In our house we have two unspoken rules, no talking at the dinner table and no shoes in the house.

As we sat down for breakfast, before now, I hadn't ever considered challenging the status quo. My father always impressed upon me the need for rules and order.

"Dad?" My voice broke through the quiet that filled the kitchen, save for the clinking of cutlery.

My mother eyed me curiously, while my father re-gripped his newspaper, snapping it upright as he passively policed his 'silent-eating' rule.

"Susie?" my mother replied, but I refused to look at her. She was the one who forced me to break the rules.

"Dad." I repeated, gritting my teeth against the anger I felt towards my mother, "Do you know a guy named Richard Harrison?" I felt the tension in the room thicken as my question grabbed everyone's attention.

My father carefully folded his newspaper and deliberately placed it beside his half eaten breakfast. Rising from his seat, he faced my mother, refusing to acknowledge me. "I can't do this any more Helen. We can't..." his once composed voice began to crack, in sharp contrast to his rigid stance.

"Andrew" My mother reached out to him, but my Dad walked out of the kitchen, leaving my mother alone with me.

Turning to face me, my eyes unexpectedly began to tear, as I saw the heartbreak in my mother's face.

"You found your fathers letter am I right?" Her voice was surprisingly controlled, even as tears tracked down her face.

"No," my voice small and unsure, as I shook my head, "the letter's from a guy called Richard." I pulled out the letter in question, from my back pocket. I'd been carrying it around with me ever since I found it hidden behind the book shelf of my mothers office. "It's a love letter sent to you." Holding it once again, all the anger and confusion I'd felt when I had first found it, came rushing back.

"Are you cheating on Dad? Does he know?" My pent-up questioned streamed out, "And what is with the date on the letter, the 23rd of November 2017? That's five years in the future! I don't understand".

My mother rose from her seat and for a second I thought she was going to abandon the room, abandon me, too. Instead, she opened the cupboard under the sink and rummaged around, before pulling out a small bottle of whisky.

Turning to face me, she smiled at my open surprise. I never knew my mom drank. Grabbing two glasses from the cabinet, she poured out two shots and handed one to me.

Unsure I gripped the glass, but didn't drink, as I watched her knock back her whisky. "Umm Mom?" All my anger towards her had now bled away. She seemed a broken woman, "I'm only 15. I'm too young to drink".

She laughed richly before pouring herself another shot. "You say that every time I offer you a shot of whisky."

I sat back stunned, "Mom, I've never even seen you drink before... "

She raised her hand and I immediately fell silent. "Richard is, was, your father sweetheart. Andrew is your step father" My mother captured my hand, grasping it firmly, from across the table. "The year is 2019. Your father died 2 years ago. You're 22, not 15 years old Susie."

I snatched my hand back from hers, my chair scraping across the floor as I hastily stood in a stupor.

My mother didn't move. She just looked exhausted. "You have Selective Memory Loss. You've suffered from it for years."


Writers Digest Story Prompt : You are 15 years old and, while still living with your parents, you discover a secret room in your house. It is filled with all sorts of strange things, but one thing in particular catches your eye: It's a love letter to your mom from someone who isn't your dad. What's more peculiar is that it is dated five years into the future. Write a scene where you confront your mom about the letter.