Homeland Security

by Lisa Simone

She’d gone to watch her friend’s volleyball game, and it was already dark when she walked through her front door and found her mother sitting on the bottom steps, mouth in a thin, grim line, eyes unfocused and too bright. The greeting was the next sign, with technically polite words spoken in a syrupy way that turned her stomach like too much fudge. She looked past her mother, up the stairs, calculating the odds of reaching the sanctuary of her room, while forcing her mouth to form an equally polite and insincere response. She went for it; her attempt instantly thwarted by her mother’s quick reflexes and surprising ability to puff herself up to fill the space between the wall and banister. A hailstorm of hate pelted her, the syrupy voice now acidic, and knowing that retreat was her only option, she turned for the door, hearing the words, “I should have drowned you as a baby,” reverberating in her head as she ran into the night. The next day, she surreptitiously counted her mother’s pills, knowing there would be too many left in the bottle, and then retreated to her room to wait for her father to come home and install the newly promised lock on her door that was supposed to give her a sense of security, but could in no way keep her safe.


Lisa Simone is a full-time mom, wife and teacher who neglects laundry and other household duties to make time to write.