Small IS Beautiful (500-Word Fiction)

For this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge, Amy (here) chose “Small Is Beautiful” for the theme.

My contribution is this photo of the centerpiece setting at a local eatery. The table centerpieces were small, with subtle details, but they were artsy and fun to look at during dinner.


Lens-artist weekly photo-challenge prompt hosts are:

Week 1–Patti of

Part 2: 500-Word Fiction

When I chose the centerpiece/table photographs for the lens-artist challenge this week, I had a short story develop with it – and so I wanted to share it here.
If you are just here for the photos, please feel free to skip this part. 
If you have time to read (just 500 words) please do.
Keep in mind this is based on some true events, but it is just FICTION,  okay?
Oh, and the night I took these photos it was actually a pleasant evening. The hostess was a beautiful person. However, the story that follows depicts having dinner with a “not-so beautiful” person – and how someone coped with it. 

“Small Things” 

Genre: Realistic Fiction (with attempt at humor)
Author: Priorhouse
Word count: 500

Funny how little things can carry you sometimes.

There I sat, across the table from an ugly person.

Not in appearance, but in essence and being.

I have grace and understanding for his plight, I do.

A personality disorder, embedded over the years, manifested in lack of empathy, puffed-up rudeness, tangents in talking about self, and an all-about-me mentality.


Thankfully, I do not have to be around him often.

When I accepted the group dinner, I saw his name but forgot about his ways.

Choked by status and stunted health – partly from too much material wealth and little, to no, accountability.

Isn’t it funny how many small things are forgotten over time?

It had been a couple of years since I vowed to never dine out with him.

I forgot that vow; in fact, forgot it so much to where I was looking forward to seeing him (along with everyone else).

Then, during appetizers, narcissistic symptoms emerged. Sipping my water, I thought of coping strategies.

Whiskey was out. So was downing Cabernet.


Sitting there, disconcerted, small details in brown-bottle centerpieces dazzled.

I compared and contrasted arrangements.

Bottle size, coils, wisps.

Servers came and went and our “special one” did his thing. All while I discovered bottle number three was 25% smaller than bottles one and two and the towering spirals were most full in bottle one.

While nodding to folks that steamed mussels were delish, I protected my affect with this little mental game. Sounds like such a small matter, but listening to this man for a mere couple of hours could leave one stained and drained.


So I guarded my exposure.

“Now let’s see,” I quietly mused as dinner plates were cleared, “the bottle bottom is 2 inches in diameter so the radius is 1, which means…” — Before I could grab a bottle and work pi, or find the point of tangency, a pastry chef arrived, which was fortuitous because he spared me embarrassment. I was actually about to pick up a centerpiece. My tangent was interrupted.

“No puffs, thank you,” I replied, “I would rather try the pie,”

And yes, I smiled to myself because of all the fun I was having with my musing on circle pi and dessert pie. Then my spouse gently squeezed my hand, sending me a wink, a reassuring gesture of support that indicated we were both enduring here.

At the end of this dinner affair, I was sipping coffee, which was steaming hot and dark. I smiled at how dinner unfolded so delightfully. This man had his way, other dinner guests enjoyed their courses, and I was not annoyed to the core. In fact, the last time we dined out with him, at a white-tie event, I was steaming hot when we left because it was a dark time sitting across from him for two hours. This time, though, I problem-solved astutely.

Sometimes it’s the little things that help us cope. And on this night, small brown-bottle centerpieces rescued me.

© priorhouse 2018

© priorhouse 2018










21 thoughts on “Small IS Beautiful (500-Word Fiction)

  1. That’s a beautiful story of how to cope in a difficult situation. I’ll remember next time I am in a similar situation. I like your photo of the details of life and how it lead you to write the ‘faction’.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I wouldn’t know what to do with such a situation. I’m not good at hiding my emotion. I saw a guy whom I didn’t wish to make eye contact in a large meeting. I tried hard to avoid him. He dared to tell me what to do with my ex.

    The Centerpieces look nice and take your mind to the pi and pie. Thank you for sharing the story.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. That was lovely. I know exactly what you mean. So much so, this reminds me of a twitter thread I posted a few months ago, at a fundraiser. I was with one of those people who spends so much time telling everyone how hard they work, how much they earn and I couldn’t get enough champagne, I couldn’t get enough air. Ugh. I’d try your game, but I’m bad at math. I often count to pass time. How many red ties? How many dangling earrings? How many updos? How many May-Decembers? We all have our coping skills.That’s my game.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I LOVE your coping and need to write it down to remember = hahah = well said Joey

      How many red ties? How many dangling earrings? How many updos? How many May-Decembers?


  4. That is a fascinating item. It could be a rescued item under such condition well.

    I like the story that is based on a true story. I do not have an experience disliking a person that much but I can understand how one could not bear such a person. Anyway, the story ends well 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Look like your story resonated with quite a few Yvette! Well done. I take a more simple approach. I remind myself that there are many jerks in the world and I’m happy not to count myself among them LOL

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sorry for the delay in reply – yes – there are many hurt people and jerks and you are truly the opposite of that,, Tina (IMHO) 🙂 and let’s hope the kind ones and the mindful ones do help to make a difference

      Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you so much for your comment Amy – and sorry I did not reply sooner – I missed this in the line up
      🙂 and Dr Seuss like indeed.


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