The Pretty Mom's Lesson.

A short story about a boy and his charming, but highly unpredictable mother.

Alexey Pavlov. Literary art and personal blog.

Translated into English by the author. 

The Pretty Mom's Lesson.

She’s been a young bonny mom, and she’s got a teenager son. No dad and that was a quite common thing these days, so she was both a stick and a carrot for her kid.

She is not a manager, rather a labor, and rarely has a well-paid job. A credit chain in a consistent way and every morning she doesn’t get an ability for an extra minute to sleep a bit longer than yesterday or any days before. And all that has a profound affect her nerves like a Chinese drop steadily falling down on the top of the head. So her loved ones have recently started to press that their pretty young woman turns like a nervous wreck.

At times, she is snapping at someone around, but always quickly calms down. However, she has a prodigious good mind, and she is able to give a great lesson to one who thinks all of a sudden too much of himself. To predict her has never been easy. And this could be going to anybody, including her own teen, and especially him.

‘You’re frequently too darn worried, dear! the close relatives once told her. Get your anger out! Have some relax. You can do the dishes later and mopping, too. And drop away this damned laundry!’

‘Oh, no time for relax! she repeatedly said to them all. My kiddo comes in any minute. I gotta make some grub for him. Oh shit, so much trouble on working. I fed up with all of that. I’m sick of it all!’

She then complained again about her tomboy who had no desire of studying well either in school, or anywhere else. He’s hanging out with his cronies all day long while his mom is out.

‘He’s utterly gotten out of hand,’ she said crossly.
‘Maybe he should take up some sports? Hit the gym, for instance.’
‘Oh, he’s been doing it since last year. He got in touch with all kinds of punks there, and now they’re all hanging around I don’t even know where.’
‘Oh, yeh, but… still, you need to put him somewhere, maybe to some kind of cultural field: art school, music. What d’you make of it?’
‘Cultural stuff?.. Hm, yeah, it might be a really good idea. I gotta think about. Hm, and the music school is just next door. Ok, I should take a look out there.’
‘Our neighbor is a teacher therein, you know?’
‘Yes. A kind ahjussi.’
‘He is a good man. Come round, dear!’
‘Ok. And what does he do there?’
‘As I said, he is a music teacher. They say he’s downright a local star.’
‘Sure, his pupils perform at concerts in a consistent way.’
‘Don know, you might be right, and we’ve got to go to the culture.’ she thoughtfully sat down with a rag in her hand. ‘That’s actually better than hanging around the… Oh!.. too much talking with you! Got to run! Sorry, I gotta hit it!’
‘You poor girl are absolutely worn out!’ stated her relatives and they were right.

So, our lovely mom brought her son to a music school having a great desire him to get at least some culture.

There her son was listened to, forced clapping some rhythm, then following the piano, he gave out a couple of howls. In summary, the big persons announced: ‘Sure, he is an able one.’

‘Hey, what did they say, sonny?’
‘Put it down, mom, I don’t find it interesting!’ he was swaggering now a little.

Well, no desire to study here, but his mom frowned, and he sharply set upright himself, getting alert.

‘But why you’re scared now?’ she asked.
‘Not scared.’
‘Yes, you are.’
‘Not true, I’m not.’
‘You’re gonna getting your neck slapped?’
‘No! They said… they…’
‘Hold on, mom. They said… no an ear for music.’
‘Stop lying!’
‘I’m not lying.’
‘No, you are, as I said.’
‘Mom, please, no biggie. They also said that even Mr Chaliapin had no hearing too.’
‘A painter, mom.’
‘Mom, please, don’t!’
‘The painter?!’
‘Make some fun of my fantasy, mom!’

The juicy slapping on his neck has still happened.

‘Oh, mom!’
‘Don’t you dare on making a clowning!’

At this very point an important-looking man has appeared and came up to them.

‘Ah, ah, ah, that’s neither good, nor pedagogically, ma’am!’

