Unplaced entry published in Microcosms Flash Fiction competition – Microcosms 159 – on 25/01/2019. The rules required a story in no more than 300 words in response to the following prompts.
Character – Athlete/ Location – Train/ Genre – Romance
The story had to be written and submitted within a one day deadline.
They’d been together for three years. He was dropping her off at the station on his way to work. She was going on a training course requiring an overnight stay. Their first night apart. He looked up at the bridge and remembered standing there looking over the parapet. She leant across, kissed him and said those three words that had probably saved his life.
He’d been wandering down the High Street and stopped to look in the window of the coffee shop. He couldn’t afford to go in. That had been his life then; mornings in the Job Centre, afternoons in the Library when wet or wandering the streets when dry. He’d taken to pausing on that bridge …thinking …and looking down at the through trains as they flashed underneath it.
‘Coffee?’ She’d come up behind him, slightly out of breath, after walking quickly.
‘Can’t afford one.’
He saw her in the Job Centre every morning. She’d known all about him from the papers. That he’d been injured for a long time but recovered. Now his professional athletics days were over and his fair-weather friends had disappeared. He’d used his winnings to retrain as an engineer just as the Recession bit. He’d lost his flat and lived in a small rented room. She’d wanted to help but most employers required experience.
‘This is just in. A Modern Apprenticeship that could have been written for you. I can sit on it for a few days before posting it up. I’ve faxed your CV and fixed an interview for early tomorrow morning. Your ‘track record’ might help …so mention it. Here’s £30. Get a haircut, buy some razor blades, take a shower and find a tie.’
Then those three words that had probably saved his life.
‘See you tomorrow.’
©David Lewis Pogson 2019