“Salsa” by Kim Chinquee

pink clouds
Image by Kristin Beeler

My mom, my son, and I went to dinner at a place called Margarita’s. My mom ordered herself a peach one.

I agreed to share until I remembered once waking to see who I’d called the night before, through the history of my cell phone, seeing a new picture, the screen saver. I thought it was my son in the picture. You couldn’t really tell who it was, laying face down in the kitchen. But then I looked in his room and he was sleeping. I looked in the mirror, looked again at the picture. It started to dawn on me, how things progressed, but it was mostly black out.  I still remembered the smell, my hair stuck from the vomit. My son said if I did that again, he’d never see me again, ever. That was just last year. Now, he’d just flown in, his first visit here from college.

We sat there, under the umbrella, eating chips and salsa. My son jumped over the rail, going to smoke in the lot. Two ladies said he must be an athlete.

My mom sipped her drink, and said maybe later we could take a drive to see her brother’s campsite. It would take an hour to get there. I asked her what we’d do. My uncle was completely pleasant. I told my mom I wasn’t sure. I remembered my son and me when he was little. We’d rent these silly movies. We’d drive to find a sunset. We’d color with our noses. We’d make a pie and put it on a doorstep. We’d turn up the tape and dance like hoodlums.

By the time the food came, my mom was on her second happy hour special. I got a seafood salad, skipping all the stuff like sour cream and the big fried shell. My mom got a steak meal, which looked better than mine. I don’t remember what my son got. It started to rain, and then my mom said the campsite was out of the question.

Finally, we all ran to the car, saying the last one there is a raincoat.



Kim Chinquee is the author of the collections Oh Baby and Pretty. She lives in Buffalo, New York.