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Funny Drama

“I’m terrified that I failed as a mother.”

She doesn’t look me in the eye. Instead, she looks slightly off to the side at my mini, indoor, water fountain. I find the constant rhythm of babbling water to be soothing and comforting. Perhaps she finds the sight of it does the same for her.

“That is an exceptionally common fear.” I smile at her reassuringly. She briefly meets my eyes. “I might even say the fear of failure is the most common fear.”

“But it’s more than that.”

“Oh?”

“If I failed my kid, I ruined his life.” Her hazel eyes shine with unshed tears. She bends over her knees and digs her manicured hands into her dyed-blonde hair.

I pause. “Will you elaborate on that for me?”

“I,” she took a deep breath. “I let him down. Somewhere along the way, I stopped being the mother he needed. Maybe I never was, and because of that he wasn’t guided on what to do.”

“Mhm.” I nod along while writing more notes down.

“And now, he doesn’t trust me. He doesn’t tell me anything about his life anymore.” The tears were now slipping down her face. “So I continue to be a failure.”

I sit back a little and allow myself to show compassion. “It’s impossible not to make some mistakes as a parent, but trying alone means you are not a failure.”

She smiles, but it lack vivacity. “I try to do the wrong things.”

“What do you mean?”

“I was so focused on how we looked on the outside, I didn’t notice how broken we were on the inside.”

“I see.” I check the time. “Perhaps we can pick this up next week, Jessica?”

“Yes, thanks Becca.” She wipes her eyes and smiles as we walk out.

I speak to the receptionist as we approach the front desk. “Kate? Would you mind helping Mrs. Hayward set up her next appointment?” 

“Of course!”

* * *

“You have a new client starting today.” Kate smiles at me as though she knows something no one else does.

“Oh, really?” I decide to humor her. “Do you know who it is?”

“No, but I bet you do.”

I quirk an eyebrow at her and go into my office. Turning on my water fountain, and opening the top window blinds to let the natural light in, I settle in for my day of therapy. It isn’t until four in the afternoon that I realize what was so entertaining to Kate. I walk out to the front, call his name, and point him to the couch in my office.

Taking my own seat, I pull out the new client paperwork. “Jared, is it?”

“Yes.”

“Mhm.” I school my face into a neutral expression. “And, how did you connect with us?”

“My fiancé.” He shrugs. “She thought it would be helpful for us, for me, to work through some things.”

“I see. What are you here to see me for?”

“My mom.”

“Oh?”

“I feel like she let me down.”

I clear my throat as inconspicuously as possible. “Why do you think that?”

“She always seemed so focussed on making us look good to everyone else, but it just feels like she never paid attention to me other than that.”

“I’m … sorry to hear that.” I squirm in my chair. “I imagine that was a very difficult way to grow up.”

“But this isn’t just how I grew up, she’s still that way.”

“Oh? How so?”

“Like, just last night, we were at the house and she was just interrogating us about the details of the wedding.” He groans in frustration and runs a hand through his hair.

“That doesn’t seem like such a bad thing.” 

“It’s just … it’s what flowers we’re choosing, and what colors we’re doing, all this … all this …”

“Superficial?” That seems harsh.

“Yes, exactly.” He throws his hands up. “How am I supposed to have a conversation about marriage when she acts like that?”

“That’s a perfectly reasonable question.”

* * *

“Benjamin? Please, come in.” We both settle in and I pull out the new client paperwork. 

“Please, call me Ben.”

“How did you connect with us?”

“My wife.”

“Your wife recommended you to me?” My eyes widen in surprise. Why on Earth?

“No, no.” He rubs his neck abashedly. “She recommended I do therapy, but I found the place myself. I should’ve been more clear.”

“That’s alright.” For heaven’s sake! “Are you here to discuss familial matters?” 

“No, well, kind of.”

“Hm?”

“I have a great relationship with my wife and my son, and they have a great relationship with each other.”

“I see.” Is he serious? I jot down some notes. “So, what’s wrong then?”

“It’s the dishes.”

“The … dishes?”

“They’re never put away right!”

“That’s very unfortunate.” I clear my throat and adjust myself in my chair. “Have you ever brought this up?”

“Of course! But no one seems to care as much as I do.” He almost sulks as he leans back and crosses his arms. 

“I’m sure that’s not true. Maybe you should try explaining why the dishes need to be put away in a certain way.”

“Yeah, alright.” He perks up. “I’ll try that.”

“Wonderful. Do you think we’re at a good place to pause and pick up next week?”

