Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas Gifts #fridayflash #fridayfictioneers #100words

I love the sweet simplicity of  this week's photo prompt by Madison Woods. Here's the story it inspired:

Christmas Gifts

     Joey poked his head through the door. “Close your eyes.”
     “Oh, honey. Not now. I’m cooking.” I turned so he wouldn’t see I’d been crying.
     “Come on, Mom. I’ve got a surprise for you,” he pleaded.
     I shut my eyes. They burned beneath my lids.
     “Don’t open them until I say so.”
     “I won’t.”
     I heard him groan a bit, some rustling, the creak of the shutting door.
     “Almost done,” he said. “Okay, open your eyes.”
     A tiny tree. A smile beaming on Joey’s face.
     “Before Dad left, he said to be sure you had a Christmas tree.”


  1. Jan, your story, even though it's only a hundred words, made me cry. Very awesome story!

  2. Very sweet story, Jan. great pace too.

  3. Bittersweet. Salty tear and joyful smiles. It all goes with the territory. Beautifully captured in only a few short words. Well done!

  4. This story was really sad - you capture it so perfectly in a hundred words. In the end I decided that Dad had to go away for business / war rather than leaving the family; I hope that's the right interpretation.

  5. I liked the story. It left "reasons" as a mystery; was he going to war, did he leave her for personal reasons? But if he did, why was he concerned she had a tree? I love mysteries. Great story.

  6. Dear Jan,

    I once had a woman come up to me after I'd read a piece of mine on an open mic. She said, "You made me cry and I hate you for it." The last was a reflection of who she was, a tough forensic pathologist, and it made her compliment all the sweeter.

    I pay it forward to you now. You made me cry, and I don't hate you for it. Thanks for writing such a heartbreaking and heartwarming tale.



  7. Oh, Jan! that was terrific. It really was an entire short story - and all the details were perfect. Your eyelids burning, the child beaming, the little tree.
    Almost a memory, it was so evocative...

  8. Yes, you made my eyes burn too Jan. That was poignant, and I loved it.

  9. That's really sweet, Jan. Well done. You captured all the emotion in so few lines. :)

  10. Thanks for your comments, everyone. I'm on the road today, but look forward to reading yours tomorrow!

  11. What I loved is how well I knew the dad by the end...Robin

  12. I love how children can step up into a parental role. Good story with a sweet ending. Thank you for sharing!

  13. I only have one word to say, "Wow!"

  14. I like the control you kept over the story. In less skillful hands it would have been overly sentimental, instead it's subtle and poignant. I especially like that you chose the little boy's action to drive the story, instead of mom's. Good choice.