Readers Gazette Short Stories

Short Story Freedom

Freedom by Haidji Relationship short story

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Emma’s mother used to say:

“God created teenagers, so that parents don’t suffer too much when their kids go their own way, one day.”

This day has come.
This day is today.
And really, it did not look like someone wasn’t suffering. Not her mother.
It did not look like Emma wasn’t suffering, either. There was a mix between happiness and sadness in the air.
For Emma, it was the happiness of having all you dreamed about and, at the same time, the sadness about what you don’t have anymore. It was about what do to with all that, with all you suddenly have, and with the memories about what you had before.
For her mother, it was like how mothers feel when kids go their own way. Some feelings you cannot explain.
Yes, both of them were happy, and sad.

Emma had told her mother since she was 14 that she would live alone when she would turn 18.
Emma did not make it with 18 years; she was almost 19 years old now.
It is not that she did not love her parents, of course she did, it is more, how she described it: “Freedom?” “The long awaited freedom. The freedom you worked hard for, cleaning your bedroom sometimes, making your bed when you are not too late for school, and on rare but real occasions, trying to come back from a party when everyone else is arriving there, trying to not drink too much and keeping the boys away from your parents’ home.”

On the way back from the university Emma, who had her own house key since she was 13, realized she now had HER own house key, for her own house.
Emma, coming back for the first time to her new place, opened the door and said: “Where is my brother?” “Is dinner ready?” “Mom?”

They had made the move on the weekend. Last weekend. Actually, yesterday. Emma brought some of her old furniture to this studio apartment and they bought some new things too. It was a really nice studio.

It took Emma 5 Minutes to realize where she was. Even if this was not the same house, she took 5 Minutes to realize where she was. Her memory was more the type of memory that is attached to situations than a “photographic” one…to ask for her brother and for dinner was something she did every day over the last years.
Emma took 10 Minutes more to decide if she should go out and buy something eatable.

But, lets have a look in the fridge at first. Just because.
The fridge should be empty, because Emma didn’t even know where the next supermarket was. “It shall not be far”, she thought, “they are everywhere”, but now, she felt helpless. “Let’s have a look in the fridge at first. Miracles happen, don’t they?” So close as the next supermarket may be, when you are hungry, it seems to be too far away.

Emma opened the fridge and screamed:
“It is full! Now I know where my mother was, when I was upset putting my bed together alone.”
Emma decided to spend the rest of her day happy, watching TV, eating whatever she wanted.

And then…she got bored and called her new university friends, to invite them to come over.
Emma’s friends were really jealous of her and her new place. But some of them could not understand why Emma was so happy about having her own space; they thought that to be “attached to your family” means to live with your family forever. Never move to another city or country, never miss a Sunday family lunch and, for God’s sake, never forget to say good night to your parents. This would be a Sin. Probably one added to the mortal Sins’ list.

The week passed by quickly. Every day was the same. University, friends, late nights in front of the TV, and eating whatever she wanted, whenever she wanted. Mostly not-approved-by-mothers food, even if her mother was the one who had put it in her fridge. It is like when you are a kid and your mom buys chocolate and cookies, but you cannot eat them all at once.

Almost a week passed by…

It was one of those days when it wasn’t easy to get out of bed.
Days that we all have, when it is raining but not snowing, when the sun almost shines, but really does not appear at all.
Days where the rain falls, but is not a tempest, only light rain, and we cannot decide what to wear because it can turn into a storm or the sun can decide to come out again.

Suddenly Emma realized that there was nothing to wear in her wardrobe.
So, she needed to wear the same clothes she was wearing the day before.
And now there was nothing to eat in the fridge and her house, it was a mess.
Emma was trying to feel happy: “Finally my own world. I can clean whenever I want!” Emma started to clean things and discovered that she felt good organizing her own place.
A friend called Emma about a party. Suddenly, all her happiness was gone.
“I have nothing to wear!
There is nothing in my wardrobe….”

“I certainly can’t call my mom and ask her to come over and make the laundry,” she thought.
“She would think that I am an irresponsible young woman. She already explained to me how the laundry machine works. But…my mind was busy with other more important things like…FREEDOM.
How does it long take to wash and dry a dress?”
Emma googled it, but there were too many entries. This entire living alone thing was getting, suddenly…complicated.

Feeling humiliated, Emma called her mother.

“Hi Mom…”
“Hi Emma, how are you? Is everything ok? Are you ok? Have you been eating?”
“All is fine Mom, I just…I have a question.”
“Ask!” said her mother.
“Do you know this red dress I have? In what program can I wash it?” Emma asked.
“Haven’t you opened the laundry machine yet? I left the soap package on top of it, with instructions for you to read, and also an envelope under the package, Emma!”

“Of course I did, Mom. I read all the instructions. But there was nothing about how to wash red,” answered Emma.


“Mom…the party is in 4 hours. I need to wash and dry my dress!”

“Emma…!!! Go and pick up the envelope!”

“Mom…I already read all the instructions and we are on the phone, it is easier if you just tell me!”

“Emma Luciana Meneghetti!”

Upset, Emma walked to the laundry machine. When her Mom started to call her by her full name, she knew that she was getting upset. It was the first sign.

“Hi Mom, I am back, the envelope is here,” said Emma.

“Open it! I know you had not read it, otherwise you wouldn’t call me. You don’t have much time. Open it and have fun at the party. Tomorrow I can tell you how the machine works, if you don’t understand it. Have fun. Love you. Bye.” And she hung up.

Emma started to speak to herself:
“This is like mothers are…they tell you that they will always be there for you. They say that you can always call and, when you do, you just stand there with an envelope containing written explanations about how to wash and dry a dress in 4 hours!

The envelope was really thick. “There must be around 10 pages of explanations,” murmured Emma to herself, thinking if maybe it wasn’t better to stay at home in front of the TV.
But, she opened the envelope.
There was only one page inside.
And the rest fell over her. Money.
On the single page was just a note:

“You probably have a party to go to, and don’t have anything to wear, so go and buy something new to celebrate your freedom. Tomorrow you can call me, and I tell you how the laundry machine works. xxx, Love, Mom.”

Emma felt the same mixture of happiness and sadness again. But this time, it was more happiness than sadness. She knew that she was very attached to her family. More than most of her friends’ parents, who were still living with their kids, in the same house; her mother really knew her. With all her small faults and big qualities, her mother loved her.

The money for a new dress was like chocolate: too much is unhealthy, but sometimes, a little bit is what makes your soul smile, on a rainy day.

This short story is included in Haidji's book Harables, scroll down to her info to find the book.
To see more of Haidji, click the link to her website or scroll down to the bottom of the page to view her member details Visit Haidji Blogspot

Images used for the story are Silhouette at

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Short Story written by Haidji

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Emmas mother used to say: “God created teenagers, so that parents do not suffer too much when their kids go their own way, one day.” This day has come. This day is today. And really, it did not look like...

Harables: Short Stories 1 by Haidji

Harables (Short Stories 1) brings together eighteen of Haidji’s short stories. Each story is prefaced with a hint of what’s inside, for example: “To be shaped for life is never easy…”. “Life seemed to be just a letter, or a few words, in the metaphor of the Earth’s biography.” “All lines are drawings!”… “For the Earth to survive, for the human race to survive, we need to overcome our own survivor instinct.” Every reader will have their own favourites among...

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