Learning to Fly

Posted: January 6, 2016 in Uncategorized


“Mother? Name things that fly.”
Rhonda glances at twelve-year-old Carl. Sallow-skinned and sunken-eyed, she knows something is wrong. Still her temper flares. “You name things that fly. I don’t have time.” Of course she does. Right now she’s merely staring out their fifth floor apartment window.
“Birds,” Carl said. “Your turn.”
“Butterflies, lightning bugs, bats, kites . . . ” Anything to get Carl to go away.
“And planes.”
“Oh, I see. Your father’s not coming on a plane or anything else. Don’t you get it? He’s never loved you.”
Carl slumps to his room, opens the window and jumps. “And me. I can fly, too.”

  1. Dear Alicia,

    I hope that mother has the good sense to follow him out the window. She might as well have physically pushed him. The wounds inflicted with a rapier tongue can leave deeper scars than daggers. Well done.



    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Rochelle, I agree whole heartedly. Somehow I can’t imagine ever treating a child like this (although my writerly self just did.) Thanks for reading. Hope all is well with you so far in 2016.


  2. ansumani says:

    She finally said what was needed to make him go away for good.

    Sad to know that such parents exist in the real world too and many such children are pushed to fly off.

    Well written.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think this is the worst thing she could have done… personally I do not want to follow her son… I want her to live alone to a very old age, and every day regretting those words… every morning, every night all alone.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree, Bjorn. This story came from a conversation I had with a friend during lunch yesterday. A mutual acquaintance of ours has just married a man with a 4-year-old daughter. The woman refuses to help potty train the child and has stated she has no time for her. It broke my heart in so many ways.


  4. OMG…what a heart breaker!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Gee, that’s a sad one, but very well crafted with several levels of human emotion displayed.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. draliman says:

    Wow, that last line took me by surprise. Not a happy household. I guess mother was too caught up in her own sadness/self-pity to care how Carl was feeling.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Sandra says:

    Wow! They broke the mould when they made her. Thankfully. Savage little piece, Alicia – well done.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. gahlearner says:

    Ouch, that was a punch to the gut. You made me hate her right from the beginning, but with that last sentence, I just want to push her.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. trentpmcd says:

    Uhm, yeah, pretty dark here… Can I go push her out that window?


  10. Wham. Bam. Goodbye to Rhonda’s Carl. Exit, paned, left She gets her wish.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. rgayer55 says:

    I liked Bjorn’s solution, but of course she’d have to have a conscious for that to haunt her. It irks me when people are mean to children and old people.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. plaridel says:

    i guess the mother didn’t see that coming and neither did i. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Amy Reese says:

    Fifth floor apartment, oh no! This can’t be anything but tragic. What a sad piece, Alicia, but well written and convincing.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. lillian says:

    Awful awful awful. And that is a compliment to your writing! Very hard to read this one understanding that sadly, there are people like this in the world.


  15. charlypriest says:

    This was good, I actually found it a fun read compared to others commentators. Must be my dark humour I guess.


  16. Allan G. Smorra says:

    C…Yikes! I didn’t see that coming. Nice work on the surprise ending.


  17. Margaret says:

    What a wonderful picture of human emotions. This mother treats her child horribly, with a devastating result, yet you’ve painted her pain convincingly, so that I can’t help but feel sympathy for her too. How easy it is to cause hurt to others in moments of weakness. The child’s actions are a shocking reminder that we shouldn’t be so thoughtless. You’ve captured the complexity of the situation brilliantly.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Such a raw, painful story, that sadly plays out far too often. Glad you’re so good at fiction, Alicia!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Well, he won’t bother here anymore. She’s actually dead inside and now her son’s dead period, I’m beginning to wonder if her mental attitude, perhaps illness, was why the father left. I hope she has no other children to mentally torture. Well written, Alicia. —- Suzanne

    Liked by 1 person

  20. hafong says:

    Oh so sad for both! 😦 Just a little acknowledgement and love can go a long way. I wonder why we hold back on both. Thanks for the illumination.


    Liked by 1 person

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