Sweet Romance

Each month I enter Right Left Write, the Flash Fiction competition run by the Queensland Writers Centre. I was fortunate to have a win back in November (Read it here…) and today I received an Honorable Mention for the July competition. The theme was Romance and not my usual genre of choice but I loved writing this story.

You can read the winner here… It is sublime and a very deserving winner.

Pop culture, film and music references often inspire my stories. My November story referenced rapper Eminem. This story was inspired by the glorious film Notting Hill. Here’s my story…

Fancy Meeting You Here…
I’m on my way home when we crash into each other in front of the library. Our eyes meet over my pages, and I burst out laughing at the absurdity of it. I blame the movies I watched as a teenager. I’ve been married for years. Met my husband in a pub. Not very romantic, I know. I’ll admit I still daydream scenarios in which I meet the love of my life when I crash head-long into him as I run for a bus, juggle parcels in the post office, or perhaps spill my orange juice down his shirt while strolling back to my darling little book shop in Notting Hill. I suppose writing romance legitimises this habit.
I gather up my scattered papers. He tries to help. It’s windy. He’s chasing them around the library forecourt.
‘I’m so sorry. I wasn’t watching where I was going,’ I say. A few fat spats of rain hit me, my pages, his face. Then the rain comes down like it was scripted.
We both run for the cafe beside the supermarket and shelter under its awning. I steal a glance at him. He grins. A few of my pages still lie on the grey granite slabs, the rain making them translucent. A waiter invites us in. His restaurant is empty, and the rain is now coming down in sheets.
‘We could sit, have a hot chocolate. Or tea,’ he says.
I check my watch. I still have a little time. I nod, enthusiastic about the hot chocolate and sitting there with him. We order.
‘Hot milk on the side,’ he says, but not in an irritating way. The waiter kindly brings a plastic bag for my soggy papers and then returns with our drinks, putting a sweet little ceramic jug of frothed milk beside the tea pot. I don’t even try to smooth the wet pages out, the ink has run and taken with it the whole afternoon’s work. He nods at the bag.
‘I hope that’s not important.’
I shrug. ‘If it’s meant to be I’ll remember the changes I made.’ I sip my drink.
‘What are you writing?’
‘A Rom Com,’ I say.
‘Romantic Comedy?’
I sip again, nod, and smile at him, realising too late that my mouth is probably chocolate stained.
‘Something Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant would star in,’ he says, showing his age.
I lean forward. ‘My dream is Julia Roberts starring in one of my stories.’
He pours hot milk into his tea, stirs and sips. I sit back, cradling my mug. He’s nice company.
The rain has stopped. I check my watch again.
‘Better go,’ I say. ‘Children to pick up from after school care.’
He takes out his wallet and waves to the waiter. ‘I’m so glad you started writing at the library,
honey,’ he says.
I smile at my husband. ‘Same time tomorrow?’
‘I’ll wear an old shirt,’ he says. ‘You buy the orange juice.’


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