FF – In or Out

Photo copyright Alicia Jamtaas

In or out

“Don’t fall!” he says, like always. Big grin on his face, coffee in hand, heading off to whatever and wherever he goes every day after he passes my window.

I’m perched on the ledge, like always. One leg hanging free, one safely inside. My heart balances too. Maybe he has a wife. Maybe he’s gay. Maybe he doesn’t even notice when I’m not here.

I notice. Where was he Monday? Sick or on vacation? I worried that he’d moved or changed jobs, but he’s back today.

“Don’t fall!” he says. Today isn’t the day to admit that I already have.


I tried, I promise, but nobody who studied English in a British high school can see a woman in a casement and a man on the ground not end up with a love story, at least as one of the thoughts in their head. Better this than the other kind of leap Juliet might have been contemplating.

When you walk the same route to work day in, day out, there are people who populate that walk like old friends you’ve yet to meet. They are so much a part of the walk that you miss them when they aren’t there – wonder where they’ve gone and whether they will be back. I remember one such person from my daily commute in Bristol, 15+ years ago. I wasn’t romantically interested like this character, but I still felt a little connection to him. Then I moved away and of course I didn’t say goodbye because I’d never said hello, but I wonder if he noticed.



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32 responses to “FF – In or Out

  1. Yep, i couldn’t escape the obvious refernence either, after all, never look a gift horse in the mouth! Well done 🙂

  2. Wonderful bit of prose with a winning last line.

  3. Like that, the outro/ extroduction is excellent too. I watched a brilliant film called Smoke based on a Paul Auster screenplay which centres on a tobacconist who takes a photo every morning from the same point for 15 years, creates an album of the folk passing, its a brilliant film, Blue in the face is the sequel, which is also lovely. Good take.

  4. OMG..I loved this, and I am not even a romantic. But that ending…that was the clincher.

  5. Dear Jen,

    While I didn’t have a certain walk to work there were regular customers I befriended over the years…particular the guys we called ROMEO’s…Real Old Men Eating Out. Every morning they would be in for breakfast and another round at lunch. Not exactly a window but kind of the same sentiment. After 7 years of retirement I still think of some of those men who became friends.
    Sorry to make this comment about me. 😉
    Love your story and your epilogue.



  6. You never said “hello?” Next time, try “howdy.” 🙂
    Now I wish I’d written from her perspective.
    I’ve lived where I was advised to take a different route to work each day. It was difficult not to pattern, but at least the scene changed often.
    But I still loved your story, Jen.

  7. michael1148humphris

    Love it seems is in the air. Shakespeare might call it Romeo and Juliet

  8. A beautiful take on the picture.

  9. What light through yonder window breaks. . . . .

    Of COURSE I thought of a love story. Just decided to change it up a bit 🙂

  10. I thought this was beautiful. Well done.

  11. It’s not often I say aww, but I just did! Nice one.

  12. i fall for what appears to be a happy ending. can’t wait for the next chapter. 🙂

  13. That’s so sweet, and the theme is so true. We do get used to faces and places that we see every day. Well done, great take on the prompt.

  14. Oh I love this. You set this up really well. I hope she finds out one day.

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