* * *

“I’m trying so hard, but he just seems so uninterested!” Jessica slumps against the chair. “What else can I possibly do?”

“Have you tried just talking to him?”

“Excuse me?”

“I mean about how you’re feeling.” I switch my crossed legs and glance to the side. What am I doing?

“Oh, right, of course.” She thinks for a second. “I’ve tried, I think. But he doesn’t want to hear it.”

“What makes you think that?” 

“I was asking about their wedding plans, he’s getting married, but he barely responded at all.”

“Mhm.” How do I explain this?

“It’s like he’s not even listening to a word I’m saying!”

“Mhm.”

“What do I do?”

“Try looking at it from his side. Maybe you’ll realize why he seems so disconnected.”

* * *

“Is your mother as frustrating as mine?” Jared exclaims then folds his arms in irritation. 

“I think everyone struggles with their mother.” I smile reassuringly. “Can you explain the situation?”

“She keeps forcing herself on me.” He grumbles in exasperation. “It’s like she thinks we’re connecting, but I have no idea where she’s coming from.”

“Mhm.”

“She went dress shopping with my fiancé, and Bella, my fiancé, told me she just complained about the dress not being elaborate enough.”

“Your mother does seem to have expensive taste.” I nod my head in agreement.

“What?”

“Oh! Um, nothing.” You can’t say stuff like that! “Give her a chance. She may be trying, in her own way, and the best thing you can do is try to acknowledge that.”

* * *

“I talked to them about the dishes.” Ben settles into the couch.

“How did they respond?”

“Really well actually.” He smiles, looking relieved.

“That’s great. Are there any other problems going on at home?”

“The socks.”

“Socks?” I raise an eyebrow questioningly.

“They’re everywhere! It’s like she just flings them off when she gets home and never bothers to put them away.”

“Mhm.”

“What do I do?”

I sigh inaudibly. What is with this guy?

* * *

“He’s so mad with me now.”

“What happened, Jessica?”

“I told them they should change venues to something better, but I guess they like the ‘rustic’ feel.” She practically rolls her eyes. “It doesn’t seem entirely appropriate to me.”

This isn’t your wedding. “I see. Perhaps you should take a step back from the situation.”

“What do you mean?”

“This is your son’s and his fiancé’s day. He may have a different vision for their wedding day than you do, and you should allow for that.” 

* * *

“She’s gone too far this time!” Jared practically yells. “She told us to change venues because the one we chose wasn’t ‘big enough.’ Can you believe that?”

Yes. “You have every right to be frustrated.”

“She wants to be in charge of everything.”

“Mhm.”

“It’s our day, you know?”

“Mhm.”

“We should have it the way we want it.”

“I agree.” I begin taking notes. “Your mother’s taking it too far.”

“Do you already know about this?”

“What? No, no.” I look up in surprise. “Of course not, Mr. Hayward. How would I?”

November 21, 2020 03:36

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80 comments

Radhika Diksha
06:16 Dec 02, 2020

I love the therapist actually. I fit would be a long story I bet she would have slapped everybody and would make the family have a discussion. I loved the idea and the storyline was so unique. I know how anxiety and depression feel. I read in your comments that you too were suffering mental illness at a point in your life. You are a very brave person. Overall I loved the story. Will you give me feedback on my story "A shade apart" I would love it if you do.

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Anna Elizabeth
07:37 Dec 02, 2020

Thank you so much! I'm sure she would've, she would probably go crazy if she didn't. Anxiety and depression are something I always have to deal with and my heart goes out to you for experiencing them too. I just remember to push through hard times because the good times are worth it! I'll leave feedback on your story as soon as I get the chance.

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Radhika Diksha
07:58 Dec 02, 2020

Yes, thank you for your kind words. I think even I'm going to apply for a therapist soon. Wish me luck. yeah but sometimes you fail because the good times don't come at all. Then you have to find happiness in small things. The world is crazy.

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Anna Elizabeth
08:16 Dec 02, 2020

Very true, but good times always come, just not always when we expect them. I would absolutely recommend a therapist, mine helped me immensely. Good luck! And you can always talk to me if you need help through a particularly difficult moment!

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Radhika Diksha
08:43 Dec 02, 2020

thankyou so much. can i ask you something?

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Anna Elizabeth
18:52 Dec 02, 2020

Of course!

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05:38 Nov 24, 2020

Wow, I pity the therapist! XD The story is well-written. The flow was smooth and organised.

