I Told You So (Flash Fiction No.3)

By Deborah Rickard

“I told you, Mummy, I can’t do it. People will laugh!”

“No they won’t,” I say.

“The words will lump in my throat and won’t come out,” Joe stamps his small foot.

“It’s nothing to get emotional about. Pretend only Daddy and I are watching.”

Joe sulks; “All right. If you promise no-one will laugh.”

“I promise.”

I’m in the fourth row back. The curtains draw open, and emotion lumps in my throat. I swallow hard and hold it in.

Joseph, red-chequered teacloth on his head, stands centre-stage, bravely pushing words from his mouth … and a finger up his nose.

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19 Responses to I Told You So (Flash Fiction No.3)

  1. Barb says:

    Oh – a wonderful story – my heart was thumping for him, too.

  2. John Wiswell says:

    Stage fright is terrible on a child. They don’t understand why this is happening or why they shouldn’t be worried. Parents have it tough with them, but you have to nudge, right?

  3. clarekirkpatrick says:

    I love it! 🙂

  4. clarekirkpatrick says:

    ps. I tell my kids to imagine their nervousness as a ball that they can see, that they can move to one side so that it doesn’t stop them doing something they really want to do.

  5. marc nash says:

    Quick, where’s the camcorder? Yup, we’ve all been there and got the photos to prove it. Very nicely done in just 100 words

  6. But does she laugh? She promised. Very good. Short and sweet.

  7. alisonwells says:

    Oh Lord! Reminds me of a moment when my son wanted to enter a talent show burping a song. We (sadly) missed the show’s deadline! You really captured the voice of the child brilliantly.

  8. Helen says:

    Oh every mother knows a moment like this one! Lovely You captured it perfectly.

  9. Rebecca Emin says:

    That is so perfect! (Also reminded me of my daughter when she was a 3 year old flower girl. Right in front of the altar…)

  10. Rachel says:

    Oh dear! Poor thing. I’m betting people did laugh at the sight of his finger up his nose! So sweet!

  11. sonia says:

    Cute story. People might have laughed at finger up his nose thing. Poor kid.

  12. And I bet she thought he was the most talented kid on the stage. Lovely moment, Deb.

  13. Thank you all for you lovely comments. This short piece originated from an even shorter one. I took the idea from one of my ‘small stones’, written in January and posted on my ‘River of Stones’ page where you can learn all about the project if you’re interested. The idea was to capture a moment in a few well chose words, and this piece grew from one of those. I’ve found a lot of my ‘stones’ suggest a deeper meaning behind the words and I’m enjoying turning some of them into longer pieces of fiction.

  14. Sam Adamson says:

    When I think back to my childhood, this seems frigteningly familiar for some reason… Isn’t it amazing how so few words, delivered so beautifully can make my toes curl even now? Great story!

  15. Aidan Fritz says:

    I love the bit with the red-chequered teacloth, I don’t know if this was one of your stones, but it perfectly captured the fear and nervousness of presenting and the sweet innocence of the child.

  16. Icy Sedgwick says:

    Oh bless him! Everyone else seems to have focussed on the nerves, but I zoomed straight in on the finger up the nose. He might be nervous, but he’s completely oblivious as well! Hope the rest of his performance went well.

  17. laradunning says:

    You set up this very tramatic event nicely. I was nervous for him.

  18. Thank you, Sam, Aidan, Icy and Lara. I hope I raised a smile!

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