Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
Permission Slipped


Photo by Nikko Macaspac. See more of Nikko's work at

She turns the key and lets the crisp smell of newness wash over her body. Bright, natural light warms her skin as she enters the foyer. She stands for a moment, savoring the silence and stillness. A mountain of pillows catch her free fall onto the freshly pressed white couch. She scans the space soaking up the absence. It is a blank slate of square footage.

She opens the double doors and walks out onto the balcony overlooking the hip urban neighborhood. Commuter trains, trendy breweries, and vegetarian eateries frame her view of the skyline. Young professionals and hipsters bustle about on their lunch break.

Indian and Thai delivery menus fan across the table. Two crystal goblets sit next to the bar. She imagines a glass of Pinot. The liquid swirling around in the palm of her hand. She unloads a worn journal from her bag onto a shiny desk overlooking the city. Wine. Words. A window with a view.

A sad glance at her watch before gathering her belongings and making a final stop in the bathroom. The white tiles momentarily blind her. A round window opens like the sun, flooding the space with mid-afternoon light. She runs her fingers over the sparkling countertop. She could get lost in this nothingness.


Manicured lawns fill the space as houses begin to spread apart. Small hybrid vehicles and bumper stickers disappear behind mounds of metal equipped with third row seating and school magnets.

CAUTION! Children at Play.

She turns the key. Dogs bark. Video games buzz. She pushes through the threshold and trips over a stray Nike.

can I have a snack I haven't had one yet can I tell you about my day

She drops the groceries amidst the line of BPA free water bottles on the kitchen island. Broken trampoline netting blocks her view of the tree line.

What's for dinner

Crockpot creations spill from casserole dishes in the fridge as she makes space for the yogurt drinks and organic apples.

Who is taking me to dance class can Bradley come over

The table is piled high with class picture proofs and volunteer forms. One lonely check written to the Homeowner's Association. A partially completed to-do list floats to the floor.

STOP I'm telling

Littered lunch boxes barricade the sink. Crunched up La Croix cans teeter on the verge of an avalanche.

Dad says the toilet is clogged again

She takes a quick glance over her shoulder at the dark brown couch facing the stone wall where the television is mounted. ESPN announcers debate the latest doping scandal.

I need a red binder NOT blue we got the wrong one I was the only one with the wrong color.

The answering machine picks up on the third ring. A voice crackles through the speaker.

MOM can you PUH-LEEEEZ sign my permission slip MOM do you even hear me

She locks the bathroom door. Towels strewn about like debris. She struggles to find herself in the toothpaste speckled reflection.

Jaime Pollard-Smith currently teaches composition at Central Piedmont Community College, and she received her MA from New York University. She lives with her husband and two children in Charlotte, N.C.

More from

Excellent prose from my favorite writer! Can't wait to see more from you!
Fantastic work. It is a piece that will resonate with all the mamas!
I love this. It really captures what it feels like to come home after having any opportunity to step away for a bit.
WOW love this Jaime. You've captured so much here -- the clean lines of emptiness that are so lacking in the chaos of a home with kids, yearning for peace.... Great job. Loved it.
Comments are now closed for this piece.