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Anna Elizabeth
18:50 Nov 24, 2020

Haha! Thank you!

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05:48 Nov 25, 2020

:)

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John Del Rio
06:51 Dec 16, 2020

Well done like all of your work. My only wonder is whether or not the therapist would see treating the family members separately as a conflict of interest. I like the therapist’s thoughts and how it does seem to maybe influence the treatment. And I like the end. You did a nice job with this prompt.

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Anna Elizabeth
07:04 Dec 16, 2020

Thank you! Since this is a situational comedy the actual logistics of treating multiple members of one family isn't really a concern. Obviously, that would be a conflict of interest and wouldn't happen in real life. I wanted to do something with this prompt that I thought no one else would come up with, and I just thought "what if everyone in a family was going to the same therapist."

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John Del Rio
13:46 Dec 16, 2020

Nice. I know what you mean. Like with Special Ingredient I wondered about a shopkeeper paying for protection from a criminal type, and actually asking that something be done when they felt like they hadn’t been protected.

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John Del Rio
13:46 Dec 16, 2020

Nice. I know what you mean. Like with Special Ingredient I wondered about a shopkeeper paying for protection from a criminal type, and actually asking that something be done when they felt like they hadn’t been protected.

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Madison Smith
16:20 Dec 04, 2020

Great job! I liked the italicized mental thoughts and I really liked the ending! :)

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Anna Elizabeth
17:45 Dec 04, 2020

Thank you so much!

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Madison Smith
18:00 Dec 04, 2020

Of course!

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Shea West
06:58 Dec 04, 2020

This made me think of what goes through a therapists mind when they see a patient in public. Like, do they start to dissect their every little whim? The overlap of patients would be so hard!

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Anna Elizabeth
17:50 Dec 04, 2020

Right? Especially if the clients somehow know each other, therapists know so much I don't know how they could put that aside when they spot clients out and about!

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Regina Perry
16:17 Dec 02, 2020

Great story! It was neat that it was all about the same family but from the therapist's point of view. I loved the way Ben came into things. It was so random the way he was upset about little, obvious things that could be easily resolved by just bringing them up in conversation--which is kind of a lower-stakes version of the relationship between Jared and Jessica. Just so you know, when talking about a woman, the right word to use is fiancée, not fiancé. It's pronounced the same, so lots of people don't know to distinguish between them.

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Anna Elizabeth
18:57 Dec 02, 2020

Thank you so much! I actually do know the difference, the words originate in France so they have feminine and masculine pronunciations. I thought I did make that differentiation, but I obviously didn't, thanks for pointing it out.

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Matthew Hummel
22:07 Nov 25, 2020

I enjoyed this a lot. My wife’s a therapist and my mom is controlling so I found this very relatable. The way the story unravels primarily through dialogue was great, I liked that it took a few paragraphs (for me at least) to get an idea of what was going on. Having the dad as comic relief was smart and refreshing, it broke up the intensity nicely. I think it’s a good foundation. My only critique is that I don’t think it’s implausible that a therapist might say “Your mother is taking it too far.” Without knowing the mother. I think t...

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Anna Elizabeth
22:14 Nov 25, 2020

Thank you so much! It's the incriminating line because she already kind of gives herself away earlier when she says "Your mother does seem to have expensive taste." Because it's the second time, he starts to pick up on it.

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Ray Dyer
15:57 Nov 25, 2020

Nice job, Anna! I have to admit that I was a little nervous reading comedy about someone who is dealing with people who might have mental health issues, but the story doesn't take things that far. Reading it a second time, I was able to relax a little more and enjoy the perfectly normal relationship between the guy and his mom, and the increasing mistakes from the therapist. I'm curious where the guy with the socks ends up. I mean, I'm glad he got the dishes taken care of and everything, but...what if they draw the line at cleaning up ...

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Anna Elizabeth
20:26 Nov 25, 2020

Haha thank you! Having suffered from mental illness myself, I know that you have to approach it right. While I think you can go that far, I decided not to for this. I just took my experiences with a therapist that I thought were kind of funny and turned it into a situational comedy by going over the top with it.

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Lourenço Amorim
13:20 Nov 23, 2020

Normally there are moral issues when the same therapist attends people of the same family. Serious issues, it can't be a secret. Besides, that is a good story, well-paced and with a good humor time.

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Anna Elizabeth
19:04 Nov 23, 2020

Yes, I know, that's why it's a comedy. Thanks for reading and commenting!

