It feels like years since I’ve written a piece of flash fiction. Well, that changed on Friday when I wrote The Look for Katheryn J. Avila‘s #SwiftFicFriday. The prompt she gave us was the simple four-word phrase:
Was it worth it?
The only other rules we had to follow was a word limit of 150 to 300 words and a deadline. Once the deadline passed, every entry was put up for a public vote. Sadly I didn’t win, but I was just happy to be writing again.
Matt Forde‘s interview with Alan Milburn inspires the story on his podcast, The Political Party. Part of the conversation was about his upbringing and how it affected his politics. The whole interview is well worth listening to and you can do so here. If either every read the story, I hope they enjoy it.
His childhood home is evolving to the next stage of its life cycle. Dad’s old chair replaced by a fancy recliner. The flowery two-seater sofa now a more natural cream. Mementos becoming memories. He can hear his mum in the kitchen preparing tea and biscuits. She considers him posh now. Well, he wears a suit all day and has a security team outside.
His mum enters, unsteady on her feet, the tea tray rattling. He only watches her face, waiting for the ‘was it worth it’ look.
Yes, is always his answer. Now he has evidence, hundreds, no thousands of letters from the people he’s helped. The words he turns to on the bad days, when the hours feel too long and the media attacks too savage. Yet, they are nothing compared to that look from his mum. The one she is hiding today.
He takes the tray and sets it down on the coffee table between them.
“Are you eating enough?”
“Probably not. The election is taking up a lot of time.”
“Will you win?”
She nods and pours a cup of tea. Today there will be no look.