The Lesson (Friday Fictioneers August 2014)

Copyright Roger Bultot

It’s not a hard slap; its impact lies in surprise … and speed of delivery.

For both of us.

His flushed little face crumples, bottom lip jutting as tears spill through squeezed eyelids.

Panic and the truck that could have killed him pass, and I’m instantly, agonisingly contrite. I hug him, feeling his rigid, rebellious little body straining away.

His distress escalates into pitiful howling, as I hold his tear-stained face close to mine.

“I told you… never, ever leave the pavement without looking.”

We continue hand-in-hand towards school, though in truth we both have learned the lesson for today.

It’s that time of the week again, and Friday Fictioneers are flexing quills, filling their inkwells, chewing their pencils or cleaning the crumbs off their keyboards.  Our invigilator, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields,  patrols the aisles between our desks, ready to rap a knuckle or two if necessary.  “You may turn your papers over and commence…”

About Sandra

I cruise the French waterways with my husband four or five months a year, and write fiction and poetry. I love animals, F1 motor racing, French bread and my husband, though not necessarily in that order.
This entry was posted in Friday Fictioneers, Just Sayin' and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

81 Responses to The Lesson (Friday Fictioneers August 2014)

  1. Dear Sandra,

    I know the feeling. First you want to kill them then you want to hold them and never let go. You’ve captured that moment many mothers have experienced. I know I have. Beautifully written piece that left me breathless.

    Love your instructions as well. You’re fortunate. I won’t rap your knuckles. .;)

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    Like

    • Sandra says:

      Thanks Rochelle. 🙂 I watched this scenario unfold a while back. I had to turn away at the raw emotion on both faces – the child’s disbelief that his mother would do that, hers that she could, and their mutual embarrassment when they saw me watching. It’s always stuck in my mind.

      Like

  2. MrBinks says:

    This line, so real: “I hug him, feeling his rigid, rebellious little body straining away.”

    Nicely written, as usual! 🙂

    Like

  3. Ditto Rochelle’s comments.
    My son once opened the door to the van as we were, luckily, only pulling into the driveway of our house – and I was able to grab the back of his pants as he went almost flying out the door.

    Randy

    Like

  4. Sandra, That’s the reason mother’s pray. Those are the kinds of days you feel blessed you’ve all survived. My mother warmed my seat once for scaring her. It happens. Well written and realistic story. 🙂 —Susan

    Like

  5. Instantly relateable, perfectly written. I particularly admire the opening line.

    Like

  6. high five and raspberries says:

    My daughter was only three but can remember the one and only time she was ever spanked. She was waist high in a spring-swollen brook and I ( a non-swimmer ) jumped in and pulled her out. Slapped her bottom on the way back to the house. I had always promised myself to never raise a hand to my children but she had scared the bejezus out of me. I have never forgotten either. Your story will touch a nerve with many parents, well done.

    Like

  7. Fly Indie says:

    Indeed – your writing,as always immaculate, not one word without depth.

    Like

    • Sandra says:

      Thank you Hamish! 🙂 I’ve just read and enjoyed yours. Sadly I don’t have the wherewithal to comment upon it on the site, but just wanted to let you know that.

      Like

  8. As a mom, I could feel that heart-stopping moment so well! Very well written!

    Like

  9. yarnspinnerr says:

    Reminded me of a time when my 7 yr son wandered of in a crowded market ……..

    Like

  10. DCTdesigns says:

    Sandra, I have a friend whose German shepherd would tackle her daughter if she even edged towards the road. This was wonderfully written. You captured it all from both mother and child.

    Like

  11. Sandra,
    you’ve captured all the emotions of the scene so vividly. I feel the adrenaline of the near disaster almost as if I were there. I like how they both learned something from it.

    Like

  12. K.Z. says:

    as the eldest and the only girl, I’ve certainly experienced that feeling before 🙂 i love that last line “in truth we both have learned the lesson for today”

    Liked by 1 person

  13. liz young says:

    Sometimes I feel that I’m blogging only for my own amusement! Well-written story – I’ve been there more than once.