The boy’s mother wanted to say something back, but before she could shape the words the man was keeping to speak:

‘Well, I think I can help you.’
‘Me?’ You’re sure?’
‘Your boy is accepted.’
‘Hm, ok, as I see, you liked my boy..’
‘No? Ok.’
‘I wanna say… Sure, he is a nice guy, but…’
‘Well, you see, everyone knows me and… and…’
‘I know that. D’you take him?’
‘Thank you! I’m really much obliged to you! And please, if he’s gonna be naughty, tell me, I’ll beat him. Just a little.’
‘Oh, you got nothing to worry about.’
‘I’d like to be on hoping. Ok… So, sonny, quickly say ‘thank you, sir!’ to the teacher!’
‘Thinki, s-si-r…’
‘What’s that? What are you babbling about? Your words are not fine, you dunce! I can give you upside the head in addition.’

‘Please, lady, stop doing that. This way is wrong, neither good, nor pedagogical. We can explain everything in words, can’t we?’
‘Oh yes, sir, and we can kick his neck! Just to better understand.’

The teacher put on even more an air of importance and said sternly referring to his newly minted pupil:

‘Hey, watch it, young boy! My disciples are actually perfect! You should do your best! Music comes first, ok? You got it right?
‘Yes, sir, I got it right.’
‘Well. Then bye-bye!’

Anyway, Mom has spotted a dirty shirt collar over the teacher’s jacket.

‘Doesn’t mean anything, she thought, he is a too much culture!’

Well, the initial piano lesson took place. Sonny came home and said:

‘Not so boring as I expected, mom.’
‘But all the same, it was so.’
‘Exhausting, mom. Didn’t like’
‘What d’you say? Ok, now go wash your pants, you’ve got it dirty, then come to have lunch and do your homework. Hurry. I said hurry! He didn’t like the music lesson, you see.’
‘Mom, mom, what caused you so angry?’
‘Go, sonny. I’m really swamped. I’ve got my hands full. And clean up the mess in your room before I start throwing all out the window.’
‘Mom-mom, please, I’m already mucked off!’

Now the boy was to clear out like a wind. And so he did.

Another music class soon followed. This time the boy told his stern mom that the music was great. And now he likes it.

‘Really?’ she asked him suspiciously.
‘Yeah, by God. That’s true.’
‘Ok, we’ll see.’

It’s the day after tomorrow, when the third class is due to have been happened. And so it is.

‘Tell me, bad boy, how was it like today?’
‘Ok, Mom, but… he said slowly, eating heartily the rolls and butter.’
‘Something wrong, sonny?’
‘No. All fine, mom.’
‘Stop lying, you bad one, she said, giving him a threatening look.’
‘I’m not lying. And I’m not bad.’
‘No, you are. Tell me the truth, a naughty boy! Come on, before I hit you!’

He was forced now to share something.

‘Mom, he is a good teacher, but…um, he is a really smelly.’
‘What? Smelly?’
‘Just a little, mom. That’s ok if he’s sitting at his table, but getting him closer… so he frequently does… he stinks, his breath… is not good.’
‘The bad breath? Halitosis?’
‘Yes. He likes to stand too close and speaking much, lecturing something straight to your face. We even wanna present him a bubble gum.’
‘With my friends.’
‘You made friends around there?
‘Uh-huh, I did some.’

She got curious why so it was. He is a teacher, local known and respected. He was called to teach music, and not only that. There is something more, more significant things for his young followers. Music could have been learned anywhere else, but what about being good-looking, having nice manners? Who is going to teach kiddies this?

So she made a decision to pay a visit the upcoming lesson. Having appeared towards the end, when the lesson was in full swing, the following scene was faced right in front of her eyes: her son was seated at the piano, and the sweaty teacher was up close him bustled around. The repellent smell soon touched her nose.

‘G’day! Sit down there,’ he said to her a little sloppy. ‘I was just about to call you.’
‘Hello! Is there anything wrong?’ she asked watchful facing around.
‘I was going to call you to complain, my!.. dear.’
‘Not yours. Sorry.’

Nothing him to hear, and he went on.

‘Your son just got started, but the homework given to him by me have been not well-done! You should be ashamed! Real dishonor! That’s not right, you’ve got it, my dear? Take steps immediately!’

This time she’s got through this out.

‘Sorry, dear teacher, she said, but for the last few days he hasn’t got even a single minute.’
‘Always not enough time! For me, too, I just wanna let you know.’
‘At school they want too much. Every teacher is almost befuddled,’ she was talking as if to herself. ‘They all only require, but no one is able to increase the length of the day. Too much pressure, just so you know.’
‘That’s not a good reason,’ he said strictly enough. I had warned you.’

