines and both the mother’s; the middle lines are the daughter’s. Likewise, it kind of implies that the mother is controlling her daughter,
        just in the structure of the piece. Does that make sense? I like it. Like thinking about it.

        Cool. Good job on this one. ++++A

        • Janet said:

          Your comments and reading of this piece have just made my entire day. Seriously. Thank you!

          • Happy to. But you deserve all the credit. You wrote it! It’s just good, that’s all.

    • Janet said:

      Hi Linda, thanks so much for stopping by.

  4. I’d like to read more, will you continue?

    • Janet said:

      I don’t think with this one. Although I do find this theme frequently occurs in my writing so it will likely reappear in a different form in the future.

  5. Jessica said:

    Mommy Dearest!!

  6. I really like this. Such tension between the mother and daughter. So much judgement coming from the mom or at least perceived by the daughter. I like how it all revolves around the soap. Such a simple thing has so much subtext to it.

    • Janet said:

      Thanks, I was trying to show a complex and not all that healthy relationship where the mom was very judgemental.

  7. And something to do with masturbation? or is that just me? It’s a tricky art, of the two sentence story.

    • Janet said:

      You’re the first one to mention that. That was one of the layers of the story. Masturbation (what the mother thought of as “dirty” in relation to the soap (and purity)).

  8. All of the above! Very strong tension. Leaves me tight…thanks, I think %)

    • Janet said:

      Thanks for coming by John. This story has lead to other ideas and I might write something along these lines for the Anthology.

  9. Yikes! That sounds like a very harsh relationship. I am slow and didn’t get the masturbation part on first read, but now that I do, it’s plain as day. Another successful story in less than 50 words. Amazing!

  10. Janet said:

    Thanks Jeannette. Glad you liked it.

    • Janet said:

      Hi Christy, thank you.

  11. Sandra said:

    Excellent! Such strong undertones.

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