the writer is a lonely hunter

writing by Gail Aldwin and other authors

#FridayFlash: Effort

on May 11, 2012

Anna opens the kitchen blinds and expects to see the bamboo bushes flapping in the wind. Instead she puzzles at the puce concoction splattered against the Georgian bars. Putting on her coat, a birthday gift from Simon, she ties the belt and goes outside. There are pink drips marking the wall, fallen from her son’s window and an empty bottle of gin, landed on the lawn.

Only the previous evening, while Patrick played pool in his bedroom, Simon and Anna discussed his future.

‘We’ve just got to keep him focussed for the next six months. Get his GCSEs out of the way. Set him on the path to university,’ said Simon.

‘Of course.’ Anna squirmed, knowing that Simon hadn’t read Patrick’s school report before she’d squirreled it away. Heat flushed her cheeks as she remembered the comments about Patrick falling asleep in physics and playing the class joker in mathematics. ‘So long as he does enough revision, he’ll be fine.’

‘That’s my boy,’ said Simon. ‘Invest the effort when it’s most required.’

With her knuckles poised to rap on Patrick’s door, Anna hesitates. Making a scene will alert Simon to their son’s habit of taking bottles from the drinks cabinet. And vomit dribbled down the pebbledash isn’t going to score Patrick any points with his father. Anna considers an alternative and collects a brush and bucket from the utility to begin cleaning up. Effort when it’s most required, she remembers.

If you’d like another story about teenage trials, please read Hoping on the 1000 words website, 6 May 2012.

I’ve also heard from Ether Books that they’ve accepted my piece of flash fiction titled, Beginners’ Guide. You can get a free download of the story from the Ether app. See the Ether author portraits here and find out more about the stories here.

Now, all I have to do is get to grips with the technology.

11 responses to “#FridayFlash: Effort

  1. I hope Patrick knows he has someone on his side. I like your last line about effort when it’s most required. A lesson her son as yet to learn. I hope this wasn’t taken entirely from personal experience.

  2. gailaldwin says:

    My daughter commented on Twitter that the story sounds very familiar! Thanks for visiting my blog.

  3. I really enjoyed this, Gail. If your mum’s not going to step up for you, who will? Glad to see Patrick has someone willing to put in the effort for him. Hopefully, it’ll rub off on him. (And thanks for pointing people toward 1000words!)

  4. Ah sometimes growing up can be so very painful. A mother’s love knows no bounds, I hope he comes through and at least he has her to support him right now. Nice piece of slice of life Gail.

  5. I think she’s not really helping the boy if she enables poor work and bad behavior. But I suppose she’ll enjoy having him live with her for a Loooong time.

  6. Lovely depiction of a mother’s lot in life.. !! Let the guy sink, that’s what I say, it’ll do him good in the long run..After all, it didn’t do me any harm.. har har!

  7. I agree with Tim that the boy would probably be no worse off if his parents did crack down on him. Very good depiction of a hapless mother whose weakness is her son.

    • gailaldwin says:

      Hi Brinda – thanks for commenting – I tried to write into the piece an element of Anna’s collusion with her son’s behaviour, so I’m pleased that came out.

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