Long Distance

Edited by Julia Rios

June 2019

Listen to this story, narrated by C. S. E. Cooney:

Sometimes my mother calls me just to say hi: she says that a song she heard on the minibus made her think of me, or a photo in a magazine (she insists that I look like a certain fashionable actor), she talks to me for a few minutes about what she’s been doing, how the family is, and then she says goodbye.

In these cases, I’m glad she tried to reach me; enough that I don’t even mention that her calls always wake me up, and it takes me a long time to get back to sleep. It makes me really happy to know that she loves me despite everything.

But there are other times when she calls to complain: about my absence, about her loneliness, about how cold I’ve become with her, about how my visits are more and more sporadic, never mind the reasons (even though she knows very well that it’s not so simple for me to make the trip). She cries, she screams that I don’t put any effort in on my part. Such a reproach! And she accuses me of becoming more selfish and indifferent since a certain date.

She gets sanctimonious and says that an accident — she says it that way, with contempt, instead of THE accident — is no justification for my having gotten so distant.

In these cases, to be honest, I get angry. It’s really unfair of her to put me in that position, so I don’t respond. And of course she rails and tells me to go to hell. After a while she calms down and calls me again, she asks my forgiveness, she says that she misses me, that she understands, that it hurts that I’ve gone away; but I, with all due respect, move the glass stubbornly over the table again and again towards the word, “Goodbye.”

© 2019 Raquel Castro

About the author

Raquel Castro

Raquel Castro (Mexico City, 1976) is a writer, scriptwriter, professor and cultural promoter. In 2012 she won the Gran Angular Prize for YA Novel, and as part of the production team for the Mexican TV series Diálogos en confianza she has won the National Journalism Prize twice. She is the author of the novels Ojos llenos de sombra, Lejos de casa, Exiliados, Dark Doll, and Un beso en tu futuro, as well as the co-anthologist of Festín de muertos, a Mexican zombie fiction collection, featuring many of the greatest weird fiction authors from her country. She has a column about children and young adult fiction in LeeMás magazine. Her work has appeared in English in Latin American Literature Today, World Literature Today, Nagari, Palabras Errantes and other publications. She can be found online at her YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/AlbertoyRaquelMX and on Twitter as @raxxie_.

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