The day the dragon came to live with Paula was the best day of her life.
The quarantine had kept her apart from her adored children, but they had each come by on Mother’s Day to place presents, like tribute, on her porch and to give her good wishes through colorful masks and at un-clutchable distances.
None of them felt safe out in the world these days, so none of them had argued with anything she had said. No matter what suggestions she had made for their improving their lives, relationships, or situations, they had just said, “Yes, Mom. Yes, Mom. All right, Mom.”
It was a dream come true!
After they left, she gloated over the treasures they had left her, a steaming cup of tea on the table before her.
She reached for the cup, but drew back her hand. The cup was trembling, glowing with heat, the steam thickening and curling as it rose.
In a blink, the cup was empty, and the steam turned to a matte-black dragon, filling the room, but, at the same time, occupying no space.
The dragon smiled, and not kindly.
After that, her life was not her own.
The dragon taught her to garden, and told her what to plant. It taught her to dye cloth, and told her what colors to use. It taught her to quilt, and told her what materials, patterns, and stitches to employ. It even told her how she must paint her nails, previously the one creative outlet she had permitted herself.
Weeks became months, and her children called her less, answered her calls less often. They called when they chose to, visited when they chose, stood out of reach, agreed with whatever she said and made their own decisions.
And she — she — did nothing without permission of the dragon. She lived by its mercy, and would die by its whim. That was clear.
Yes. Yes, that last day — that Mother’s Day, up until the dragon came out of the tea cup — that had been the best day of her life.
I actually had a great Mother’s Day, although the kids and Charlie and I did wear masks and did stand outside at least six feet apart and didn’t visit long.
This story and my nail art are based on one of the presents: #2 Daughter is a quilter, and made me a wall hanging of a dragon.
The pattern of the quilting stitches is flames! I love this so hard!
Naturally, I immediately got to work on my nails. I couldn’t duplicate that beauty, of course, but I paid tribute to it as well as I could.
A WRITING PROMPT FROM ME TO YOU: Write about a happy consequence (for somebody) of the shelter-in-place order.