Pretending for love

Pretending for love

A Story by Tegon Maus

Left to my own devices I would never have gone... never, but my wife can be very persuasive. I did as she asked and found myself sitting on hard chairs in a very dull office



Do you know how strawberries grow?  The most unlikely thing finds the most unlikely of places and begins to set down roots.  If the conditions are right the roots dig fast and deep.  Then it sends out tendrils... one or two at first.  They stretch out as far as they can reach and then the tip digs in and sets down roots.  Then as you would suspect, it sends out tendrils of its own... I get it.  Intellectually I get it.  Emotionally, now that's the fly in the ointment.  That was the hardest day of my life.

Left to my own devices I would never have gone... never,  but my wife can be very persuasive.  I did as she asked and found myself sitting on hard chairs in a very dull office.

She held my hand tightly as the white coat came to have his say... straight from the hip, no sugar, right between the eyes.  The first time I heard it was like a ton of bricks and I couldn't breathe.  Your mind plays tricks and you say "No way.  Not me."   It takes a while for it to soak in, to become what it will be in your head from that moment forward.

I joked about it, made light of it, teased my wife endlessly.  Later at home, alone at last, I sat on the end of the bed and let it truly soak in, to fill me and to be honest, overwhelm me and I cried.

As always my wife knew how I felt and sitting on the bed, her arm around me, we cried together.  I was embarrassed by my tears.  I didn't want her to see me this way.

I didn't want her to have that picture of me in her head.

I didn't want her to think I was that guy so the next day we pretended.  I pretended I never cried and she pretended she never saw me. I didn't want her to worry or to be afraid.  She in turn didn't want me to worry or be afraid for her so we pretended.

So I did as they asked and I laid on that table. 

"Problem solved!" 

After a month or two I began to believe it myself. I joked and teased and all was right with the world.  A year slipped by and then another and by its end I found myself on that table again.

I had my head wrapped around it now... nothing, no one,  no white coat could ever tell me when to come, when to go, or how long I could stay.  I've beaten it before and I can do it again.

"Problem solved!  This time for sure!"

Again, a month, two months and another year slipped away and we pretended.  We joked, we played and life by-in-large was fun.

"In the long run, it would be best.  This time for sure." And I laid on that table once more... eight?  Nine?  Eleven?  "This time for sure!" I lost count, it didn't matter anymore.

I joke and I tease and I pretend that it's not really important so she won't be afraid.

Now we lay in the dark, she in my arms,  her fingers gently twisting in my chest hair and we talk about the past, about how much fun we've had as the years have gone by.  We talk about all the little things that happened that day and we talk about the future.

"I'll go ahead and find us a nice place.  I'll wait for you," I say.

"Can we live at the beach this time?" She asks.

"I will see to it personally." 

"Liar," she sighs happily and kisses my chest.

"Shrew," I return softly and kiss her forehead, patting her affectionately before we fall asleep with dreams of tomorrow and for another chance to pretend for love.



© 2017 Tegon Maus

My Review

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thankyou for entering this wonderful piece into my contest. I took this as non fiction as real about you, forgive me if i am wrong. please let me know if its about you or a fiction, but anyways loved it, loved the way you started with the plant and then the operations and the love and the pretending, i loved it, thanks so much, good luck

Posted 5 Months Ago

Thank you for entering my recent contest "Without you".
Interesting and powerful piece here.
This was a difficult piece to deliberate over.
As you may imagine, many factors come in to play when considering a work for short film/video adaptation: production means and limitations; interpretative appeal for the other artists (photographers/voice-over actors) onboard etc.

This is in my reading list for future reviews and project considerations. :-) Peace.

Posted 2 Years Ago

I enjoyed reading that very much, I personally love how you started by talking about the strawberry and how it grows. It didn't make sense to me in the beginning but by the end I understood how it was related to the main subject of the story. Well done it was amazing and good job on getting first place you deserved it.

Posted 3 Years Ago

Tegon Maus

3 Years Ago

You are very kind to say so Laura... thanks for the read.
Congratulations on being awarded first place!

Posted 3 Years Ago

Tegon Maus

3 Years Ago

Thank you Kana for the read not to mention the placement.
i loved it! keep up the good work!

Posted 3 Years Ago

For characters with depth the can be seen far beyond the context of the story, I gave full marks. For a clear and essential setting, I gave full marks. Instead of introducing a life changing event ¾ of the way through the story, Tegon has made the entire story about that event. The experience of his narrator is one that changes lives. For that, I gave full marks. For conflict, obstacles and resolution, I gave 4 of 5 marks, as I felt that the story was too vague, with references at the end that I'm left wondering about. I know what I think happens, but I'm not sure. For me, that takes away from the story. Keep your critics close, and your readers closer. Be decisive in your writing so that it paints a clear, sure picture in the minds of your reader even after the story is over. I don't want to give too much away for those who may not have read it yet, so I won't go into details. Overall, this was a great piece, one with a bit of tweaking could easily be a five star flash.

Congratulations, Tegon Maus! I look forward to reading more from you in the future!

- Jess

Posted 4 Years Ago

It's verry heart warming yes sad like you said but and in the end it is happy I like this write

Posted 4 Years Ago

Tegon, this is so impressive. It is short but a lot of emotion were present. I love the fact that until the end, the husband and wife stay together because there is love...although they have to pretend some aspects in order to feel that there's no big difference from yesterday to today....

Nice job!

Posted 5 Years Ago

Tegon, the first paragraph set the stage for what was to come. I could picture the cancer spreading and weaving tendrils throughout. The last paragraph almost had me in tears. I could see him going ahead and preparing a place for them to live together when she comes to join him. Well written piece. I am so happy I could place you in my contest. Thank you for submitting. Angi~

Posted 5 Years Ago

Tegon, a great piece of flash fiction. Short and Powerful. Well done.

Posted 5 Years Ago

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14 Reviews
Shelved in 3 Libraries
Added on September 19, 2013
Last Updated on July 23, 2017


Tegon Maus
Tegon Maus


Dearheart, my wife of forty nine years and I live in Cherry Valley, a little town of 8,200 in Southern California. In that time, I've built a successful remodeling /contracting business. But th.. more..