Published on July 14th, 2016 | by Lisa Lim



My mother was a typist. She worked at a small accountant firm in the city. She didn’t make a lot, and at one point, she was having a hard time making ends meet. So during the day, she worked hard typing away. And at night, she secretly returned to the office to sleep on the floor underneath her desk. No one suspected for a long time.


My father had custody of us, but I saw my mother every weekend. I remember how we would walk all day long until my feet blistered because she had no home to take us to. Sometimes, we would skip into movies and watch three in a row for the price of one matinee. I remember walking miles upon miles to watch Rambo First Blood II.

For our movie dates, she would bring a large bright red bag and stuff Crunchy Cheez Doodles, Sugar Daddies, Mary Janes, and a cold bottle of Coca-Cola she froze the night before. A few times, we were caught red-handed, but we just pretended not to speak English. The next week, we’d do it again, at a new theater. We would always leave happy with orange Cheez Doodle fingers and our teeth coated in chewy caramel.

I used to beg my mother to have a sleep over at her office, but she always sent me home to my father in Queens. I wanted so badly to make a tent underneath her desk and pretend I was camping outdoors just like they did in the movies. I dreamt of making S’mores and telling ghost stories. But she said I couldn’t because I always peed in bed. And she couldn’t afford to clean the rug if I had an accident.


For these years, I remember a sadness that came over my mother. It was expressed through a vacant stare. Knock, knock, anyone home? She may have answered in words, but she was nowhere to be found.


To counter the sadness, my mother would walk miles upon miles. Sometimes she would walk across the city from morning until dusk. Locomotion was the only way she could try to physically move away from her pain. I would often walk beside her, but she had to bribe me with a Hershey’s Kiss for every mile I walked. At the time, I thought it was a sweet deal.


Many times my nose would bleed from eating Hershey’s Kisses. Chocolate causes nosebleeds. At least that’s what the Chinese say. Something about it being a food with too much heat. So, I would walk with a tissue plugging my nose until the blood clotted.


Being in moving vehicles also calmed her nerves. We used to ride the trains just for fun. On the train, I would spread across the car seat, lay my head on my mother’s lap, as if I were in bed. We were as rude as the graffiti, spitters, and kids carrying boom boxers on their shoulders. What can I say? It was the ‘80s.


I would often catch my mother dancing with mirrors. She would stare into the mirror for hours, as if she were trying to find her self. A different self, with a different body, a different face, and different legs. Legs without veins.


She was obsessed with her veins. And she insisted we eat Brewer’s yeast and cod liver oil every day in order to prevent the veins from taking over our bodies. I don’t think it worked.


I would marvel at how life failed to draw lines on her face. I’d ask, “Mommy, why don’t you have any wrinkles?” “Because I don’t think that hard about things,” she’d answer.


This is an excerpt from a longer comic titled “My Egyptian Fortune Cookie,” which was originally published in the Nashville Review. The part I wanted to share at MUTHA is memories of my mother. They are some of my most beautiful, yet haunting memories I have as a child.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

About the Author

Lisa Lim is a comic storyteller born and raised in Queens, New York. Her work has been featured in Guernica, PANK, The Rumpus, PEN America, and Mutha Magazine. Her short illustrated story, “The Hunger” was featured in an anthology edited by Joyce Carol Oates, Cutting Edge: New Stories of Mystery and Crime by Women Writers. Find more of her storytelling here.

79 Responses to MY MOTHER WOULD WALK MILES UPON MILES: A Comic by Lisa Lim

  1. This is really great. I love the story and the drawings. I look forward to reading the entire comic.

  2. Aurea Nelson says:

    WOW!!!! This story left me Breathless. Beautiful, her life’s journeys with you as a child was descriptive and Powerful. The sadness overcame me and I really felt what was happening to her & you. Something I could never imagine any mother with her child could endure. I am interested in reading many more stories you publish. Thank you Lisa <3

  3. Heather McLean says:

    This is so beautiful. I am sharing far and wide. Thank you Lisa Lim.

  4. This is soo beautiful ❤❤ I am really eager to read the next parts. The drawings were amazing

  5. Juliana says:

    This was beautiful.

  6. Dee says:

    That was so beautiful and poignant. Thank you.

  7. Gail says:

    This is a beautiful story that makes you ponder over beautiful moments with our mothers. Thanks Lisa

  8. Meek says:

    This got me thinking about how powerful a mothers love is.When a child has her mothers love then she has everything.

