Friday, July 02, 2010

When In Rome


Louis emerged from the Men's Room in the restaurant to hear his mother exchanging private telephone numbers with someone she met only scant hours ago.

“Please do call,” he heard her tell the woman whose name he could not remember. Something to do with Switzerland, he thought. Or was it nature?

“Let us go now, shall we?” He coaxed his mother as he helped her into her coat and nodded his goodbye to the woman. Berne? Oh, no. Fern. Her name is Fern. Nature, then.

He led his mother to the front door and before she stepped over the threshold, she turned to smile at her new friend.

“I've been told I give good phone.” she said and laughed before Louis grasped her hand and led her away.
 
The car ride was a quiet one, as usual. Louis glanced at his mother when he stopped at the last light before home. She moved her lips in silent conversation. Probably speaking to Father again, he thought and surprised himself by a fluttery bitterness he felt in his chest. It never was difficult for her to talk with Louis when he was a child. But as the years added growth, departure, and distance to her life, they also subtracted her ability to verbally demonstrate easiness with her son. She became shyly hesitant with the adult model. Now, after bringing her to live with him after she had escaped from the retirement center several times, their talks more closely resembled light, impersonal banter.
 
As he lay reading in bed later that night, Louis heard his mother laughing. Another talk with Deidre, he guessed. While pleased that his mother harbored friendship for his ex-wife, he never understood how anyone could speak for hours on the phone and enjoy it.
 
“Goodnight, dear,” he heard her say, then all was quiet.
 
Louis placed his reading glasses on the nightstand and leaned over to turn off the light. He settled into his pillows and closed his eyes. But moments later, his mother's soft pacing in her bedroom on the second floor interrupted the languid touch of his relaxation, and he sat up and turned on the light.
 
It's one of  those nights
, he thought.
  
Louis reached for his bathrobe, intent on going to his mother's room with tea and sitting with her in silence until she tired.
  
However, after looking across the room at the telephone on his desk, he shook his head. He left the bathrobe folded at the foot of the bed and walked over to his favorite chair.
  
His mother picked up on the second ring.


Picture courtesy of Cute and Cool BlogStuff

51 comments:

  1. Love the ending! What a touching moment :)

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  2. Aw, he is a good son, after all, amidst trying to deal with all of his conflicted feelings.

    Your characters always come to life so vibrantly in a Flash!

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  3. Perhaps they'll finally have the kind of conversation he craves...
    Excellent!

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  4. Accommodations must be made! I love that he met her on her terms and hopefully he'll get the result he desires.

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  5. Great characters, vivid and full of depth. The story as a nice light touch.

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  6. Great story, got me right in the heart...

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  7. Beautiful Marisa! Love your characterization.

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  8. I'm a life-long phonophobe, but this is sweet.

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  9. very well scripted and perfect , deft touch for the end.

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  10. Beautifully crafted, and very touching story. I loved the ending.

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  11. Very touching. Love the sweet ending.

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  12. This was sweet. I could see how he might want to switch her over to the "Unlimited Minutes" plan, though.

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  13. What a sweet son he is. I almost exptected him to bury her under a bunch of phones, but am so glad he didn't.
    Great, heartwarming story Marisa.

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  14. A poignant tale delicately told

    marc nash

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  15. Very intimate tale, and I love the ending -- perfect.
    It's such a classic problem between parents and their kids, I think, that the parents give something to other people that the kids don't receive.

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  16. You evoke a scene and sense of era so well in such a short space of words. There are so many elements of the story that resonate later. Well done

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  17. As always...wonderful

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  18. You're alive again! Welcome back to #fridayflash. Strong characterization, and I'm glad Mom was home.

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  19. Thank you all for your comments. Really appreciate you taking the time to read!

    John - Yes, I'm alive again, hah! Thank you for the welcome back. Feel that same little catch in throat I get when American custom official welcomes me home after a trip away. :)

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  20. Good story! The characterization in this was excellent.

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  21. You have a way of really getting to the heart of the matter. Excellent.

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  22. I really enjoyed this, Alice. Truly. If this story were to develop, the part that has me most intrigued is the relationship with the ex-wife. Her tenderness for the mother and how she still influences the guy in the story. He got up and called her instead despite thinking she is just not there anymore.

    Lots of layers for the future. loved it.

    annie

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  23. Just lovely. Your writing is always so lyrical and full of depth.

    Beautiful story that reads like a photograph.

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  24. A touching tale, well told!

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  25. Awww, I love that. Very sweet and well written.

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  26. Bittersweet and very true. Well crafted around a very tangible, believable son character. Refreshing and nicely done. Thanks.

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  27. Sad but sweet. Sometimes you can say more from a distance than face to face. With the way some teens are moving from even talking to just texting, it's a wonder people speak two words to each other these days.

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  28. Oh beautifully written, and what an understanding son to realise her preferred method of communication! Wonderful piece.

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  29. Great ending. Very enjoyable :)

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  30. This is so very lovely. You've worked another little bit of magic with this one. I imagine Louis to be sad about this, but he's resigned to it, he'll do whatever it takes. Beautiful, Marisa.

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  31. Marisa this is so beautiful. You've totally captured the voice of the son and, in a simple phone call, his love and appreciation for her.
    So lovely.
    Your stories are always special to me.

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  32. I love this, I have a 17 year old and I feel that distance.
    Beautiful

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  33. Really great insight into the mother-son dynamic. Just a lovely, lovely story beautifully wrought. Peace...

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  34. What a great and quirky little piece this is... The stuff we sons do for our moms. This coming from a momma's boy ;)

    Cool pic, btw...

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  35. great emotion - well ended :)

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  36. That should be a conversation :) loved that ending, Marisa!

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  37. Aww, this was so tender Mari-girl!

    I love the subtle way in which you portrait this quiet yet loving relationship. Louis is such a reliable character. His bitterness about his mother whispering to his father makes him real!

    I've missed you and your writing. So glad you're back! :D

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  38. I'm stopping by to say hello! I'm trying to visit everyone before my battery on the laptop goes dead - I'm getting those little warnings *laugh* -- lawd! hurry hurry hurry kat!

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  39. Oh cool! I was thinking about half way through he should try calling her sometime. Then I found out she lived with him and that notion just sort of flitted away. Only to come back as quite a touching ending. Well done indeed.
    ~jon

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  40. Reach out and touch someone? It's nice that he found a way to talk with her. Nicely done.

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  41. Very touching story. The disconnect between them was handled really well, and the ending just smacked me with another dimension to the son. Thanks for the good read!

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  42. The whole time I was thinking, call her on the phone, call her on the phone... and you heard me! This was lovely Marisa. Meeting someone on the terms that they're comfortable with to share joy is such a kind open hearted thing to do. And vastly human.
    *happy sigh*

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  43. Wow, a great look at the relationship between this mother and son. Nicely written, Marisa.

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  44. What a delightful twist! Such a perfect description of the mother - I like her. I'm glad the story ended with the son reaching out to her.

    Gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling!

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  45. This is so, so lovely! And I loved the phrase, "escaped from the retirement center".

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