The teacher kept preaching morality while the young lady started looking around. There have been a kind of alarming, some worried trepidation touching her heart.

It was one story from her life that now suddenly hit back to her mind. A pretty boy had been trying to woo her once. He had a great chance to be succeeded, but… but the things were always crazy around him.

‘Oh my God, she said then. What a mess!’

Sure, he was actually gifted, a genius in his field, while in his daily life he was a totally slob. In a regular basis everything around him looked roughly the same just as over here at this very moment. And so it was on top of the piano.

To the left, there was a coat stand, a man coat was hanging on with mud spatter below. It was easy to understand inasmuch autumn has come outside: mud, lots of slush, rains down. Nobody was bothered here indeed by these bright dirty splashes on the teacher’s coat. But they should have to.

For some reason, another handsome guy was recalled unexpectedly into her memory. Initially, she had a bit taken a fancy to him, but she, being frequently hot-tempered of something not good, pretty fast ceased liking him. The reason was his routinely dirty shoes – just exactly the same ones have been placed right now under the stand below. It’s been one occasion that popped up in her mind at that moment.

Her so-called suitor had invited her home to set up a nice candlelit dinner and… maybe… right after… something pleasant and even pretty intimate could have been happened.

But nothing had happened, neither candles, nor dinner. Just as soon as he took off his shoes, she immediately put on hers, pressing her hanky to her nose and having a bunch of reasons not to meet him again.

Someone told her then that she’d gotten all wrong.

‘He is a really swell kid, you can take my word!’ One of her friends said to her. ‘He was always on the honor roll in college! All girls were over him. Lucky guy! So his socks are nothing and pure poppycock.’

‘And not only just that!’ Another wanted to say out more. ‘He is not even a family man yet! Think hard about!’

‘Do smell his dirty socks yourself and relish your life!’ she blurted out, and a great groom was given a perfect kicking off direct in his pants.

The music teacher was sitting now at his desk, writing something down with an important air, as she got up and came slowly over.

She glanced down sharply and examined the surface. The top of the desk was heavily cluttered with books, sheets’ music, papers, petty things, rest of the small stuff, and!..

That’s a terrible thing! Crumbs after eating there have been littered around!

And this man has been once called upon to teach culture to children? But what does he have to teach? Music? – Yes. For culture? – Sure. But it might be there’s anything else he does tend to load into young minds? – Alas!

He daily shows to his followers that mess, disorder, crumbs, and so forth like that, as something absolutely normal and pretty sound. And the young minds fix and log firmly all of it. And the worst is they do it subconsciously. They’re even unable to pay attention what they’ve been absorbing just since from now, from their infancy.

But what about their parents, kinsmen, who, making bold proclamations around each corner, say that this teacher is perfect? According to them, he is a real professional!

She took her courage, and now she was ready to put up all her indignation so much overwhelming her.

At this very moment, unsuspecting teacher got up from his desk, a report card in his hand with some remarks written down, his eyes gazing gravely at her.

Now she could clearly behold the same mess on the windowsill behind him.

‘Ok. So!..’ he started giving himself airs.

She willfully didn’t take a step back, and the teacher had been standing extremely too close to her.

‘Do not forget, my dear!’ he took the moment to get even closer. ‘You might have been doing a lousy job anywhere else you’d like, but not in my class. Never! You know well what I mean? Music, this is a great thing!’

‘Yes, music, this is a great one,’ she answered thoughtfully in a low voice, trying to stand still, having hard to bear his malodorous breath, while he didn’t even take care about it. He’s evidently used to doing the one-man show where he is both an actor and a viewer.

‘And if you really love your child!..’ he kept making sharp scraps of his speech as the door opened softly.

There was a middle-aged woman who came in, she is obviously either a teacher or even a headmistress. Right after her a well-dressed man has cautiously appeared. He was the daddy of a charming little girl, another pupil of the great teacher.

Daddy nodded obligingly while the teacher was keeping his public performance.

‘…Take care of our children!.. For their own future!..’

This daddy, who just came in, nodded again, and almost bowing he carefully took a sit on the last chair by the door. There was too much of self-submission in this man, even humiliation of himself, in every gesture he was doing, and so in his eyes.

