The other woman showed up at our house, braless, on Mother’s day. Her t-shirt looked like a wax-paper envelope with messages to my mother visibly enclosed. We’re younger, perkier, winning, they said. Babies haven’t suckled us. Your husband’s a different story. I was just a girl. Still, I understood.

I tried to slam the door in her face. My furious father let her inside anyway—just as he had the first time, every time, since they’d met at hiking club. My mother served charcuterie while the woman talked about how to shit in the woods. Creamy slices of dill Havarti. Camembert. Crackers on a wooden board. Salami. The woman squatted in the corner. I wondered if she would actually defecate near the philodendron I’d bought Mom as a gift. She was here to mark her territory, after all.

Now I nurse my newborn daughter while my husband frosts a cake meant for me, downstairs. Belly full, my baby fills her diaper, and the smell reminds me of that woman’s body odor, like stinky cheese and pheromones—pungent—even though the memory is stale. Not this Mother’s day. I close my eyes and watch this Mom club the unwelcome guest with the cheese board; there’s splintered wood, and a patch of skin opens like a present.



E.M. Hubscher is a writer and toxicologist from North Carolina. Her work has appeared in Eunoia Review, as well as several scientific journals and a textbook. You can find her online at or @emhubscher on Twitter.