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Removed and Replaced

We crowd the restaurant table passing small plates. Mom ignores the tapas and drinks her celebration calories. My brother tucks his new wife under his arm. She snuggles in closer. I smile. I'm happy for them.


It just hasn't been a good year for me. An outside firm deemed my job redundant and my husband needed a fresh start.

Without me.

Raising my tonic, I offer a toast to new beginnings. Dad requests a grandbaby to spoil—ASAP. Alana's father adds a ‘here-here'.

Drinks are refilled. Tiny dishes removed and replaced.

Oliver taps a spoon against his glass. Alana has an announcement—not a baby—everyone leans in. That huge promotion, the long shot, well... she got it!

More congratulations. A clinking of glasses. Another round ordered.

Grin droopy with wine, Mom grasps Alana's hand. “I'm so happy. I have a daughter to be proud of!”

She doesn't notice her slip. No one looks at me.

I swallow the remaining tonic.

Story by:

L.L. Madrid

1 May 2017