“I Live on Your Visits,” by Dorothy Parker
Appeared in the New Yorker, January 7th, 1955 (scanned here for subscribers); collected and probably anthologized all over; read for the June 2019 episode of the New Yorker Fiction Podcast by Andrew Sean Greer
A few thousand words
One of those marvelously funny-mean stories Parker is so good at. Do people still write stuff like this? I wish they did. The mother’s compulsive need to dramatize and martyrize herself is so funny (though not in a laugh-out-loud way, as Greer points out on the podcast) and, underneath that, sort of sympathetic. I think she wants to be a victim, and to dominate her son, much more than she wants him to stay or to love her. And perhaps she really does live on his visits.