Mother’s day.

“Do you think I am fat?” She asked, looking at his reflected image.

John cringed inwardly.

The mirror revealed her as pear shaped with a pale skin stained with grey-blue imperfections. She was naked but for worn out undies of an undefined gray-white color. Her grey hair hung listless over her shoulders. Her eyes were the only part of her that showed color: they were blue.

The underwear used to be lace before she had delivered her second child. Those lace undies had hugged her figure. It might even have given shape to her figure, but mow everything sagged. After the pregnancies she had rapidly gained weight and the laced underwear did not fit anymore and she never bought new.

When she noticed him looking at her, she swayed her hips and gave him a mock seductive look.

“I think my hips are my best part.” She went on.

The mirror had allies. Their two daughters, merciless in their judgments, had told her she was fat. It was one of the main sins, next to wearing the wrong clothes and listening to the wrong kind of music.

But those allies did not aid him now.

“And my breasts are still reasonably shaped.” She massaged them, then propped them up with their hands. They rested their like two white shaped half deflated bags, the gray nipples run through with crevices.

He thought of the wide range of ways he had learned overtime to avoid giving a straight answer without lying. It was not a skill he admired, although it amused him at times to amuse other people with it.

She looked at him. Her eyes demanding an answer.

“You are okay.” He said..

“Okay? Just okay?”  She was not letting him get away with it. Not today.

“You are pretty to me.” Which as far as he was willing to go to bend the truth.

“Can’t you just say ‘yes’ or ‘no’?”

“I just gave you an answer.”

“Yes or no?”


“No? What no?”

“No, you are not fat.”

“Liar.” She said, “The children say I am fat. I know I am fat; I am 30 kilos overweight. Can’t you tell the truth for once?”

“Not today.” He shook his head, “Not on mothers day.”

39 responses to “Mother’s day.”

  1. I really like the story, you see her aging body ‘unfold’ (no pun intended) – there is just a minor remark on my side – in my humble opinion the title gives away the pointe. I have been expecting that outcome.

      • I know how hard it is to get criticism, but never forget, I REALLY like your story. The description of her body is real, her personality comes over so vibrant, his doubts about what can be said without hurting her – all is said so well – I would just pack the title more innocently – something like “This special day in may” – or “Mayday” – the latter even hinting on his emergency, every man feels when posed this question. Something along this line – just not give away the end.

      • I can see your point and normally I usually I try to make them a bit obscure so that you connect to the title after having read the story or while doing so. Mother’s day was actually a working title and the story was meant as a flash fiction of about hundred words. After I had written the story I glanced at the title and thought for once it was actually fitting as it invokes a certain mood and expectation from the start. The name points the essence of the story and is also at odds with it; for mother’s day is supposed to be a happy day in which a mother is thanked by her children(and by her partner indirectly), but the scene is foremost about the relation between the mother and her husband and could have happened any other day, but that day it makes it bittersweet. I feel that without that background, the story would have raised less tension and expectation.
        Incidently, I considered leaving out the last sentence: “not on mother’s day”, but somehow the story did not feel whole without it.

      • Oh, I wanted to say. I appreciate it that you suggested this, even though I might not use it. Feedback helps in improving.

      • I would not expect you to use my feeble attempts in your language – I am not a native speaker. So best NOT to use my words 😉

  2. I love his response: “Not today.” He shook his head, “Not on mothers day.”
    Six short words packed with depth of meaning that longer words may not have conveyed…

  3. This shows doubters that men CAN be “decent people”, too. God had to show me that at one point in my life… now I’m a believer. Well done.

  4. Well written. I could picture him, poised for flight but trapped by her eyes eager, waiting for an answer. ‘Not on Mother’s day’, a perfect ribbon tying up a gift of unconditional love.

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