024. Mother Holle

by crfricke

*This post is part of A Grimm Project, a series of short fiction pieces using each of the Brothers Grimms’ Nursery and Household Tales as writing prompts. For more information about the project, click here. For more about the story which inspired this freewrite, click here.*

Mother Holle goes on holiday to a place where there is absolutely no snow. She presses and pulls herself into a two-piece, orange and yellow plaid swimsuit and dons a sun hat with a brim wide enough to say, I know what I’m doing. Regarding herself in the hotel room mirror, contained in a brass frame in need of a polish, she shakes her bottom and watches her hips jiggle. This satisfies Mother Holle. When Mother Holle shakes her behind, Bloody Marys appear next to deck chairs across the land.

Mother Holle takes the elevator to the lobby and shows her key card to the young man guarding the entrance to the pool. In the breakfast buffet, separated from her by a railing — more brass — groups of men and women uniformly divided by gender nurse hangovers with plates of bacon and create-your-own omelets.

A woman in a red two-piece brings Mother Holle a mimosa, still fripping with freshly-poured champagne. Anything else this morning? the woman asks. Mother Holle likes the woman’s clean smile, her feet that show no hint of self-tanner. How often do you work here? she asks the woman. I’m here through Thursday, she answers. She points to a tag pinned to the strap of her bathing suit, leaning askew. I’m Meredith, if you need anything else. Just ask.

Mother Holle adjusts her sunglasses as Meredith walks away, wiping them with a corner of the striped towel draped over the back of the chair. The sun, not yet at its zenith, pours over the roof of the hotel and down into the pool area, and suddenly Meredith is lost, disguised behind rays of gold. Mother Holle squints, and puts her glasses back on.

Cate Fricke
November 2014