Redefining Dominion (Fiction)


July 31, 2014 by Melanie L.

“Your husband passed out at the bar. Can you come pick him up?” the bartender asked.   “Oh, and be sure to tell him he has to move his limo by 8:00 AM or it’ll be towed. He parked it crooked.”

As if she needed additional confirmation, the wife checked the other half of the bed and indeed found it empty. This wasn’t the first call of its kind. The wife told the bartender she’d be there soon before hanging up.

She threw on some clothes while her mind raced with possible solutions to the childcare crisis John’s fall from the wagon created. This was his fifth lapse in the three months since the baby was born.  Before JJ was born, John swore he’d stop, that things would be different.

John’s wife contemplated calling her parents to come babysit while she retrieved John. She checked the clock; it read 1:50 AM. She couldn’t call them at this hour. Besides, they lived impractically far.

John’s brother was still recovering from a recent car accident so she knew she couldn’t ask him to help. Nor did she want to disturb the neighbors. The wife decided she had to round-up the kids and collect John herself.  She’d have to drive everyone back to the house in the limo because if it got towed again, the limo service made it clear John would be fired.  That meant she would have to transfer the car seats into the limo.  But, how?  She resolved to worry about that when she got there.

The wife trudged down the hallway and stood between her children’s bedroom doors strategizing. Which child should be transferred to the car first? John’s haunt, The Attic, was only three miles away. It would be possible to drive to The Attic and back before JJ woke to be nursed so long as Christine, their preschooler, didn’t purposefully wake the baby to “play.” If Christine woke JJ, he would cry, Christine would whine, and the wearied wife might finally have that breakdown. John’s wife decided to transfer Christine first and hoped for the best.

The wife scooped up Christine but some of her limbs escaped and dangled as the wife padded down the steps and headed toward the garage.  She halted at the kitchen. John’s dinner plate, wrapped in plastic and topped with the sticky note that read, “We tried to wait. Heat in the microwave for about one minute,” sat on the table, unclaimed.  She sighed.

It was then that the wife suddenly remembered the four ounces of breast milk thawing in a pot of water on the stove top.  The wife had been pumping and freezing her milk hoping that John would relieve some pressure and feed (and bond) with JJ in the middle of the night.  He never did.  But, when John left for work earlier that morning, he had finally promised to feed the baby when he got home.  Now that the wife was undoubtedly awake, she intended to nurse JJ herself when they all got home. She mourned the breast milk expressed in vain as she first buckled Christine into the car and then went back upstairs to retrieve JJ.

After the beleaguered wife transferred JJ to the car successfully, the wife held her breath as the automatic garage door screeched up. She glanced back and confirmed both kids still slept. She backed the car out into the suburban night and headed toward The Attic while the sound of the crickets alone sung her praises.

As she drove past the lake between her home and the local tavern, she admired the reflection of the stars dancing on the water’s surface. At first glance, each individual speck of light could seem small and insignificant if considered on its own. But, she realized, each star is the center of its own solar system, sustaining many smaller bodies. One only needed to shift perspective to see the value of the individual pinprick of light.

“Mommy?” Christine’s squeaky voice interrupted her mother’s musings.

“Yes, Sweetie?” Alice replied.

“Where are we going?” The child blinked and rubbed her eyes.  Several palpable seconds ticked by while the question orbited the car.

Alice glanced up into her rear view mirror and met Christine’s sleepy gaze. They both smiled.  “To Grammy and Grampy’s house, sweetie. Go back to sleep, it’s a long drive.”


Inspired by WordPress’ Weekly Writing Challenge to use five nouns from a list created by Ray Bradbury as inspiration for a new post and by yeah write’s weekly writing challenge prompt #172: Should I stay or should I go?

For related content, check out my favorite prompt responses from my fellow bloggers:

Boundaries and Edges – The Conversation; Thinking Languages! – Two For Eternity; Janey Does Blogging – The Ray Bradbury Noun List Twist; Silver Leaf Journal – When the Day is Done (I Will Miss); Love Letters to a Ghost – The Red Balloon; The Magzee – Summertime Sadness


19 thoughts on “Redefining Dominion (Fiction)

  1. This is wonderful, beautifully written and heartfelt. I waited in anticipation to see what she would do. Your subtle changing of her name from the limo-drivers bride to the young matron led towards the perfect ending.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This story grabbed me in so many ways that were unrelated to the story (lost breast milk? Hello! That stuff is liquid gold!)

    Beautifully written and poignant. Makes me want to see what happens next.


  3. Blake says:

    I like how you captured the character’s beleaguered quality in all of the paragraphs right up until this point, which I believe is her moment of epiphany and which is also beautifully phrased:
    “Each little speck of light on the undulating water, by itself, was insignificant in creating the picturesque scene. But, each star was indeed the center of its own solar system in dominion over much smaller bodies. One only needed to shift perspective to see the value of the individual pinprick of light.”


  4. DragonSpark says:

    Missed this on my first run through the grid. Glad your comment made me notice I hadn’t seen you there. I would have missed a memorable piece. Congrats!


    • Melanie L. says:

      It’s probably my fault. I posted this about 20 minutes before the grid closed so it had less exposure time than everyone else’s posts. But I’m so glad you doubled back to check out my piece! Thanks so much for your comment!


  5. tnkerr says:

    Great story Mel:
    I had originally thought of this as a “life change” story and I still think it is but it is also a relationship story and a damn good one at that.


  6. Touching and well written!


  7. I love the way this ended up! And the line: “She mourned the breast milk expressed in vain..” made me sigh out loud in empathy for that mother.


  8. […] essay, There is No Nobel Prize for Motherhood; Melanie at My Own Champion with her short story, Redefining Dominion; and Thom at tnkerr with his short story, Should I Stay or Should I […]


  9. […] block, thank you for being my friend. The Seeker’s Dungeon What is it About Starbucks? My Own Champion Redefining Dominion (Fiction) Short…but not always so sweet Fifteen Years OSuzyQuilts, Free-motion Quilting and Meanderings […]


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Behind the Blog

Melanie L.

Melanie L.

Wanna-be writer, amateur oil painter, practicing law and motherhood with varied success.

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