When her children were young she had taken scores Instamatic snapshots. In these photographs, they seemed to have been frozen by the flesh-bleaching flashbulb, stunned faces and red glowing eyes making them look like newly spawned demons.

She’d kept these photos in a box in her closet.

One day she carried the box to the garbage and that was that.

She hadn’t spoken to any of them for years.

One Christmas her son David sent her a brand-new Olympus digital camera.

It was gift-wrapped. There was no card.

She still wonders why David thought she would ever need a camera.

Friday Fictioneers



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  1. neilmacdon

    I do think it’s very annoying when family and friends change. It’s all right for them, but do they ever think about the work I have to do revising their database entries?

  2. Alice Audrey

    This reminds me of a woman I once traveled with. After years of hearing nothing but complaints over the gifts she sent her kids and grandkids she decided to cut them off. If they wanted anything from her, they had to talk to her the rest of the year, too.

  3. Clare Hempstead

    This is a very sad tale. I’m not sure who’s at fault, but life is too short. Like Rochelle, I’m hoping the camera is a peace-offering, but it doesn’t sound like she’ll act on it.

  4. gahlearner

    This is great, I laughed about the description of the old pictures, I guess we all have some of these. I saw the new camera as an olive branch from her son, maybe an invitation to take great, non-demon-spawn pictures of her grandkids?

  5. Lynn Love

    Love that opening, those little demons of hers captured. And that back and forth of bitterness between son and mother – there’s a deal of history to unpack there. Great story Josh

  6. granonine

    “After not speaking to any of them for years, her son David. . . .” Who didn’t speak to any of them? I think you mean the mother, but it could be David. How about “After not speaking to any of them for years, she received a gift. . . .”

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