Two strange things hit into her mind now.

She didn’t actually get why she was being scolded. Publicly! Ok, but it has been just the part of the trouble. She was more excited about another point.

Why? For what?

Why is such a respectable looking man like this one fawning and grovelling all over him so much? Just cuz that teacher has a label ‘I am a teacher’? But the label does not always imply anything of value or worthy. This could be more of something of a warning: stay alert and keep your eyes open, any tag and the content should be checked for reliability.

She seemed now perfectly calm, but there was only external. Internally, all this caused the uproar of indignation.

Her son was standing by the piano blinking too much, being actually both confused and excited. It was just him who was understanding all quite well what might be going on soon. His pretty mom has been really out off for last minutes, and ready to get forward in a bad way immediately.

At times like this he was extremely afraid of her, but it was such points when she was amazingly loved by him.

Somewhere on the back burner of her mind had she still a thought that it would be better to undertake nothing now, but!..

But the teacher took off his jacket and on top of everything else she felt the smell of a long-unwashed shirt. A greasy collar was now caught her eye.

So far, the alleged headmistress of the school has been present here. She declared some important things about the concert to come, especially emphasizing that all hopes had been resting for the best pupils of this excellent teacher.

The teacher was happy to hear these flattering words, so he assumed an air of more significant. The man, the father of a cute girl, even got up for making a sign of respect to the great teacher who was keeping to say as though he was already on the stage.

‘Well, he turned to the new kid’s mother. ‘Hope, did you get it all?’
‘Yeh, I… I did. Don’t worry, I really did.’
‘All of that is pretty serious, believe me. And remember everything I said to you. Here, I wrote down what would need to be done. This homework is not only for your son, but also it’s your care. You’ve got it? Ok, you may go now.’

The teacher handed out the diary of her son.


‘Can keep it for yourself!’ she sharply said back, quickly pulling the chewing gum out of her purse.

‘That’s for you, our great teacher!’

‘What?!’ he almost shrieked.

A dead silence has spread around for any length of time.

She slammed hard with the gum to the surface of the desk where there were crumbs and clutter a lot.

‘Take it! Really cool stuff, believe me!’

Taking her boy who was looking at her with wide eyes, she headed to the door with great self-confidence.

‘Hold on, please,’ the headmistress said to her barring the passage. ‘What d’you think you’re doing?’

‘And you?’ boy’s mom asked her across. ‘What have you been doing here? All of you! Step back.’

Despite her cold feet, she determined to go all the way, gazing steadily at everyone around.

But the headmistress was unable to calm herself down, having lost all her appearance of intelligence.

‘You! Maybe ain’t you know who you’re talking to? This mister is well-known even up there, at the Conservatoire! Keep it in mind, please, my dear lassie.’

The boy’s mother wanted to say: ‘It would be nice for you to lose a bit of weight,’ but she kept silent with great effort.

‘Eh-eh!.. It’s true!’ the man in the suit, the cute girl’s dad, murmured grunting and sniffing, and half rose from his chair due to his overwhelming excitement. ‘Our teacher is very respectable up there!’

Yes-yes, she remembered something well: it was her senior year at the university; a wonderful one had fallen in love with her. He was humble, neat and smart guy. His socks and shirts had been always keeping clean, no crumbs on his desk and a perfect order all around him. An excellent nominee to become her husband in the months to come.

But unfortunately, in his life he was absolutely blind. He was spineless, will-less young man, just sort of milk-and-water. As soon as he had the label ‘Teacher’ or ‘Boss’ in front, this was enough to immediately start bowing. And is the man like him fit to be a husband? And a father? Her answer was obvious, the answer was a no-brainer to her. Only anguish a bit and heartache a little there were inside.

Now, in the class, everyone has been expressing the big letdown and indignation about her misconducting while the great person standing in the center was almost ready to pretty much burst freaking out of the resentment that seized him.

The headmistress was twisting with her wide purple visage; her eyes were flashing out fiercely.

The charming girl’s dad just kept repeating in a low: ‘Oh, how bad that is, oh, too bad…’

But this was only fortifying her anger. The young lady’s cutting answer to them all was not long to come.

