Posted in creative writing, fiction, free writing, short story, writing exercise

Short Story: The Gift

Hello all! So for a while now, I’ve been doing some short writing exercises to help get me into a fiction writing mindset. I have many that I have done. Some of my results have been okay, and some of them actually turned out more than okay. I liked this particular piece, and decided to share. I hope you enjoy it too.

The Gift

I carefully picked up the scattered pieces of the broken purple mug. Half of a smile looked up at me from the shattered ceramic. It was all that was left of the once cartoon sketched smiley face on the side. The rest of the face gone. Yeah, it was a bit of a gaudy mug, but I still loved it. Though that might have to do with who gave it to me––my son.

He’d been six when he picked it out and proudly told me that it was my birthday gift from him. He said the mug was my favorite color and it had a smiley face, so it was perfect for me. I remembered chuckling at that. And as I went for the broom to sweep up the the smaller pieces, I chuckled again, remembering that moment.

I wasn’t sure how I would tell him I accidentally dropped the mug. I was all butterfingers this morning trying to make my tea. Maybe he wouldn’t mind. He was fourteen now. It had been so long ago since he’d gotten me the mug, maybe he wouldn’t even care. I swallowed a lump in my throat. I cared, and I was mad at myself for breaking it at all.

I swung the broom with a little more force than necessary, gathering up the remaining bits. And as I crouched down to whisk up the pieces, I let my mind wander to other gifts my son had given me over the years. I grinned as I realized the best had been all the hugs and kisses.

He liked doing that––coming up to me at random moments in the day to give me a great big hug. That always put a smile on my face, no matter what I was doing, or how I was feeling. I emptied the dustpan into the trash, remembering the hug he’d given me just last night before bed.

All the pieces were up, but I checked the kitchen floor one more time just to be sure. I didn’t want anyone accidentally finding a piece with their bare feet. I spotted a small chuck against the bottom of the dishwasher. I picked it up and threw it in the trash with all the rest.

I stood there a moment, looking down at the purple pieces. There was a tug at my heart as I made an important realization. Yeah, I liked drinking out of that mug, because it was a reminder of him. But even more than that, I cherished him and all the wonderful memories we had made so far. He was the true gift.

I turned away from the trash and put the broom away. I wasn’t sad about the mug any more. It was gone, but I could always get another. Maybe I’d let my son pick out the new one too. That excited me a bit as I wondered what he might decide was perfect for me next.

Sure. I had other mugs I could use for my tea, but as I looked in the cabinet to pull out one I had purchased as a set to go with the dishes, it just wasn’t the same. The purple one was what I had always used. The rest were just to fill cabinet space.

Tea poured into the pink flowered mug. I heard my son’s bedroom door open. A moment later, he was at my elbow.

“Good morning,” I said.

His response was stretching his arms around my neck and giving me a tight squeeze. I smiled. My heart smiled. And I hugged him back. I kissed the top of his head. My whole self glad for the best gift I had ever received.

2 thoughts on “Short Story: The Gift

  1. This is a lovely slice of life!!
    It’s so relatable too. I think everyone has their favorite mug – and it’s not the mug – it’s who gifted it. Or maybe it was on a certain trip that had special memories.
    Harold and I have mugs from every time to we went to Dollywood or Disney World. It’s more than a cup of coffee – it’s revisiting the whole trip again.

    Liked by 1 person

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