Permission Granted

“Maybe it’s time.” His own mother’s words release her.

The pound of each step echoes inside her chest as her feet strike the pavement. She stops to make a call.

“It’s gotten that bad? Of  course, you can come home.”

—-

“Tell me to stay.”

His head sinks into his hands.

 

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34 thoughts on “Permission Granted

  1. Loved the tension in the last line as she waits for him to ask her to stay. I think that’s the strongest point of your piece.

    Con Crit: The first line threw me a bit because of the use of ‘His own mother’ I think I didn’t expect ‘his’ words to release ‘her’, so it got me confused.

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    • Thank you. I had more with that line but had to delete it for the word max. Was trying to preserve what I thought was the power of her husband’s mom suggesting it was time the wife leave her son. Hopefully others will weigh in on this as well!! Much appreciated!!

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  2. Ugh–I read this piece a couple of times, too, to better understand your story, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing. My impression is that her mother-in-law told her that “it’s time” and it seems, at least to me, that he instigated it. I agree with Shailaja–that moment where she pleads for him to tell her to stay is utterly heartbreaking. This is a wonderful piece–rich with imagery and just enough space for us to piece together our own interpretation. This may be your first time attempting microprose, but I hope it won’t be your last. So good!

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  3. I really like the sense of betrayal in that first line; even his own mother tells her to leave. And the deeply sad finality of the last line works well as a closing. It’s really interesting that you gave her permission to act in her own best interests throughout this piece, until the last two lines, where she waits for his approval. It’d be cool to see how this would read if she maintained agency throughout.

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    • Thank you. To me it seems like she is getting approval from all areas in her life before she leaves, his mom, her mom, and then finally his lack of a request is approval to go. I never knew this would be viewed in so many different ways. It’s been interesting.

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  4. I wasn’t sure I got this until I waited for a few more comments and then realised I had. You must be on the right track to be able to promote discussion like this and make us think a bit! A bit of mystery is far better than having everything put to us in black and white.

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  5. A lot of angst in just a few lines. (part of my original post got deleted sorry). I liked the contrast of emotions between the “maybe it is time” line and the “tell me to stay”. That push and pull worked for me.

    FYI, I got caught up in the POV. I couldn’t figure out whose POV. Hers or his? Did the dashes mean the POV was shifting?

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    • It was intended that the lines denote three separate interactions in her life that gave her permission to go. That’s a bummer it threw the POV off. I never even thought about that much. Thanks for your honest feedback. I greatly appreciate it.

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  6. How sad that his own mother knows to tell this woman it’s time to go. Admit I had to read a few times as well to get to the bottom of that. Seems whatever you cut to make the word limit may have been helpful. Something to note for future efforts.
    Heartbreaking that a man’s own mother recognizes his wife will be better off without him.
    Your last line is killer – she wants to hear him ask her to stay, but he has no reply. Gut punch.
    Well done.

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  7. You’ve got talent and it shows through your first attempt at microprose. I didn’t get it at first, read it slowly and carefully the second time and then understood. I’m glad your story made me apply my otherwise rusty brains 🙂 Good luck!

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    • Thank you. I have done a little bit of microprose- 100 words maybe a handful of times, but never this challenge, and never only 50 words. Clearly, much more difficult. But thank you so much for the compliment. That’s encouraging considering all the confusion I’m creating! Lol! I appreciate the feedback.

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  8. Yay mom! I admit I initially missed that it was his mother, not hers, encouraging her to leave, but either way it’s effective. Nice job fitting three separate scenes into a micro!

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      • Ooh, got it. I think I assumed that it was the same mother character throughout, even though your dialogue in the middle section clearly indicates it’s her own mother – my bad for misreading. That final scene is spot-on – I saw a comment that this was your first-ever micro?? Nicely done!

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  9. I like that you packed a lot of story in outside the lines, and the way you bookended the character’s leaving with permission from both sets of parents (I assumed the second parent was her mom and the first was his, although on re-reading I note that it could be her mom, dad, step-parent, whatever)- it increases the reader’s comfort with the idea that the character is responding reasonably to a genuine challenge. And the three-step format: his parent, her parent, him? It’s a good framework to hang the piece on.

    I didn’t find the jumps confusing, although I definitely would have if they hadn’t been set off visually, and I do agree with most folks here that tightening up the first sentence (maybe “Not her mother, but his, released her” and you could shorten the “pounding and echoing” sentence to make more room up there?) would put the reader in a less disoriented place at the start, which in turn would make the jumps easier to follow

    You said this was your first shot at micro? You’ve got a solid grasp of the basics and I’m looking forward to your next one!

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    • Thank you so much for the feedback. I I appreciated you showing me a suggestion of how I could have fixed what has seemed to cause so much confusion. This is my first time at THIS challenge. I have done 100 word micros perhaps a handful of times, so not 100% a newbie, but this is my first crack at only 50 words.

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      • 50 feels so strange – I’ve done a lot at 33 and 40ish and I felt like I was flailing with those extra words! It’s a matter of what we’re used to I guess.

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