I ran out of steam, after I finished my first novel. What now? I thought, as I put my tattered, unpublished manuscript into a box and shoved it in a drawer.

I went on-line.

I did the usual search stuff, played around a bit, enjoyed the odd game of Chuzzle and so on. Then something caught my eye.

It was a competition for a short story.The theme, it stated, was to be written around a college library and it must be less than 1000 words.

I brought up a blank page on Word. ‘The College Library’, I wrote at the top. (Imaginative, huh?) Then I began to write…Tania stared at the space between the two books. From where she was sitting she could just make out the title on the left. ‘Brief Encounter’, it said, in bold gold letters running down its spine…

It was only a week before, when I bumped into a very good friend (not a boyfriend, before you make the assumption) whom I hadn’t seen for over thirty years. It was an incredible reunion in Sainsbury’s with Gary and his wife and I will never forget the feeling of nostalgia we both had when we looked into each others familiar eyes.

How fortunate I am, I thought, whilst creating my story. I can include that experience in my prose…

When Gary and I began inquiring about how our mutual acquaintances were doing, the many years that had passed us by were regretfully brought to the fore.

“Hilda? She’s dead,” he said. “Phillipe? Dead! And John…he’s dead too.” I laughed at the irony of it, but thinking back to that day, perhaps I should have offered a small expression of regret. “How’s your brother,” Gary asked. “Dead!” I said, nearly rolling in the aisle. Funny how I find amusement in stuff like that!

I was holding back tears of laughter at the ironic realization that we were so old, all our friends were dead, when I thought it prudent to mention the accident I had 9 years prior.

I realized while we reminisced, a barrier between us had stopped him from viewing me from the waist down.

At this point I should mention, if anyone’s reading this (there must be at least two of you, according to my stats) that I included a page on here, which offers a story that I once wrote about me.  Check it out and then we’ll move on

So, back to Gary.

“I lost my leg,” I muttered, as I watched the blood drain from his face. “It was an accident and it was a long time ago. I wear a prosthetic leg now and I’m fine.”


He nodded and shook his head. I could see him remembering me as the girl I once was. I was only twenty when we last met and I had a pair of legs many girls would have been proud of. In fact it was those legs I used to thrash Gary and all his mates in a pool tournament. They never got over that. Great pool player I was!

A week later, with the experience of that encounter prominent in my mind, I finished my ‘college library’ story with a little twist and sent it off. Then I had an email two months later informing me I had won the competition.

And it was that little moment in time, which made me want to be a proper writer.

You can read it here, if you like (under short stories). I renamed it ‘Union Lost’.


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