He sat up in bed. Something smelled familiar. Someone sat beside the bed. Frank turned.
The plump face of his mother smiled back at him. She looked younger than he remembered.
“No,” she said.
“No? No what?”
“No, I’m not your mother.”
“Who are you then?”
The woman who wasn’t is mother gave him a motherly smile.
“It’s not important.”
Frank frowned. “It feels pretty important.”
“What is important is that you are comfortable. Are you comfortable?” Frank’s not mother had his mother’s voice. Frank looked around the room. His parents room.
“Well, to be honest, no. I am rather disturbed.”
Frank’s not-mother looked at him, concerned. “But, this is the place where you felt most comfortable and safe in your life. And this face is the one you trust most.”
Frank stared at her. He couldn’t think of anything to say. There was a pause.
Frank’s not-mother bit the inside of her lip. She looked distraught. “Are you comfortable now?”
Frank closed his eyes. He tried not to listen or feel or smell. He’d recognized the smell now. His mother’s perfume.
“Why do you want me to be comfortable?” He said, without opening his eyes.
“I need you to be comfortable.”
Frank opened an eye at her. “Fine, I’m comfortable.”
Franks not-mother smiled his mother’s smile.
“Good. We have found that being at your most comfortable makes it easier to hear this.”
Frank raised an eyebrow. “Hear what?”
“Yes, well, I killed myself. So, that tends to be the result.”
Frank’s mother smiled. “Glad to see you’re taking this so well.”
“Not sure If I would have if I knew this was coming next.”
Frank’s not-mother frowned. “But, you said you were comfortable?”
Frank’s not-mother looked like she might cry. “What did I do wrong?” she said, softly.
Frank couldn’t help smiling, ironically. “Wearing my dead mother’s face might have been the wrong move.”
Frank’s not-mother nodded, she placed two hands over her face.
“Better?” she asked, muffled by the fingers.
Frank frowned. “Who the hell are you? And don’t do that, it’s weird.”
The woman dropped her hands.
“They put us in charge of making sure you’re comfortable.”
Frank snorted. “Bang-up job.”
Frank’s not-mother frowned.
“Would you like some breakfast?” she asked.
Frank sighed. “Can I leave?”
“I’m afraid not.”
Frank got up out of bed. He went to the door and opened it. It opened onto his family’s old dining room. He made for the back door. Locked. He picked up one of the dining room chairs and threw it at the door. It clattered to the floor. He walked into the kitchen. Pictures of him hung on the walls. He made for the front door. Locked. He turned around. His not-mother stood at the stove frowning.
“I’m sorry, it’s the best we could do.” She began to cry.
Frank sighed and went to the kitchen table. He sat down.
“So, this is it?”
Frank’s not-mother nodded. Frank took a deep breath.
“What have you got for breakfast then?”
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