Numbered Mind

Three is my favourite number. But after that candle-incident, it’s now four.

There are four candles in my cake. Mom and Dad want me to blow them all. I didn’t. Mom shouted, but not at me. She cried, wailed on the floor while I group the pasta strands in three, silently. She went inside their room then went out with her four-wheel bag. She hugged me tight. She said sorry and I love you, four times each. She left.

I think her favorite number is four.

Dad hugged me, told me not to cry. I didn’t. I can’t count my tears. I don’t like things I can’t count. Just like my mouth don’t like words it cannot say, which is all.

24 days after, mom’s still not home but I am happy. ‘Cause for the first time, Dad and I went out of the house. I can’t look at people’s eyes but I am amazed to see the long staircase. Excited to count them, I run and climbed up, up and up. I am in 44th step when I looked back.

I can’t see Dad.

Maybe his favourite number is five.

Word count: 190

©2016 Rosemawrites@A Reading Writer. All Rights Reserved.

Photo credit: Louise of Storyteller’s Abode

In response to Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers (FFfAW) March 08, 2016.


  • a flash fiction challenge (stories in 100-175 words or less)
  • each story should have a beginning, a middle, and an end
  • no serial (continuation) stories
  • include a pingback to the challenge post

Thank you for a beautiful prompt, Priceless Joy!


This is inspired by a fictional character from the book I am currently reading; Love Anthony by Lisa Genova.

Read more short stories here:

88 thoughts on “Numbered Mind”

  1. Wow, Rosema! This is deep! The young girl and her mother both have OCD but over different numbers, so her mother leaves. After her mother leaves she takes over the number her mother loved and now her dad leaves because he loves a different number than her or her mother. Even though it is jumbled mess, it makes sense! Does that make me crazy?? Hahaha! GREAT story!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh. I am so sorry if that is how the story has mean to you.

      It is actually like this. The child has autism. He cannot talk.
      His mom got tired of him and that candle-incident made her explode like a bomb. Thus leaving him. Now. his dad also left him. They cannot handle a child with autism anymore.

      Thank you, PJ.


      1. Oh, I didn’t catch the autism, I thought it was OCD (a mental disorder) because it seemed the mother had the same thing since her favorite number was 4 (and wanted to see everything in fours) and the child’s favorite number was 3 (and wanted everything to be in threes). I loved the story anyway, Rosema and that’s what’s important – not necessarily that we all get the same meaning.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Makulit means a person who teases someone, often in a physical way but could also be verbal, and considered a positive attribute. A kind of playfulness that friends in the Filipino culture consider a positive attribute. 🙂


    2. haha I think I caught this same meaning!! 😛 OCD was what struck me when I read these words, but poetry can never be judged with ONE meaning.. it conveys different things to different people. 🙂 That’s especially when the poet is amazing like you! 😉 :*

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Wow, complex. OCD all of them? How do you reconcile all those numbers to people who suffer from OCD? Maybe you can’t? That is so sad. Well done my friend. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Moving, thought-provoking, and heart breaking. Shame on me for not recognizing the autistic aspects until l saw your explanation to PricelessJoy. Since we have several autistics (various areas of the spectrum) in our family I should have.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh thank you so much for your kind words. 🙂

      It’s okay. 🙂 Mandi said there is a lot of similarity between autism and OCD (you might thought of that, too). And maybe I wasn’t clear enough. 🙂

      Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Any similarities between OCD and autism are in appearance only. OCD is an anxiety disorder while those with ASD have repetitive/ritualistic behaviors that are likely beyond their ability to control or understand.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh… thank you for that clarification. 🙂 The book, which inspired me to write this, talks about autism. That is why the character of this tale has indeed an autism. I tried to describe it as clear as I can. 🙂
        Thanks again!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh wow, Rosema. What a creative piece this is. After reading it I felt so sad for the child, to have been left by both parents. Way to go at tugging the heart strings. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh thank you so much, Thomas! (for your insightful thoughts and for back-reading! *kilig*)

      Yes.. I feel sad for him and I feel some guilt because I do that to him. But…it do happens in real life, sadly.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You are welcome, Rosema 🙂 I have missed your work and have been looking forward to reading you all week! It does happen, I know.


      2. 🙂 🙂 Yes, it has been for me these past few weeks. I finish this project on Monday and after that I am free until June so I hope to be able to get back to reading and writing more regularly.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I had forgotten to post my story to the Blue Froggy yesterday, and realized that I hadn’t seen anyone’s stories! So, I went to the linkup and posted mine, and then, saw yours!
    It’s a beautiful story, Rosema! Very moving! I like how you used numbers to tell the story — the child understands the world in the only rational way she or he can. Nicely done!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This reminds me of the book, “Al Capone Does My Shirts” by Gennifer Choldenko. Have you read it.
    And I’m also reminded of “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time.” A stunningly beautiful book, which you must read, if you haven’t already done so.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Vijaya! I am glad this little piece has reminded you of two great books. 🙂 Yes, I have read The Curious Incident.. That book was also mentioned in the novel that inspired this piece which is Love Anthony by Lisa Genova. Have you read that? 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Autism can be so hard on parents. I feel sorry for the poor child, abandoned by both of his/her parents. I love the use of the child’s viewpoint – the way they view everyone else as having the same number fixation as them. A powerful story, really we’ll done. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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