Flash Fiction: Love in Reverse

Love in Reverse 


In the end, it was an exhalation of breath, a cooling of his body. A marble headstone said father and husband. Before that, it was high blood pressure from yelling at the neighbor’s dog. Or cursing at the driver who cut him off in traffic. Or screaming at the television when his football team lost.

The wife was in the other room doing laundry, washing dishes, or cooking. They didn’t talk much. Some called them old fashioned, because they’d been in an unhappy marriage for a long time. That’s how they did it back then, whether your misery overwhelmed you and the wife cried into the green beans and had one too many glasses of wine with dinner so she could sleep, or not.

Before the house was empty, there were two children. A boy and a girl. The boy wanted to be a singer and went off to study music. The father told him he was no good and lazy and should study computers. The mother didn’t say anything, but pressed a hundred dollar bill into the boy’s hand when the father wasn’t looking. The girl loved her father and did what she thought he wanted. She studied to be a teacher, and married a boy just like him.

In the beginning, the father and the mother weren’t parents. They laughed at everything together, even themselves. She swooned over his green eyes and muscular physique. He was on the football team and other girls liked him, but he liked her. They fooled around one night and she got pregnant with the boy who would be a musician. Before they kissed for the first time, he said he loved her more than his own life, and she knew he was the one.


10 Responses

  1. I can kind of relate to this, only I eventually came to my senses. Great read Carol.

  2. Love the ending to beginning nature of this piece Carol, very touching 🙂

  3. This was a great concept that was executed well. Nicely done.

  4. Late for work, but had to make a quick comment. Very simple, honest and true! Immediately relatable for me (I was the boy). Wow. Thanks Carol.

  5. This reminds a 50s-60s or may be 70s bourgeois family, he is a typical father one of those who wanted his son out of care to have a steady job and a marketable occupation……my dad did the same. the difference is that my mom did what my dad did. None was approving creative arts not out of dislike or because they hated me, they just didn’t
    want me to live an artist’s life. Today looking back at my life I come to conclusion that I would have done the same to my children if I have been a father. Arts is a paÞ too hard to bear. If you end up being the next J.K. Rowling, Madonna, James Cameron, Camilla Läckberg or Tom Cruise then is fine. But if you meant to be the next Stieg Larsson or Mr. X uknown…it is better to be a miserable accountant.

    • I agree George, it is nearly impossible to be a full time artist without incurring a tremendous amount of misery, suffering and poverty. And even with all the suffering, there is no guarantee it will pay off in success, so you can spend decades suffering and just continue to suffer without an end in sight.

      I’m not sure it’s better to be a miserable accountant though, I think most of us in the arts are just doomed to suffer whatever happens because we don’t see it as a choice. We’re compelled to create.

      As Rilke would say, if that’s the answer we get when we look deep inside, then we must simply bear it and know there may be no recompense from our creative output.

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