    Like

  14. paulmclem says:

    Very good piece. Painted a very full picture with this one. Excellent!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. storydivamg says:

    Far better for the little one to endure a sharp slap than be crushed by an oncoming vehicle.

    Your story this week is so vivid–the sights, sounds, and emotions all pop with realistic color.

    All my best,
    Marie Gail

    Like

  16. Could totally relate to this. Brilliantly written.

    Like

  17. As a mother, your story speaks to me. I am so excited to participate in this prompt – it’s been some time! Your view of the prompt sung to my heart. 🙂

    Like

  18. hugmamma says:

    Wonderfully told and written…life lesson.

    Like

  19. plaridel says:

    it’s a gem of a story. well-written as always.

    Like

  20. Excellent story, Sandra! I could feel the tension. Well done.

    Like

  21. Indira says:

    You express emotions so beautifully Sandra. A lesson to both indeed. Excellent.

    Like

  22. As a mother of a frisky toddler, I could very well relate to the emotions felt by the mother. Beautifully conveyed!

    Like

  23. I could feel the tears. Parenting is so difficult.

    Like

  24. Oh, I remember that! Brilliantly described. And I agree with Mr Binks – that one line is so perfect. I did it, felt immediately awful and sorry, but the child either wasn’t willing to receive my apologies so soon, or was terrified that I would do it again.

    Like

  25. draliman says:

    I loved this – the initial feeling of panic, turning to anger at the silly child for nearly getting himself killed and scaring you, then remorse and relief. Very good!

    Like

  26. shanx says:

    Beautifully written. Could feel it too! 🙂

    Like

  27. I guess I have been that boy sometimes in the past… and yes there was a lesson learned.. I’m still here after all.. Good story taken directly out of the box

    Like

  28. As always, you deliver a deep and powerful story in a great way.

    Like

  29. ofeliagrand says:

    Every parent’s nightmare. You sure got my heart beating extra hard. Well written!

    Like

  30. Another brilliant story. The way you describe a scene appears so real. I felt happy that the things went well in the end. 🙂

    Like

  31. wmqcolby says:

    Trying very much to breathe after this one. Very real and very immediate, Sandra. Great job, as usual!

    Like

  32. R. E. Hunter says:

    Every parent’s nightmare. You captured the situation very vividly.

    Like

  33. Ellespeth says:

    Oh! I can imagine the panic then relief then anger in this scene.
    Ellespeth

    Like

  34. rgayer55 says:

    Excellent story, Sandra. What parent hasn’t lived this 1,000 times? Sometimes you just react and both parties are stunned. It’s a lesson neither one will soon forget.

    Like

  35. hafong says:

    I can see them clearly – the child and mother and their distress. Very well written, Sandra.

    Lily

    Like

  36. Sandra, you and Rochelle both blow me away each week! You go in such interesting and unique directions with these prompts, almost always throwing me off guard. I was sure you’d find some scary place to take us with this one, and while this is scary for any parent… so different than I expected.

    This is so viscerally spot on, in terms of those parental moments that rock us– but are so normal, as well. As always, wonderful!

    Like

  37. Amy Reese says:

    Oh, I know the feeling! It’s terrifying, you’re upset, and then you feel so awful that you could possibly be angry because your child is alive and safe. It’s such a whirlwind of emotions, described so well in your story.

    Like

  38. Nan Falkner says:

    Dear Sandra, At 18 months old, my mother caught me sitting in the middle of the street and she ran to save me (of course I don’t remember it). She said she hugged me, spanked me, hugged me, spanked me and cried. Your story happens all the time and you wrote it well! Love it – brings back a good memory of a story my mother told me. Thanks! Nan 🙂

    Like

  39. subroto says:

    You’ve captured the human emotions perfectly in this one. Can feel the mother & child’s distress while reading it.

    Like

  40. Sarah Ann says:

    Very vivid – I could just see his flushed face and the tears squeezing through. You well describe the roller-coaster emotions of fear and guilt for the parent.

    Like

  41. I remember that feeling all too well but I had forgotten the raw emotion of it until reading your words.

    Like

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