Selina knows her tragic flaw. Aristotle’s the Poetics forces her to introspect. If characters in delicate and complex novels have a tragic flaw, what separates her from the likes of Hamlet with his ambition or Oedipus with his pride? Her flaw was never one of evil or ill-intent. Selina is kind to all who cross her. That’s it.
Meeting her coworkers after work is always the highlight of her long, dragging days. A diverse bunch, always down for a shot of Tequila. Selina takes her kindness to damaging heights, making her naïve. She is well-versed in the world; having a mother like Georgianna, you had to be.
Her coworkers fail to show after work at the usual bar, but she needs a drink. Sitting at the bar with a half empty glass filled with an amber poison, Selina isn’t thinking clearly. After calling an Uber, Selina dreads going to her empty, bohemian flat. The elevator ride is the worst part, second is the way her key decides when it will work. She fumbles with her key in her drunken stupor to unlock her door.
“Success!” she screams, slurring the ingenuous word.
Pouring herself into her 500-square foot apartment, she throws herself onto her silk sheets. Savannah, Georgia has treated her well, with its hometown vibes.
“Drunk, again? Guess the fucking apple doesn’t fall far from the tree,” a woman says from across the room, raspy and hoarse.
Darkness conceals the voice, but Selina isn’t dumb. “You can’t smoke in here, I’m sorry,” Selina says with an indifferent sigh, eyes locked on her low-hanging ceiling.
“You’re not my mom,” the silhouette shrieks.
“Obviously. Why are you here? It’s been a while, no calls, texts, not even a letter. How have you been?”
“Tired, always,” the shape says. It steps forward, revealing a middle-aged woman, smoking a Marlboro Red special blend.
“Mom, I love you, but I’m wasted. Can we do this tomorrow? If you need a place to stay, please stay here. I can take the couch,” Selina tells Georgianna.
“Fine, we can talk about this tomorrow. Thanks for the place, babe.”
The two switch places and Selina is relieved she splurged for the more expensive couch. She has been taking care of Georgianna since she bought her flat. Serves her right, staying so close to the drug-riddled lady.
Morning rapes their eyes, jarring Selina awake. She is not shocked to see her mother on the bed, spread eagle, naked. She fixes breakfast for two and gently wakes her mother, thanking God it isn’t a weekday.
After eating their breakfast together quietly, Georgianna breaks the silence. “I need your help, baby girl.”
“With?” Selina replies, head lowered with half-moon eyes.
“I’m in trouble, bad. I need your help. I know I fucked up, but I need your help.”
“Mom, whatever you need, just tell me.”
“I need to get away from here.”
Selina knows what her mother means, a repeated trip across town, more vacation days wasted, just to escape whoever is looking for her. “Okay, where do you need to go?”
“This isn’t like last time. I fucked up bad,” Georgianna has an unfamiliar shame twinkling in her dilated pupils.
“How bad, Mom.”
“I need to be far away, for a long time.”
“I can get you as far away as Pittsburg,” Selina compromises. “I can’t take off more than a week.”
“Done. Thanks, babe. When can we leave?”
“In a few hours. It’s not that far of a drive.”
They get in the car, Georgianna carrying all she has in one hand. After driving 5 hours, Selina sees flashing blue lights in her rearview. Her dark complexion forces goosebumps to rise to the surface. She pulls over to the caution strip, calming herself with each bump. The car eases to a halt, and her mom dives out of the car.
The police officer drags Selina out of the car, slamming her to the ground.
The large, burly man with shiny shoes screams at dispatch, almost incoherently into his radio, “Backup requested, suspect in custody and one running. Location: Blacksburg, corner of 460 and Orchard Street. Fleeing suspect is wanted for suspected felony: murder and attempted murder.”
Selina feels her heart drop, examining her mistakes.