Semi-finalist #5

Name: Sharon Bayliss

Warren’s mother had taped his old Star Wars comforter over the patio door of their apartment.  He didn’t pause too long to wonder why.  His mother suffered from what his brother called, “severe eccentricity,” and blacking out the windows with old sheets for no obvious reason wasn’t out of character. All in all, she had done better than he had expected in her first year with both of her sons out of the house.  Justin case that didn’t last, Warren always came back home when she asked him too.  But if she had called him because she had forgotten how to use the dishwasher again, he was heading right back to campus to enjoy the day after finals the way it was intended to be enjoyed – drunk and poolside.

She stood in the kitchen holding a box of uncooked spaghetti and didn’t respond to his presence right away.  It looked like she had been holding and squeezing the box for a while and most of the pasta inside was broken.  Something was…off.  Age had come from her overnight.  The wrinkle between her eyes was deeper and a few more strands of gray had found their way into her waist length black hair.  Warren took the box of spaghetti out of her hands.

“I was going to make you lunch,” she said.
“I’m not hungry,” Warren said.
It was true.  The two Red Bulls in Warren’s hung over and now worried stomach were not sitting well. 
“What’s wrong?” he asked.

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