Mother

An excerpt from Greg Gerke’s Especially the Bad Things

This story is excerpted from
Greg Gerke’s Especially the Bad Things,
available now from Splice.

I called my mother to tell her I wasn’t feeling so good about my life and she told me to join the club, but this didn’t sound right to me because I was already in the club, and I asked if she wanted to join my club. No, she wasn’t interested because she was already in the club, and I asked how she knew she was already in it, and she said she wasn’t going to talk to me about that stuff, and I said I didn’t appreciate that, and she said, Tough.

Then I didn’t know what to say. She asked if I was all right, and I said, No, I’m not all right, I told you before. I’m not feeling so good about my life. Your life? she asked. Yes, I said, and she said, What does that mean? I said, I didn’t know what my life meant and maybe that was the problem. But that’s not a problem, she said, nobody knows what their life means. Yes, everyone has the same problem. Exactly, she said, if everyone has the same problem, it’s not really a problem. You’re wrong, I said. Your mother is not wrong. This time you are, I said. There is no this time, she said. You don’t believe in the present moment? I said. I don’t believe in anything that makes me unhappy. I wish I had your powers, I said. They aren’t powers, she said. And you should be able to access this way of thinking because I created you.

I don’t want to access that way of thinking, I said. I believe in the power of unhappiness.

I believe you aren’t my son, she said.

About Greg Gerke

Greg Gerke is an essayist and writer of short fiction, based in New York. His work has appeared in 3AM Magazine, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Tin House, The Kenyon Review, and elsewhere. His collection of stories, Especially the Bad Things, and a collection of essays, See What I See, are both available from Splice.