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00:18 Nov 23, 2020

Thank you for giving my story a chance! I thought your's was very good! I liked the husband; he was funny. I thought it was interesting how the family ended up the the same therapist. One tiny critique: “You wife recommended you to me?” -Did you mean your? Other than that, that's all. I enjoyed your story!

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Anna Elizabeth
02:09 Nov 23, 2020

Thank you!

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Chacko Stephen
06:48 May 12, 2021

Haha, this was actually so brilliant. The interconnection between the different clients somehow turns unnaturally funny. And her thoughts constantly made me laugh out loud. Great idea, brilliant execution. Loved it!

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Anna Elizabeth
16:36 May 12, 2021

Thank you so much! It was my first try at comedy so I’m kind of blown away by how well liked it is. I’m glad you enjoyed it and were able to get some good laughs out of it!

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Elize Volschenk
21:16 May 03, 2021

This was so good! Thank you! The comedy of the situation from the outside looking in is so much fun. And then you really start to think about the characters and realize how much more depth there is to this than just situational comedy. If that was your intention, which I'm guessing it was, it's truly truly well done.

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Anna Elizabeth
23:47 May 03, 2021

Thank you so much! Yes, that was my intention, so I'm really glad it came across.

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Rose Of Venus
12:35 Apr 19, 2021

I absolutely love this, Sweetheart! I think the husband was the funniest. First the dishes, then the socks. OCD much? I say that in the most loving manner, as my mother, grandmother, and I have OCD. I love the way this story flows and it's uniqueness. I've been to about 5 different therapists and only liked one enough to open up to, so I kind of find it funny that all four members of this family opened up so easily to the same therapist. However, kudos to this therapist for not slapping all of them and not actually revealing that she knew a...

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Anna Elizabeth
18:46 Apr 19, 2021

Thank you, I know that it could never happen in real life, which is why it's a comedy. I just took my personal experience with therapy wondered what would be going through my therapist's mind if she knew the points of view of everyone involved.

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Roni Tong
05:28 Jan 09, 2021

Although I know therapists, in real life, aren't allowed to treat people they have a personal relationship with, this was a really fun little story to read. It flows really well and I was really entertained by all the complaints. but I think the part where she talks to the receptionist could be more subtle. Or maybe that part doesn't even need to exist. And the 'sessions' could be less interlaced at the beginning, so we can slowly make our own guesses.

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Anna Elizabeth
21:57 Jan 09, 2021

Thank you so much! I tried writing this several different ways, but I found that it was most entertaining if the reader knew from the beginning that the clients were in the same family. Of course, that choice isn't going to work for everyone, so I'm glad you still enjoyed it.

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Kate M
00:59 Dec 07, 2020

This is an amazing story! It’s charming, funny, yet layered with a struggle between a mother and a son. Beautiful work! ❤️

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Anna Elizabeth
01:33 Dec 07, 2020

Thank you so much!

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Tempest Wright
19:02 Dec 04, 2020

I found this both amusing from the POV you chose, and sad at the family breakdown. You made it both realistic and a fun read!! Awesome story!

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Anna Elizabeth
20:27 Dec 04, 2020

Thank you so much! I’m glad the you felt both emotions that I really wanted to get across.

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Meera Lakshmi
04:01 Dec 04, 2020

Very nice!!! I enjoyed it! I liked the internal dialogue.

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Anna Elizabeth
17:50 Dec 04, 2020

Thank you!

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Meera Lakshmi
18:42 Dec 04, 2020

Yeah!!

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Kesey Trout
20:53 Nov 30, 2020

I love this story! I've never read something that could be funny and dramatic at the same time. I love how the therapist was the narrator, something I would have never thought of. Well done!

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Anna Elizabeth
21:44 Nov 30, 2020

Thank you so much!

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Keerththan 😀
09:05 Nov 29, 2020

The therapist is dieing every minute. Awesome story and a creative take in the prompt. I enjoyed reading this. Cool story. Keep writing. Would you mind reading my new story “Childish dream?”

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Anna Elizabeth
20:12 Nov 29, 2020

Thank you! I'll check it out when I get the chance!

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Nainika Gupta
21:16 Nov 28, 2020

Omg, this story was hilarious!! I loved the different times that this story happened in and it wasn't at all choppy or disjointed. You did an amazing job with the flow and the cohesiveness! Well done!!

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Anna Elizabeth
23:09 Nov 28, 2020

Thank you so much!

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Nainika Gupta
23:10 Nov 28, 2020

Of course!!

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