The idea came from a prompt posted on our FB page.
She grimaced upon seeing the finished clay figure of her younger brother. A mishmash of creatures (particularly an amalgam of crab, unicorn, and bird) stood on the little boy’s palm, proudly displaying the uneven wings, twisted pincers, and bent carapace. He smiled with an incomplete set of teeth, but he didn’t care — he was proud of his opus.
She looked at her chubby hands which cupped the clay face of her late mother. She gave a dreadful sigh and crushed the thing. She picked up another soft slab of Play-Doh and started molding a new face.
She felt warm air blowing on her left ear and noticed that her little brother was looking over her shoulder. His eyes were wide open, but his mouth opened wider. She thought she saw a droplet of saliva on the side of his lips.
“Go away,” she said. “Go back to your stupid crabbie shit.”
“But it’s finished,” he said.
“I don’t care. Leave me alone!”
This was her fifth attempt. The face remained disfigured. Her mother’s eyes were still uneven. Her cheekbones were a total wreck. Her smile was not much of a smile — but something more like half-grin.
She looked at her younger brother’s crab-unicorn-bird thing. She picked it up and threw it at the wall. She expected it to shatter, but was only disappointed to hear a blunt thud.
She continued to gnash her as she tried to reconstruct the memory of her mother’s face for the hundredth time. Her fingers had dug deep, and were now smudged with varying clay colors of yellow, blue, and green. With her nails she tried to sculpt the nose into perfection, but the triangle bent to the left. The bangs, which needed to be wavy and smooth, looked more like patches of inflammations stuck on her forehead. Even her mother’s mouth had twisted into a full frown, as if agreeing with the girl’s frustration.
She slammed the ugly slab on the plastic table.
She looked back. Her little brother had returned. This time he was carrying a glass of pineapple juice and a plate of pancakes. Was he standing there for minutes?
“For you,” he said with a faint voice.
She looked at his fingernails. They were stained with clumps of pancake mix and juice powder.