Six Sentence Stories: A Tale of Two Books

I’m linking up with Denise at Girlie On The Edge Blog, where she hosts Six Sentence Stories, and everyone is invited to write a story or poem constructed of six sentences based on a cue word given.

This week’s cue word is Useful



A tale of two books

“Why don’t you make yourself useful for a change and take those library books back,” she said over breakfast, “I mean, it’s not like you have anything better to do.”

He looked across at her from his laptop between a mouthful of marmalade on toast and the words not daring to express themselves: Actually, dear, I have my book of poems to finish – but, ah, yes, thirty years of marriage had taught him when the optimum time was to answer her back – and it certainly wasn’t over breakfast.

He bundled the books into his old school bag – the brown leather one he used to take for marking homework in days that seemed as ancient now as the bag itself – and he decided to walk to the library instead of taking the bus, never mind the rain, and each street he encountered reminded him of the years that had passed, and each corner was yet another best-forgotten page, and each road he crossed was fraught with noise and cars and danger and people seemingly neither from the future, past, nor present.

Inside the library he waited at the counter to return his books; and that’s when he noticed her approaching, her head buried in the concluding pages of a paperback as though she was desperate to reach its end before time ran out – and he recognised her straightaway, and his heart thumped and his stomach made a flip, and he opened his mouth to say her name, and in the moment it took for words to travel the ever-decreasing distance between them… his mind conjured the possibilities he had dreamed of since he last saw her.

They had met on a pottery course; each Tuesday evening, nine weeks of clay and kilns and conversation to throw the soul, and at the end of it all phone numbers exchanged… gah! like a bloody fool he had neglected to write down a paper copy as he always did with his numbers, and when his mobile phone died so did she… and with it a love which had blossomed so briefly in an art room in London, and where things you created got fired and cast into shape, and were tangible enough to hold in your hand forever.

“Catherine, is that really you?” he said, and she replied… “Peter?”, and all at once time stood still in a library one minute before noon, and she noticed then the book in his hand – Down and Out in Paris and London – and it was the same book as hers, though a different edition and cover, and she smiled at him, and he smiled back, and outside the library a clock in town chimed noon, and it stopped raining.

27 thoughts on “Six Sentence Stories: A Tale of Two Books

  1. This reminds me of a song from the late 70s by England Dan and John Ford Coley. “It’s sad to belong to someone else when the right one comes along.” Great six!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Damn, V. This piece is pure emotion and poetry and romance and sadness and hope rolled around in a light dusting of possibility. Magic is real. How else to explain the circumstances surrounding this serendipitous meeting? The unrepentant romantic in me thanks you for a lovely read with my morning coffee 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, D, the unrepentant romantic in me sighs with joy at your lovely comment 🙂
      Something really ‘clicked’ in this one, and I might revisit to tell the wife’s story sometime. Perhaps even a piece on Catherine, the woman at the library. The power of three?
      Also, did you know pottery and poetry are sisters?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Don’t you love that! When the writing just “clicks”. Surely, the power of 3 🙂 You should. Would make for an enjoyable read. For some reason, it made me think of Linklater’s “Before” trilogy although I don’t believe I saw the last one.
        Why, no sir. I did not 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Well, I just saw your latest cue word station and that’s given some ideas re the power of 3…
        I had to look up the ‘Before’ trilogy as I don’t know it, and, wow, what a concept… a romance spanning 3 decades told in 3 parts… inspired by Linklater meeting a woman in a toyshop in 1989… and set in Paris, plus the famous Shakespeare and Company bookshop (where incidently I bought one of those Orwell novels featured in my last SSS).
        Surprised I missed these films when familiar with Linklater’s Slacker and Dazed & Confused?
        I’m Gen X, I blame that… there was a lot of stuff happening back then which was impossible to keep track of 🙂


  3. “Rikki don’t lose that number….”*
    Well done Six.
    For me, this place is not simply about the fun of reading nano-fiction, which your Six surely is among those that qualify, it is to both practice and learn.
    Nicely done with a ‘large’ story.
    The ‘narrative movement’** in your story is very impressive. By this I mean, you not only have to establish the first characters and the state/quality of the their relationship, but a change of scene and introduction of the third character is necessary to produce the ‘hook’.
    (I’m thinking in terms of my own Six, which was perhaps a bit overly ambitious), and trying to understand the structure you created which allowed every part of the story to stay accessible.
    Thanks… as I say, fun on a couple of levels.

    *Courtesy Steely Dan
    ** prolly not a ‘real’ term in rhetoric

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah, love the ‘Rikki’ reference! Thanks, Clark, Yeah, I had the feeling when writing this it was a big story, a bit like D’s story about the father and son relationship in last week’s SSS – sometimes a big story appears in so few words, don’t know how exactly.
      On the flip side, sometimes you just have to cram as much in as poss and give it layers and complexity… if the story demands that then who are we as writers to argue?

      I like the challenge of SSS in the limits it imposes. Sometimes it works well for my style as I can fit a lot of info into one sentence with just the right amount of ‘breathing spaces’. Other times not, as I my other style is to write short. Sharp. Blunt. And hard sentences. Crosshairs. Bam. Right there!
      This style does not work well for SSS alas, though I’ll for sure have a go one day soon!

      As you say, always learning, and the inspiration I get from ‘our SSS gang’ is priceless. So glad I joined the party 🙂


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