The Visit by Robert Vaughan

My husband’s parents are here.


They’re the kind of parents who bounce around from kid to kid, now that we’re adults, looking for something. The kind of parents who say they love being with their kids, yet when they’re here, only talk to us. Rarely to each other. And with each impending visit, they stay slightly longer. Months.

As if by being here they can avoid the ponderous silence at home. They tend to hover close. Love loading the dishwasher. Eager to vacuum. Make a different bread every day: pumpernickel raisin or whole wheat/ rye with sunflower seeds. Sounds great, I know. But my anxiety increases, as does pressure to constantly entertain them. His father, Elvin, says, “Honey, did you know your tile is cracked on this top step?” “Yes, Dad,” which I call him because mine is dead. “That happened the last time you were here.”

“You ought to get that fixed,” he says. Then adds, “There’s always something to do with a house, isn’t there? There’s no end.” I want to say, how the hell do you know? You’re never home?

Instead I call Rodney, make a perm appointment for Mom, her hair so short that he uses pink and blue rods. Her hair already looks pubic. Beverly surveys the broken step. She says, “Next time we go to Costco, we’ll get some super glue. I’ll fix it.”

I pop a Xanax, write a postcard, address it to myself: HELP!

Never send it.


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Filed under Robert Vaughan

26 responses to “The Visit by Robert Vaughan

  1. Very nice, love the ending and the treatment, thanks for sharing.

  2. Have you been spying on me? :)

  3. guy

    I’m not sure exactly how it works, but i get a sense of anxiety when reading this. It makes me tense in the way that in-laws generally do. I like the detail about calling the father ‘Dad.’

  4. You’ve drilled right into the heart of the relationships here. Nicely put.

  5. Thanks one and all…I LOVE 52/250!!! Just cannot fathom what my life was before joining this wonderful, supportive writing group!

  6. Great story, Robert! The postcards are an incredible addition this week, too!

  7. Katya

    My favorite story this week. I can relate 100%!

  8. This was great, amusing and disturbing and way too real!

  9. Just returned from a looooong weekend with my MIL, and you nailed that tense sensation that builds after, say, about six hours. Disturbing and funny all at once.

    And did I tell you how much I LOVE your postcards? Super stuff! Peace…

  10. Thankfully my in-laws don’t speak English. LOL

    Great job on the voice here (double checked your name because I was sure a woman must have written it).

    Love the cards as well. What a great project.

    • You are so lucky about the language barrier! Okay, maybe not entirely, but still…thanks about the voice, I often write from a female character’s p.o.v.. could be from growing up with three sisters and no bro’s? Who knows. But I assure you this was mine!
      And thanks for enjoying the cards, Al, so glad you liked them.

  11. Al McDermid

    Actually I was joking about the language barrier. In my case it’s unfortunate since they are actually very nice.

    Collage is one of my other art forms, so yeah, I liked the cards a lot. Perhaps of interest:

    • Ah, so you tricked me about the language barrier! HA! Just kidding, we all tend to take everything at such “face value,” don’t we? In any case, I did check out your art, my goodness, you are multi-talented sir. I want to spend more time taking these collages in, and I shall over the weekend. Thanks for the link!

      • Al McDermid

        Thank you. That’s very kind, though it was your talent as a collage artist that prompted sending the link (glad you liked what you saw); do you have the postcards or any other art up on the web?

  12. Pingback: First Flurries « One Writer's Life

  13. I absolutely loved this–not just the story, but the rhythm of the language and way it built as it went. Truly brilliant.

  14. Pingback: Week #28 – the postcard | 52|250 A Year of Flash

  15. Pyonker

    Made me smile. The words turned quickly to images and feelings I could relate to. Xxoo

    • Hi Patricia,

      So happy that you read this and commented. Please feel free to do so with any or all of my writing that I link you to! Nice to know you have been here and left your mark!

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