Mother Tongue

"I'm not religious," she says. "You know and let live...whatever you believe is okay with  me."

Her favourite cliche is: "We agree to disagree."

She loves America because it's okay to agree to disagree here.

I tell her it's a crock of shit. I tell her no one wants to agree to disagree. I tell her everyone wants to save you. Everyone wants you to find God. Their God. At their church. With their pastor.

"Eh, bullshit," she says. "You haven't learned anything in the 30 years you've been here."

"All right, mum," I say. "We'll just agree to disagree."

"There you go." And she forces out a snicker. But she doesn't smile. It's just a weird guffaw pushed out through her nostrils, which are flaring.

"But I don't believe you're not religious," I say.

"Eh, religious..."

She looks away. She fiddles around with the tab on her can of vegetable juice.

"Maybe when I take off in an airplane...maybe then...I cross myself with my tongue, inside my mouth. Maybe then...."

Alex M. Pruteanu’s fiction has appeared in: The Legendary, Specter Literary Magazine, Thunderclap Press, and Pank, among others. He is the author of novella Short Lean Cuts. He is currently an editor, on staff at N.C. State University.

Category: Airplanes

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