Mama’s Favorite

“Why does Uncle Calvin do that ?” I asked. “Why does he have to be so grumpy all the time?”

“It’s beyond knowing,” replied Aunt Dru, with a shake of her head. “He’s a hard man to understand. A real enigma, that one. Our mama–your grandma–always showed him special treatment, like he was her favorite. But he never acted like he was anyone’s favorite. Never enjoyed being the favorite, I mean. Always ducked out early. Never wanted to be in the center of anything. Preferred being by himself. When he had to be with the family–no choice to it–he’d just drift about on the edge, waiting for an opportunity to leave. It was like the company of others enjoying themselves was just too hard to bear, and he couldn’t stand the pressure of it.”

“That doesn’t give him the right to be mean. Looks like he’d have some sympathy for someone else if he knows how it feels to be the awkward one.”

“Oh, it comes with practice, I guess. He’s practiced his way for so long, it just comes natural. Even if he has a thought for someone else, it comes too late. And he doesn’t know how to put himself aside. He’s nursed his own hurts so well and for so long, they’ve grown big enough to boss him around.”

“What kind of hurts?” I asked.

“The usual kind. Just the ordinary kind everybody gets. Calvin just didn’t seem to know how to walk on through them. He stopped and picked up every one of them hurts and carried them with him. Still carrying them. Guess he thinks nobody else has anything to carry. Makes him resent happiness when he sees it. Like it’s something wrong, somehow. Like if you offer him some joy or have some joy of your own, you’re just poking fun at him. Laughing at his load of hurt.” Aunt Dru sighed. “It shouldn’t have turned out that way. He was Mama’s favorite.”


This is my entry in the Trifecta Writing Challenge using the 3rd definition of enigma–a mysterious or inscrutable person.


Cheese Doodles and Other Misunderstandings-Made with real cheese that gives a melt-in-your-mouth flavor you can’t resist.


About paulajwray

I am a writer and I live in the Rocky Mountains of southwest Colorado with my husband and a balding black cat. I write humor, flash fiction, creative non-fiction, inspirational essays, and poetry. When I'm not writing, making lists, or forcing a family member to listen to something I've written, I'm reading, gardening, or laughing with my friends. I also, occasionally, sit and stare.
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14 Responses to Mama’s Favorite

  1. The dialogue here is perfect – And I love the aunt’s wisdom. Note: The link on Trifecta didn’t take me here, but to a broken link page on your blog.

    • Paula J says:

      Thank you for liking my dialogue. I love imagining conversations–hearing their voices. I try not to let too many people know I hear voices. It sounds kind of spooky, but it’s not at all. It’s more like eavesdropping.
      Thanks for the heads up on the broken link. That’s happened before and I don’t have a clue what to do to prevent or fix it.

  2. Annabelle says:

    Love the idea that his hurts grew big enough to boss him around; that image says so much. Well done!

  3. I love the way the aunt imparted the wisdom without getting too preachy. It sounds like the speaker here feels a little socially awkward, and the aunt doesn’t want her to turn out like uncle Paul. Just copy-paste-submit your link to trifecta a second time and name it something like “the real Paula J”. We’re allowed to submit up to three anyway 🙂

  4. Paula J says:

    Thanks for reading my post even though it was hard to get to. And thanks for the suggestion. I’ll try it.

  5. jannatwrites says:

    Your second link worked (that’s how I got here :))

    I bet the aunt understands her brother better than he knows himself. I like her summation at the end that “it shouldn’t have turned out that way. He was Mama’s favorite.”

  6. Paula J says:

    It’s good to be someone’s favorite. Too bad Calvin didn’t realize that.

  7. Debbie says:

    I like “the usual kind” of hurts. Sooooo good!

    • Paula J says:

      Isn’t it fun to be able to put words together to come out with something that is “just right”? Thanks for reading and commenting. I am practically courting my mailbox.

  8. Thanks so much for linking up. I loved the characters in your story. Like someone else already said, the aunt gives us a lesson without preaching it–hard to do, harder to write. Mama’s favorite came to life, too. Who doesn’t know the guy who collects hurts? Great job with the prompt. Hope you’ll come back soon.

  9. Paula J says:

    Thanks for telling me what you liked. These prompts have been great to work with. Writing is sooo much fun.

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