  9. Tracy says:

    I love this, I can totally relate and the drawings really bring it to life 🙂

  10. VSD1786 says:

    The graphics are great. Enjoyed the story as well.

  11. Stunning! So beautiful. I love the simplistic nature of the writing and the images.

  12. Tahmina says:

    This story touched me so much. I smiled , i cried too…

  13. mimi says:

    Nostalgic shades of monochrome . Loved every ooze of it !!

  14. Fisayo says:

    These is one of the most beautiful things I have ever read, and it makes me even more grateful for having a mother’s because once again, I’m reminded that these women we call mom, would walk the universe for us.

  15. Gracie says:

    Wow wow wow. Your words and illustrations flow so seamlessly together to create this childlike yet thoughtful piece, and I just adore it beyond words.

  16. Teodora says:

    This story is beautiful! !!!!!”

  17. Wow, you’re story made me teary. Really engaging and I love how you transmitted your mempties in a way that makes the reader uncomfortable but in eager to read til the end. I LOVE it. Also, mother”s will bear anything and will sacrifice it all for their children. Keep it coming! (:

  18. Nashrah says:

    Beautifully written!

  19. Carole says:

    I love your illustrations…you portray childhood so well. All the questions and observations we make about our parents. My daughter was once asked what is the thing that you would remember about your mum if she went away on holiday without you. Tabetha without hesitation said ‘she smells nice and wears lovely shoes’. I guess that was good enough for me…not she is kind and fun.,,.but kids have different perceptions don’t they.

  20. Lisa Lim says:

    Am really touched by all the responses and inspired to create more comics. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and personal stories about your mother, being a mother, and your children. Big hugs to all the mommas, daughters, and readers in the house!

  21. Juan Te Dailey says:

    LOVE this comment, “Because I don’t think that hard about things,” she’d answer.” I heard a lesson in that!

  22. Hari says:

    I really loved it..

  23. Peace says:

    Beautiful story…

  24. Hari Das says:

    a mother left leaving a child alone with some ponder of memories. The child took her mothers voyage and transformed her into a melody of art and words as love for the coming time for her immature !! wonderful

  25. rosie says:

    This is beautiful and haunting. Wow.

  26. christa chn says:

    How beatiful it is to transcribe all of your memories into comics drawings so as to share with the world the strugle and enormous love of your mother, an amazing tribute to the one that gave you life. Thank you.

  27. So sad and poignant but so uplifting as well. Thank you.

  28. Lois says:

    One of the most touching stories I’ve read. A deep feeling on mental illness and notice how society chooses to look away. Great work ,your illustrations are fantastic.

  29. morinsola says:

    I am awestruck by this and I am really looking forward to reading more of this comic, This extract really made me emotional. Amazing!

  30. Prayank says:

    Wow, thanks for the story, loved it, i guess thats what the story depicts, searching and dedicating for loved one’s

  31. aditi says:

    This is great …..just great .This reminds me of my best friend’s mother too. I am definitely going to read the whole comic . <3

  32. Nirupa says:

    This is a really nice story

  33. Nida says:

    This is a beautiful work of art!

  34. Kathy says:

    This is great…. I love your illustrations, especially the Hershey Kiss for every mile piece!

  35. norman says:

    I really loved your story

  36. Joeli says:

    There’s just something so very sweet about this. Thank you for sharing!

  37. Naksha says:

    Truest form of a Mother. Beautifully written and illustrated. You are very talented. Well done and all the best.

  38. Maria I. says:

    I love this. And I could see my own mother in the “sadness that came over [her]” and what was expressed through a vacant stare. Knock, knock, anyone home? She may have answered in words, but she was nowhere to be found.” this.
    I also just read (and watched) the whole story. It’s…something. Sending love. Amazed.

  39. Amie sparks says:

    I was captivated, wanted more, guess I’ve got a new space to check!

  40. Daniel W. says:

    Beautiful story and love the artwork alongside it!!

  41. This is a really amazing story. Just the wording of it made it feel so intimate an emotional. Keep up the amazing work 🙂

  42. Diane says:

    A portrait of love – her spending time with you no matter the cost (walking miles and miles). Just beautiful.

  43. 2020visionsblog says:

    This story both very sad but beautiful at the same time. The love that a mother has for her children is priceless.

  44. Nghi Dang says:

    Thanks you for sharing. As everyone already said, it was a beautifully sad story. It makes me think of my own memories 🙂

  45. Ieva says:

    The story is magically honest and the drawings are absolutely breathtaking

  46. Mimijo says:

    Wonderful story.. miss my mom… thankyou

  47. Soumya says:

    Such a touching story!

