The Reason

O.G. Rose
5 min readMay 7, 2024

A Short Story by O.G. Rose

Photo by Anders Jildén

A dark-skinned mother carried her son through a field of pen-like hay. Her white dress billowed in the breeze along with her long black hair; her son feared the snakes. She looked at him with a smile and held out her hand with a folded middle and ring finger toward him. The other three fingers stood out.

Are you thirsty? She signed. Like joining rivers, she taught Aaron that the sign meant two things, but left him to figure out the reason why. Puzzled, the young boy folded his middle and ring finger near and toward his brow.

Why? The young boy signed. Aaron’s mother held him closer.

The boy was soon coming home to homework. One night, longer than the rest, his mother snuck up behind him and nudged a chocolate milkshake across his desk. Aaron glanced up from his book, and excitedly jolted his open hand away from his mouth. His mother drove miles to retrieve the treat; it was already late. At three A.M., she needed to be at the twenty-four-hour diner where the tips were small and the pay lower. The boss was willing to hire a Deaf girl, but only because she could read lips.

Aaron took a sip. Delicious. His mother held out her hand with a folded middle and ring finger toward him. The other three fingers stood out. Are you thirsty?

Aaron folded his middle and ring finger near and toward his brow. He pointed to the perfect score on his test. His mother shook her head and kissed him on the cheek.

Aaron’s dark-skinned mother waited in her white dress at the end of the Lawn after Aaron accepted his college diploma. Aaron took pictures with friends, then ran to his mother and gave her a big hug. He couldn’t believe everything she had done for him.

Dad got Mom pregnant after getting her drunk. Because he didn’t want his parents to know, Dad married her.

Her parents weren’t at the wedding.

Dad left when his son turned out to be Deaf. She named the boy Aaron because Moses spoke through him. Since then, Aaron’s mother wore old clothes so that she could buy her son new ones. She clipped out coupons so that her son could attend college.

Aaron studied his mother, now an honored graduate at one of the finest universities in the country; he folded his middle and ring finger near and toward his brow. He was asking why she went to get the milkshake, why, when he was afraid of the snakes, she carried him through the field. She looked at him with a smile and held out her hand with a folded middle and ring finger toward him. The other three fingers stood out.

Aaron stood at the airport with his mother, holding a briefcase, full of potential. A progressive business across the country hired him. Aaron knew how much it hurt her to see him go as she smiled and held out her hand with a folded middle and ring finger toward him. The other three fingers stood out. What once puzzled Aaron now aggravated him. The airport attendant signaled that Aaron needed to hurry. He shook his head and walked through the gate, then looked back at his mother. She waved the sign.

Aaron excelled in California. He sent his mother money and made sure that work was optional. It took him years to climb the corporate ladder, but Aaron kept his gaze ahead. Surgery restored his hearing, and Aaron offered his mother the same procedure. She declined. Aaron learned how to speak, and soon, the translator stopped accompanying him for business deals. His renown spread; he became a symbol for vision and diversity.

Thinking about his mother, Aaron snatched up a phone, began to dial, and stopped, staring at the receiver. She didn’t have a number. He put down the phone and noticed a blank piece of paper on his desk.

Aaron sent a letter; he received one back. He wrote to her; she always wrote back. Each letter contained the same three words.

Over the years, the mail accumulated; it became harder for Aaron to find letters from his mother amidst advertisements for dial-up internet. He passed off an unopened letter to his secretary and walked away. He didn’t know what from.

One day, a little longer than the rest, Aaron’s secretary nudged something across his desk. Aaron glanced up from his work; his mother’s handwriting was faint. He was on the next flight out.

Aaron ran out of gas a few miles passed the diner. Aaron left the car behind and took a shortcut through the field. A nurse opened the front door.

Aaron’s mother was nodding off when he slipped around the corner. The sheets were pulled up to her chest; she was propped up to see out the window. When he walked in, she faced him.

Why? Aaron signed. She turned onto her side and reached for a notepad. She grabbed a pen; it slipped through her fingers. Aaron reached over and held the pen to his mother’s hand; he helped her form the words.

Are you thirsty?

Her eyes closed; a smile formed on her lips.

“I’ve asked hundreds of times why you care.” Aaron hissed. “Signs, letters — you won’t die before I get an answer!”

Her smile broadened as she nudged a chocolate milkshake across the table to her surprised son. In the airport, walking through the gate, Aaron looked back at her. She waved the sign, holding out her hand with a folded middle and ring finger toward him.

“I came here for a reason.” Aaron’s eyes wettened as he stiffened up like a reptile and squamata about to strike. “Talk!”

They were walking through the field again, passing the stalks of pen-like hay. Her other three fingers stood out.

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For more, please visit O.G. Rose.com. Also, please subscribe to our YouTube channel and follow us on Instagram and Facebook.

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O.G. Rose

Iowa. Broken Pencil. Allegory. Write Launch. Ponder. Pidgeonholes. W&M. Poydras. Toho. ellipsis. O:JA&L. West Trade. UNO. Pushcart. https://linktr.ee/ogrose