To please her

dining-roomJames had tried to get it right this time. The tablecloth was pressed, the china and cutlery carefully arranged. He’d cleaned the apartment until it sparkled, and bought flowers. They’d invited good friends to share their meal.

He’d failed to please her so often, but his heart was hers, and he couldn’t bear to lose her love.

He saw her from the window, crossing the courtyard. She looked tired and stressed, but he’d cheer her up, make it all go away.

Her face was blank as she entered. ‘James, you’ve forgotten the candles.’

‘Oh, Mother, that’s right. I’m so sorry.’


It’s time for Friday Fictioneers again, hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. Each week writers contribute 100 word stories in response to a picture prompt. This is my contribution.

38 thoughts on “To please her

  1. Dear Marg

    I just hope his name isn’t Norman Bates. 😉

    I hope the mother can wake up and give her son some positive strokes. Poignant and well told story. I love the reveal at the end. Nice.




    • Thank you, Rochelle. He’s likely to take the Norman Bates path if his mother doesn’t change her ways. I did consider making my ending a bit more gruesome – Mother doesn’t know how close she came to a sticky end when she walked through that door.


    • I’m glad the ending worked. The mother sure needs to start focusing on her son’s strengths instead of always noticing where he falls short. There is a lesson in that, as you say. Thanks for commenting.


    • That’s true. There’s no pleasing some, and it’s usually the ones whose love and approval we most need. Thanks for commenting – I’m sorry I took so long to respond.


  2. Some mothers can be so hard to please! Poor lad – and he seems to be trying so hard, as well. I love the surprise ending. You build us up nicely to expect someone quite different, then bam! Great story.


  3. What an over-bearing mother. Is nothing ever good enough? You wonderfully portray an unhealthy controlling relationship with this. Poor James. I don’t think he’ll be free until she dies, and then of course he won’t feel that way. Very unsettling in a good way.


    • The mother/child relationship can be so complex, and I guess we all have some issues to deal with as we strive for independence, or struggle as a parent to let go. Control is poison in any relationship, however. If some aspects of my story were unsettling, I’m pleased – in a good way. Thank you for your very nice response.


  4. If you look hard enough you could probably find something wrong with heaven. I liked the twist at the end. I was expecting a wife or girlfriend. His mom must the Leona Helmsley of Mothers (Queen of Mean). Well written. We could just feel his heart sink.


    • I’m really glad you felt his disappointment at the end. I wondered if I’d shown it strongly enough. She surely is a mean mother – especially when she’s tired and stressed. Mothers aren’t supposed to get tired and stressed, are they? Thanks for your input – appreciated.


  5. It’s sad to think of how harmful a parent’s disapproval can be to a child, and how often we deal it out without thinking about it. Thanks for this reminder to give my own children some positive feedback today!


    • I’m sure our disapproval comes mostly from a desire to help and direct them, but it is so easy for them to feel just disapproval and rejection. Positive feedback works miracles. I’m glad my story might be a little reminder. Thank you for your comments.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. This poor man has a big problem. His mother seems to have a tight hold on him and he may never break free. She’s made him feel unworthy and he’s suffering. Your twist at the end showed this in a great way. You show his anxiety throughout. Well done, Marg. 🙂 — Suzanne


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