Not My Mother, Teresa. A new flash fiction.

Being rather short on time at the moment, I’ve decided to offer up a story I recently wrote for some competition or other. The rules asked for a really short piece of flash fiction. I came up with, for some reason, a story about coincidence. The story didn’t place, leaving me at liberty to share it with you instead. I’d be interested to know what you think about it in terms of a story light on action.


Not My Mother, Teresa

 I once found myself sharing a table in a London café with a nun called Sister Teresa. It was the anniversary of my mother’s disappearance; her name was Teresa as well.

That encounter sprang to mind when the guy sitting next to me on the plane introduced himself as John Latimer. I didn’t tell him that we shared the same name; instead we discussed cloud formations and why they always seem to look like rabbits.

He told me he lived in Brighton and asked me where I was from. I lied and said Oxford; I’ve never been there but it was the first place I could think of. Thankfully he hadn’t been there either. It sounds like Brighton’s changed a bit since we moved away. Dad returned once after an old neighbour thought she’d spotted Mum at the train station, but it can’t have been her because her note said she’d never come back.

Before landing, John got up to use the toilet. I wouldn’t normally have looked in his passport but it was just lying there, on the seat. I wondered how many other people were born the same day that the two of us were; tens of thousands, probably.

‘You never know,’ he said, as we waited at the carrousel, ‘our paths may cross again, if you believe in that sort of thing.’

I don’t. What’s the point? It wasn’t my mother who turned up in that café was it?


© flyingscribbler 2012




8 comments on “Not My Mother, Teresa. A new flash fiction.

  1. Icy Sedgwick says:

    It must be so hard to be the one who’s left behind.

  2. Steve Green says:

    I really like this Justin, it’s got my head going round in circles… 🙂

  3. mgideon says:

    Seriously dizzy after this one! Nice work.

  4. In answer to your question, I don’t think physical action is absolutely necessary for a good story. The tale simply has to engage readers in some manner which causes emotion and makes them want to read to the end – bonus points if it makes them think about it afterwards. Therefore, this fits the bill IMHO.

  5. I guess a child even when gown up never gets over his mother leaving.

  6. Katherine says:

    I’ve met two people who had this happen to school friends of theirs — a parent said they were just running out for a bottle of milk or the paper and they never came back again.

    I liked the narrator’s failure to appreciate the coincidence on the plane, simply because it wasn’t the coincidence he’s always been waiting for. It was understandable and yet somehow self-defeating at the same time.

  7. Hi there Justin — why do clouds do that rabbit thing? lol. An interesting story *about* coincidence (rather than a story that relies on coincidence, which would have been about as interesting as an ‘it was just a dream’ story).

    It’s my first time back since your refit of the site. For some reason, I feel I’m going to miss your aeroplane wing, but other than that I like the new digs. 🙂


  8. John Wiswell says:

    Some folks need everything to line up perfectly to see. Life leaves them like that.

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