  48. Susanne says:

    Interesting. She worked all day and could not make enough for a living. Poor mother.
    I liked the drawings!

  49. Carol says:

    Beautiful Story! Love your drawings.

  50. sneha says:

    The story is so touching! And the drawings are so well done! Would like to read more…..!

  51. Favour says:

    nice work love the pictures

  52. Zaira Zafar says:

    This is beautiful. Your mother and her love must have been even more beautiful for struggling like that to keep you happy, to make sure she has you. A mother’s love is so strong and admirable.

  53. Christina says:

    I didn’t want this to end. It is simply amazing. The artwork is breath taking and so honest.

  54. lissa bliss says:

    beautiful in every way

  55. frances says:

    I love how you write your story. I am wondering what became of your mother? Is she doing well? I cannot help being concerned about her.

    • Lisa Lim says:

      My mother is well. Thank you so much for asking. She’s an amazing force of nature who braved through some tough life obstacles. I am certainly stronger because of her.

  56. Surbhi says:

    Some bitter sweet feeling that this piece left is hard to overcome .

  57. I love the line about Hershey kisses being a sweet deal. Your story about depressions is quite relatable and sad to hear. Organizations such as the Detroit area Making it to the Finish Line is dedicated to helping young people deal with issues like the one you described. We do whatever we can to help kids in need. We have a blog that details how we help people at

    P.S. love the pictures

  58. I loved the story and the artwork that went along with it. Thank you for sharing!

  59. Whitney says:

    Thank you for your beautiful art and stories! This brings me distinctly back to a book I would read as a child. It was called “What do Fish Have to Do With Anything? by Avi and was one of his lesser known books. It featured many short stories on life and thought-provoking scenes. Even your artwork resembles that of the book. I read that book probably 5 times as a child while camping in the Midwest. I found it like a treasure in a metal bin at a book store> I read it for the first time while out on a fishing boat with my dad and Papa. I am struck by your post about how vividly your work brings me back to that time. To me, that is the sign of a true artist: when an individual and take you somewhere far away through their work. It is the beautiful raw nature of your art and depictions that tap into such nostalgia and that is a real gift! Much happiness to you.

  60. Chubbysmom says:

    I love your drawing, and the simplistic yet expressive writing. Glad it came up on my reader’s post

  61. Rachel N Hey says:

    Exceptional!!! My mother was bi-polar and would spend weeks at a time sleeping. My brother and I had to fend for ourselves. Touching comic. Love it!

  62. Ellen Best says:

    A beautifully sad poignant story delivered precisely. I could and did sit by you on the train. I sat at the desk she slept under . Thankmyou for bringing it alive so eloquently.

  63. Noorelhayat says:

    I love your talents drawing and writing this story!
    Most importantly is I love how light hearted you dealt with kinda hard childhood memories..

  64. JosNduati says:

    Wow this is beautiful

  65. Mrs.Ameer says:

    very touching story!

  66. miss j riley says:

    wow,how beautiful,every part,the drawing,the it.
    don’t know if your into human rights,say hi if you are,x

  67. Michelle says:

    Beautiful story

  68. Katy says:

    This is so beautiful. My mother has suffered on and off with depression for a long time, unfortunately a gene that my sisters and I have inherited too, but not to any great detriment for the most part. I wish i had paid such close attention to my mothers behavior growing up, I seem to only pick out her negative traits. But just like your mother sounds, she is a beautiful woman, just trying to make it in a harsh world. Such an enjoyable post. Sad but beautiful.

  69. hima says:

    Really loved it! You brought out the message so beautifully. I look forwards to reading more.

  70. Homer says:

    It is ironic that Rambo first blood would be a focus on this mystic story.
    Rambo was a homeless vet who at least had the means to fight back. He did not search in streams or mirrors, that we know of, to see images of ‘what if’; those ripples played out into deeper waters in VietNam.
    Lisa Lim’s Mother is a sidewalk Rambo, seeking ‘ who drew first blood’ answers while force marching to that Destiny only the lonely know of.
    The homeless are not just bag ladies, mission migrants , or mere media mentions; they are a message in Mine, and God knows many just Don’t get it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

We love comments, feedback and critique but mean or snarky comments will not be published. MUTHA moderates ALL comments, and we're a volunteer org, and that means they can be slow to post--please do not try and repost a comment unless it's been more than several days, we will get to it.

Back to Top ↑