Claire–lovely picture, excellent work.  Rochelle–the usual.  Friday Fictioneers–a joy and a privilege.   Read more–click on the cutie at the end.  Your mission, should you choose to accept it– enjoy!  It’s not impossible.

Just FYI, Thursday is a traveling day for me, so if you stop by and read and I don’t return the favor right away, don’t worry.  I will.  I read every story (unless it’s posted on Sunday or Monday and I’ve stopped checking), so I will look forward to reading yours with great anticipation.  And thanks for taking the time to read and comment on mine.  It’s always greatly appreciated.



It was the book’s fault really—accidentally dropped by her, fortuitously retrieved by him—sparking talk, the discovery of shared tastes.  Days later, a chance encounter at the coffee shop spawned laughter, the joy of shared thoughts, a frisson of attraction, the ease of friendship.

The coffee shop became their haven, a much-anticipated break from the everyday, always as if two halves were joined, the missing puzzle piece slotted into place.

Each time, replete, they went their separate ways, home to loved and loving families, anticipating the next completion. It could never be more, but it would never be less.

  1. Dear Janet,
    Beautifully written. The last line left me speechless. What more can I say?

  2. wmqcolby says:

    Ohhh MY. Has a lot going on in there. Good work!

  3. Oh, that last paragraph is gut-wrenching!

    • It is but in a way, to me at least, it’s also a tribute to them honoring their obligations; obligations to people they still loved and cared about; obligations they took on out of love and continue because of love. The love of one doesn’t diminish the love of the others and vice versa.

      • I think that made it all the more powerful, that they are honoring their families – and doing so genuinely – even while finding something in one another. Too often, a writer will go in one direction or the other. You balanced their devotion to their families with their unexpected friendship, showing respect to all parties. Not that I’d be keen on my husband going out for coffee and conversation with another woman, because I’m selfish like that… but this felt like such an honest, respectful piece.

  4. pennycoho says:

    Well done, poignant yet straight forward. I enjoyed it very much!

  5. dmmacilroy says:

    Dear Janet,

    Was directed to come here and rad right away and now I can see why. You describe with polished ease the attraction between two people who are two halves of the same coin, and become friends with the knowledge that it will never be a meeting of bodies, but of minds. Lovely, lovely, lovely. Minds retain the spark that the body gives up and the flames are real and bright and just as warm.

    This was one of your best ever and that is saying a great deal because you set the bar mighty high each week. Thanks for this one. I’m going to bookmark it for the future.



    • Doug, I’m happy you felt it was worth the trip. I think friendship can be very close, yet remain friendship that doesn’t damaged another relationship. But it is difficult and can be dangerous, requiring integrity and restraint, things that too often are lacking.

      Thank you for the lovely compliments and for always commenting.


  6. muZer says:

    Wow.. The last stanza got an unexpected twist.. I like the way how they enjoy each other’s company but also respect their families enough to go back to them.. Great take on the pic.

    • That’s what I wanted to convey. Thanks!


      • vbholmes says:

        Thought-provoking story, Janet–I do think your comment to Doug: “I think friendship can be very close, yet remain friendship that doesn’t damage another relationship. But it is difficult and can be dangerous, requiring integrity and restraint, things that too often are lacking” is fair warning to those who allow a “harmless” liaison to become an important part of their lives.

  7. claireful says:

    Everyone’s talking about the last line (which is lovely), but I want to sing the praises of the first. It has a beautiful opening, and what could easily become a cliche in other hands is handled expertly. Just lovely.

  8. Sandra says:

    That’s a beautiful line, “it could never be more, but it would never be less.” Lovely.

  9. Jan Brown says:

    The last sentence says it all. Great job, Janet!

  10. zennjennc says:

    Well, I like the whole thing. Terrific way to describe the relationship that is and cannot be.

  11. Wonderful little story, great last sentence. Shows how someone is capable of meeting and relishing his or her soul mate in a context outside of the person’s actual life and still be happy and content within that life. (It took me longer to say that here than for you to express it in your story!)

  12. Parul says:

    That’s a lot said in 100 words.
    One of the best I have read this week. I loved it from the start till the end.
    Wonderful work!

  13. Never disappointed. Nice writing.

  14. this was lovely. thank you.

