Patricia Patterson

Contest - Flash Fiction

Patricia Patterson is a Mexican-American writer and editor based in Central North Carolina. Her fiction is featured or forthcoming in PANK, Porter House Review, EcoTheo Review, and elsewhere. When Patricia is not writing or crafting, she enjoys hanging out with some of her most loyal companions: the birds.


The Daughters

After our breakups, we dance around our kitchens, boil pasta on our stovetops, spill dry parts on our linoleum floors, forget our passwords, curse our pasts, pour glass after glass of wine, so much wine we dance on tabletops, on toilet seats, on the hoods of strangers’ cars, where we reach for stars, slip on toilet seats, set off car alarms, spill red wine on our white shirts, scream at the top of our lungs, pour salt over our stains the way our abuelas taught us, throw our stained shirts in the wash, dance in our bras until the dryers stop spinning, spin records on our turntables, sing amor prohibido, sing we don’t need romance, we only wanna dance until Shania Twain says I need you, baby and it makes us cry, mascara running down our necks, and we call our exes, tell them we miss them, to fuck off, to never call us again, then we hang up on their sorry asses, call our tías who command us to quit our crying, wash our faces, try yoga, find a way out of our darkness, so we try yoga, forget our sadness for a while, repeat you are exactly where you need to be right now, make flan that’s good but nothing like our abuelas’, go for runs, go for bike rides, spin the pedals too fast, lose control, scrape our knees on concrete, call our madres, cry over voicemail, douse our knee caps in peroxide, dab our wounds with washcloths the way our madres used to, wring out our washcloths, wash the blood down our drains, tell our mamás we love them, more than anyone on this planet, say we’re sorry we ever cursed the color of our skin, we need you, we love you, Mamá.

Growing up, my family spent so much of our lives in the kitchen. This is where we shared stories, where we laughed, sang, grieved, ate away our feelings, and sometimes just sat—not eating—in silence together. I truly believe the kitchen is the heart of a home and, coincidentally, in my fiction I often find my characters in kitchens. Perhaps this is why ‘The Daughters’ begins in the kitchen and ends on a thought of Mamá, who in many ways is also the heart of a home.