Forty Smokes a Day


By Eva Rivers

Mama was always having an existential crisis.
‘What is the purpose of my life?’ she’d say.
Papa said maybe it was to cook and keep house. A clean shirt now and again. But mama never saw it like that. She tried to adjust but mostly she just spent her days tearful or asleep. The last time we spoke she was lying in a hospital bed.
‘Baby, why did God put me on this earth?’
Not for forty smokes a day and all the Jack Daniels you can swallow, I wanted to chide. But I didn’t. I just held her hand as she cried.

Eva Rivers’ fiction has appeared in Fictive Dream, Sick Lit Magazine, Penny Shorts, The Drabble, 101 Words, Firefly Magazine, Storgy and Scribble Magazine.


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