Flash Fiction Story: That’s How Love Goes

Today, I picked three objects in the room to include in my story. Looking around, I chose an aqua teapot, a print of Mother Mary and Child, and an electronic keyboard. I set my timer for twenty minutes and started writing. I worked on the piece again this evening. Here is my first draft of this flash fiction story.  

That’s How Love Goes

Murray played a tune on his electronic keyboard in search of the melody for his new song. He needed to come up with something catchy and creative yet at the same time hard-hitting and relevant. The band needed him to do that too. They were in a slump and everybody was hard up for money. They were right on the verge of calling their decent musical success a failure, particularly since their fans were begging for new songs and Murray, over the past couple of months since his mother died, was dry as a bone.

“Dry as a bone,” Murray muttered, as he moved to a minor key and tried a new chord progression. “I am dry as a bone, a long way from home, lost my shoes and even my comb…”

Murray’s best friend and lead singer for the band, Ciara, came in with a large framed print tucked under her arm. “I’m bringing in reinforcements,” she said, then placed the picture on the nearby buffet.

“Where’d you get that?” Murray asked, peering at a rendition of Mother Mary in her dark blue robe holding the Christ Child while two angels looked on.

“Thrift store,” Ciara said. “I figured we needed some divine intervention, you know?”

“Amen, sister,” Murray muttered, then examined the painting closer. “Look at how they’re gazing into each other’s eyes. Wow.”

“Yeah. Pure connection.”

Murray felt a pang of sadness. He missed the connection he’d had with his own mom, the way he knew that he could trust that she’d always be there. Until now, when she wasn’t and as hard as he tried, he just couldn’t seem to find the comfort that would help him settle down and turn his attention back to his work.

He played Ciara the tune he’s been experimenting with and sang the line “dry as a bone.”

“That sounds like a drinking song,” she said. “Not quite our style.”

Murray stared back at the painting. The mother and child looked as if they had a secret that nobody else shared. Just like that time that he and his mom locked eyes the day that he broke Dad’s favorite teapot, the aqua one that he’d bought at the fancy antique store. Murray chuckled. Mom never did give him up, bless her soul. She just shooked her head and said the dog must have knocked the teapot off the coffee table while everybody was out of the room.

Intimacy. Love. Trust. A keeper of a big secret, that’s what Mother Mary was. Just like Murray’s mom had kept that teapot secret and saved him from getting yet another hiding from his dad, who had a heavy hand. Years later, Murray’s mom told his dad the truth when they were all together. By then, his dad just laughed. “Probably wise that you waited to tell me. I was pretty hot tempered back then.” He’d turned to Murray and added, “Sorry, son.”

Murray’s fingers raced over the keyboard and landed on a bluesy chord progression that ached with feeling. He leaned back, closed his eyes, and sang:

I’ve been down, I’ve been out

I’ve been so full of doubt

But when I think of your sweet smile

My pain eases for a while

You always knew just what to say

To help me through and make my way

And your eyes let me know

No matter what, we were good to go

Now you’re gone and I am lost

Losing you has a hard cold cost

But even if you’ve gone away

Part of you will always stay

In my heart

We’ll never part

I know now

That’s how love works

Yea, in my heart

We’ll never part

I know now

That’s how love works

“Quick! Write down those words,” Ciara said, “We can do something with that.”

“Hand me a pen,” Murray said, smiling. “And thank you, Mother Mary, for that inspiration.”

2 Comments Add yours

  1. It’s amazing to read how it’s done. Three objects. Twenty (plus) minutes and now you have a story and a song. Well done. Modeling what you teach is a wonderful gift. Thank you Len.

    1. Thanks, Eileen! I appreciate your presence in my life, my dear.

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