The car pulled up to the front of the big box store, and the young man jumped from the cold pavement into the warm passenger seat.
He looked over at his mother, who smiled genuinely as only somebody who loved and protected this fiercely could.
“How’d it go, Stevie?” she finally managed through a tight mouth, under sad eyes, carrying his heavy weight of hope and even heavier load of frustrations and the now-near-strangling pile of futility.
Her 22-year-old son actually managed some cheer this day, the gray clouds parting for once during this usually joyless routine of a job search for a kid you really needed to get to know to appreciate.
“There was this really nice girl Margaret who took me to the computer and helped me figure out exactly how to apply, Mom,” Stevie said in a rush, instead of the usual negative grunts and groans and I-don’t-knows in reply to her questions.
“Wow! That’s pretty cool. What did you apply for, hon?” she said, catching up with his enthusiasm.
“What do you mean? A job at the store!” her son answered. “I told Margaret I wanted to work with her, and she showed me how to sign on and then …”
“Is it in the warehouse, maybe? Maintenance? We talked about this, Stevie. These are the things I told you that you’re qualified to accomplish at the store.”
“Sorry, mom. I forgot about that. But Margaret helped me sign on. Let’s just go back tomorrow and see if I got it, OK?”
She sighed, and smiled that smile again, and drove them home, ready to repeat the instructions carefully again and drive to another store the next day.
This quick, short tale of flash fiction was inspired by my time working at the store, where there’s an employment kiosk and plenty of folks with dreams of landing that needed job.
Feel free to use the premise of a job search, the kid, mom, the store, or all of the above for a flash fiction story of your own. If you do, please link it back to the comment section here so we can see what you’ve done.