‘You gotta ditch the education like that! And that whole shebang!’
‘But… You!..’

The boy’s mom kept on.

‘What have you been teaching the kids here for? Music? High culture? Maybe anything else good and useful? Much doubt! To obscenities with that all!’
‘All good can be learned elsewhere!’ She kept pushing harder. ‘But here? What do they get here I’m asking all of you?’

She nodded towards the teacher’s desktop with a lot of trash, then shifted her gaze to the teacher himself.

‘Three or five years later, and children will absorb all of that tightly, they’ll be always sure that disgusting is absolutely ok! It’s gonna be deeply penetrated into their mind and even their subconscious. And you’ll never be able to make your kiddies unlearned, to disaccustom them out of these bad addictions., you got it? You great teachers, I’m asking you again – don’t you get it?’

The headmistress flushed more, her face turned red just as a rotten tomato.

The pretty obliging man started turning pale blue like a dead.

The great teacher was shaping his portrait now as a global grudge, some sort of… sorry, but, surely, like a dummy moron.

‘Gotta get outta here, son!’ the mom said firmly. ‘Put it well and deep in your mind! You’ve really much learned here. Now let’s get out.’

. . .

Some minutes later, they were out of sight of that edifice, the place of studying anti-culture for kiddies.

There was a bit of a park not far away. It recently stopped raining, and the soft sun rays were already making their little victory over the dark thick clouds, brazenly spreading wide. Yellowish streetlights of warm shade lit up around in a humidity of fall haze as the darkness has been softly falling down.

The mom, being pretty silent, timidly took a seat on the bench edge, deep thinking of something about her own. She was getting tired a little.

By sitting on the bench, the bonny mom dropped her eyes onto her purse. Then she fumbled something inside and was ready having it out. But suddenly, she stopped short, remaining motionless for a while, gingerly taking a look at her son.

At about the same time, her son for his part has been watching her with delight and admiration. And she made a decision to do what she had wanted to do letting him see it openly, allowing him think what he wanted to think about his mother. Yes, she is unkind. She even got really cocky!

‘Oh, mom, you’ve been smoking?’
‘Yep, just on occasion. Sorry, sonny, I don wanna hide out… But if you gonna to!.. don know what’s gonna happen to you, got it?’ she said stiffly.
‘No, mom, I won’t… cuz of really scared of you.’
‘I think you will,’ she now waved her hand a little indifferently. ‘Just hope you wouldn’t hide away. Well, pal, now we got to get back. Oh, not back. Forward. Always move forward, sonny! Got it?’

She stood up and stubbed out a half-smoked thin cigarette. Then she pulled out baby wet wipes, and some seconds on, put quickly a refreshing gum into her mouth.

‘I’m all right, sonny? How do I look?’
‘Whoo, cool! Mom, you know you’re really something!’
‘Ok! Follow me!’

She then was talking deep quietly to herself, pondering about:

‘Well, what should I do now? Where to stick you to, sonny? No biggie if that activity would be of little use to you. The key issue is that it wouldn’t cause much damage. Hm…’

She kept walking with slow steps being in her own thoughts. Her son stayed in place he was, looking at his beautiful mom with admiration.

For once, it was the first case along his yet little lifetime, he was beholding her like… like as if he was a real man, keeping his prehensile gaze following the attractive outlines by which she’s been reflecting after her each stepping ahead, simultaneously savoring that it was she, and only she it was who was his beautiful Mom!

There are actually lots of pretty women, but he’s never ever seen anyone so sensible and incomparable as his mom. So this could only mean that she’s been just even better than the best. And really so she was. Whatever would it be taken to get it, but she should be in luck!

‘What?’ she turned back looking at him narrowly. ‘Hey pal! What in God’s name is keeping you waiting over there?’

Her son, in point of fact, has been growing up in his maturing right before very her eyes.

‘You will be in luck, Mom. You gotta trust me on this one!’

Just corners of her mouth hardly visible tiny lifted, and to her own surprise, she got feeling her heart beat like a sudden-awakened volcano.

. . .

Never doubt, she’s gonna be!.. cuz at least she has truly merit of having this way.

The End

Written in 2018.
Translation into English by Alexey Pavlov in 2022.
ISBN 978-5-9907791-0-5


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