  15. nightlake says:

    the last line was touching..a well written short story

  16. Joyce says:

    Like two lovers joined at the ‘bust,’ 🙂 A romance inspired by chance encounter, embracing the moment, now remembered only in passing. Romantic.

    • Thanks, Joyce. But the romance never got physical because of their families. They both acknowledged how much the other person completed them, yet honored the vows they’d made and the love they had for their spouses and families.

      • Joyce says:

        I could see that and tell that was exactly your intention, which was indeed the rightful and honorable way for this couple to not proceed in their romance. I believe there are many romances out there in the world that are the kind of the heart, not of physical affairs because to many of us we still believe in the sacred vows of our marriage. I was sort of using a pun there with the line, ‘bust’ but not a real implication of the actual. 🙂 I sometimes joke around like that. My family knows when to take my replies as a joke, but not always other people. Sorry for the confusion, Janet. 🙂

  17. kz says:

    It could never be more, but it would never be less. awwwww it’s beautiful.. so is the first line.. blame it on the book.really?lol ^^ beautifully written piece

  18. Like the pace of this. not too much, nor too little detail

  19. sandraconner says:

    Great job on this story; Janet. And I couldn’t help thinking that the picture sort of finished it. These two people have too much integrity to allow themselves to “be together” for all time, but the sculpture brings them together for as long as time will last. What they couldn’t give themselves, the artist gave them.

  20. elappleby says:

    This is fantastic – loved the last line. I really felt for the pair of them -and I still do.

    • That’s means I succeeded, so thanks. I don’t think they’re to be pitied, though, if that’s what you felt. They’ve found more love, in spouses, families and each other, than many people ever find and their honor is shining through as well.

  21. What a promise of a satisfied life…”It would never be less” Great use of the prompt! 🙂

  22. For some reason I find the idea of relinquishing one’s soul mate to the status of casual brunch partner depressing. I get the whole obligation thing but it’s still quite the bitter pill.

    • And I almost forgot to add as I was finishing up my thoughts, extremely good story. It made me stop and think on it for a bit and most stories don’t affect me in that manner. Good job.

      • I’m glad the story made you think. I understand what you mean in your first comment but as you can see from your story, the families were also loved. I think you can love more than one person, although maybe not always in the same way, yet remain true to your obligations, not obligations in the negative sense, but those you willingly and joyfully took on and still cherish. A soul mate could be a friend as well, something I think people don’t often understand; not “just” a friend, but a friend of the soul that doesn’t threaten a more complete (mental and physical) relationship. At least that’s my take. 🙂


  23. This end is so lovely and realistic I can almost see an Oscar award for movie of the year. I love the tone and the low-key mixture of melancholy and joy.

  24. Beth Carter says:

    Oh, I loved this. A chance encounter that turned into so much more. Great job and thanks for reading mine.

    • It’s always my pleasure to read everyone’s stories, even though the more we get, the longer it takes, and my to-do list is so long. 🙂 I’m happy you enjoyed the story and thanks for visiting.


  25. Friendship is a treasure! A good story, Janet.

  26. rheath40 says:

    This story made the romantic in me swoon. Sweet but sad. But sometimes coffee and a good chat is all you need.

  27. t says:

    I loved your “voice” in this – it sucked me in and kept me anxious to see how it would end. It did so perfectly.

  28. I understand that feeling completely.

  29. You touch on something that is often discouraged. Wonderful story. It blew my mind.

  30. annisik51 says:

    I liked the story. It has edge. It IS a dangerous relationship, and I don’t believe what your character states at the end. It is at odds with the analogy with the coin. The character believes that people are like coins, in that they have two sides. And thus, people are made in pairs. Dangerous. If you meant to suggest this it is clever and subtle. I will try for this too. Great read. Ann

    • I’m not sure what coin analogy you’re referencing as there’s no coin reference in the story. I think you mean the puzzle analogy. These two people completed each other in many ways, possibly in some way their other relationships didn’t, yet they were in relationships they chose to honor because these were also loving relationships that were commitments prior to this meeting. You’re right that it could be dangerous if it goes into the realm of harm to their marriages and families. However, they are careful to keep it as friendship. Note that they always met in a public place, something they’d be unlikely to do if they intended more than a fulfilling friendship. Hopefully they’ll continue to keep it this way. Who knows what characters might do eventually? But I think they’ll be careful.

