Tuesday, 8 February 2011

F3 - Cycle 17 - LIFE SENTENCE

When I signed up for new cycle at F3, the prompt was to grab the book closest to you, open to pg. 56, choose the 5th sentence as your opening line and take it from there!

Well, I had in my hot sweaty little hand Matt Hilton's new release, 'Blood and Ashes' which I was just planning to start - so I gingerly opened to page 56 and traced down to the fifth sentence, all the while trying not to take in too much of any plot spoilers.

If any of you know Matt Hilton's work, then what is to follow bears absolutely no resemblance to his work but it's based on an encounter I had today. Matt's sentence is in italics, then I take over..... :-)


I cleared my throat to get his attention. You’d think the fact that he’d backed into me with his trolley would have been enough warning, but I suppose that’s chivalry for you these days.

“Do you mind…?” I gestured, pointing to the stack of bananas he was blocking.

First he totally ignored me, then he raised his eyes slightly from the large list he’d been studying.

I would have given him a glare, but I stopped, with the caustic remark I’d have added now wedged firmly in my throat.

The tired desperation that seemed to haunt his features threw me off guard and it’s not often I’m lost for words.

He had an unkempt, tousled look about him; although his clothes seemed good quality there was a just-fallen-out-of bed look about his dress sense.

A brief smile caught me unawares as he raised his shoulders apologetically and backed out of my way. As he turned I noticed the contents of his trolley and a quick bit of mental arithmetic of the ‘putting-two-and-two-together’ variety made me ashamed of my earlier brusqueness.

He had my sympathy and my admiration. Piled high amidst the usual groceries were a couple of large bags of nappies. Proud, but obviously exhausted, new father was learning to cope with the altered priorities of life and with my own babes having already flown the nest I could afford him the time to get his bearings.

I turned back towards the bananas, but something else caught my eye and pulled me up short. Hooked onto the front of his trolley was a pair of tiny coat hangers displaying identical newborn baby suits, one blue and one pink.

I winced slightly. Poor devil, I thought. Twins!!


  1. WHOA! Been there, done that, and threw away the t-shirt! No, my wife and I did not have twins but there were many a late night and early morning that I had to make a run to the grocery store when the kids were babies.

    Adding insult to injury don't think me bad if I add that my wife's hand writing isn't the best and I could spend a long time trying to figure out her hand writing.

    Totally great story!

  2. Nice slice of life! I like that feeling of realization that the person who's annoying you is a real person and not a random jerk. And the feeling of sympathy that rushes over.

    And, oh boy am I glad my kids are out of diapers! And I tell them so regularly.

  3. Oh, the memories... and then when they are 3 yr olds and break bottles on the lower grocery shelves... lol... Great piece!

  4. This was really great and brought back so many memories, both of my son and my two grandchildren. It also cautions us not to be too quick to judge. Things really aren't always what they seem. What a charming tale.