      Thanks for the discussion and comments!


      • annisik51 says:

        ‘Two halves joined’. Sorry. I’ve obviously visualised this as ‘two sides of a coin’ and dubbed that in as your words! I’ll be hallucinating your characters into life next! I love your horse.

      • No problem. 🙂 I knew what you meant. Let me know if my characters show up at your coffee shop, though. As for the horse, I have to write about her someday soon. I love her too.

      • annisik51 says:

        I’ll keep an eye out for your characters. He’ll look like Trevor Howard. I look forward to ‘meeting’ your horse. You can tell that the love is mutual. Ann

  31. Very powerful. Loved the last line.

  32. Sarah Ann says:

    This a beautiful description of a relationship. On first reading I decided they were lovers. On later readings I’ve decided they’re very good friends – there’s less pain and loss that way.

  33. Hi Janet,
    Great phrase, “a frisson on attraction” and I liked the direction you took and the place you ended up with the story. Happy travels! Ron

    • Thanks, Ron. I made it back safely and have just under a week to work like a mad woman (dangerous thing to say around this group–I could be in next week’s story) before heading back for more time with Bill. So pleased you liked the story and I like “frisson.”


  34. Joe Owens says:

    Denying their deep passions for their families. What a unigue way to finish the story. I expected a totally different ending. Nice job twisting in the last few sentences.

  35. denmother says:

    Such clear parameters for them. Quite a treasure. I thought it made me sad at first but a re-read made me feel quite different.

    • Thanks, Denmother, for visiting. I think it depends on the reader’s POV–is the cup half full or half empty? Or even full to the brim? Since neither person appears to feel trapped, sadness is probably not necessary. I appreciate you taking the time to read, think and comment and look forward to more exchanges.


  36. Sunshine says:

    a bit of platonic friendship shared at a coffee house…a mini get away from the usual day to day affairs. sounds like a wonderful way to do life. love your story! ❤

  37. kingsleycw13 says:

    Loving the turnaround in the last line!

  38. A really strong last line that ties together an entertaining tale!

  39. Tom Poet says:

    This is a top notch work like you do every week. But in my world these two end up in bed at some point…and if the attraction is there, they know it and still play with fire are they not already cheating in some way? Makes you wonder…I am not saying they are. I am just saying that some people may see it that way!



    • Tom, you’ve hit the heart of the matter and I think that answer is up to each person and may also depend upon their religious views. Are they playing with fire and cheating if they deliberately choose to remain “just” friends? Are they taking away from their other relationships even if they aren’t sleeping together? If each spouse were to know about the friendship, does that change things? Some people would even ask if people of the opposite sex can really be friends and my answer is, yes, but it can be difficult.

      By keeping the relationship in the public eye, they’re making a deliberate choice, I think, but I know that it could seem like, or be, cheating. My point here is to get people thinking. In my world, they don’t end up in bed, but I know that in much of the world, they do.

      Thanks for the thoughtful response and discussion. I very much appreciate your compliment about my writing as well. I look forward each week to discovering what you’ve written as well.


  40. This is beautiful and thought provoking, Janet. They are contained within their limits, which probably heightens their relationship. Maybe they are always testing it. But, I guess since they are always in the public eye, they don’t cross the line. I especially like the last line, too.

    • Thanks very much. I think making the decision to keep it out in the open, literally, has much to say about the relationship. Perhaps they’re testing; perhaps they’ve acknowledged the attraction and deliberately drawn the line. While I think this can be done, it could also be difficult to keep at this level.


  41. The last line goes well with the metaphor of a sculpture. It can never be more than it is, but has a permanency about it as well. Nicely told.

  42. What a lovely way to interpret the picture, remove the sculpture itself completely, really well done 🙂

    • Thanks, Linda, and thanks for coming by. Having so many writers is a mixed blessing, isn’t it? Lots of stories but it takes time to get to them all. I appreciate you taking some of yours to read mine.


      • It does take time, this weekend the cleaning (which hasn’t been done since Christmas) and a training day with Toastmasters had to take priority. The thing is though, with so many writers there is so much inspiration too and I hate to miss it 🙂

      • I feel exactly the same way. I can learn from what everyone else writes and enjoy their stories, so it’s definitely worth it.

  43. rich says:

    never be more, never be less. i’ve been there. well done.

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