The Burberry Scarf

If you’re not familiar with Seth and Sara, read here.

“Hey Seth, I’m going to run down the street for some food. The Thai place on the corner is pretty good,” Jack said, dusting his hands on his dark washed Diesels.

“Thanks for helping me unpack,” Seth replied. The loft space Jack rented was amazing; he felt more like an art dealer just thinking that this was going to be home.

He heard the creaking of the freight elevator as he set the last box from his South End apartment down on a curious stool. It was sturdy, three-legged like a milking stool, but the wood grain, the natural twist and bend of the lines made it seem like a piece from a fairy-tale, something that grew up out of the forest floor.

He’d have to ask Jack who the artist was. And if he had representation.

He opened the box and immediately wished he hadn’t. Sara’s Burberry scarf, still smelling like Coco, lying there, haphazardly tossed in among her books, her worn boiled wool slippers, the things she left with him that last time she’d walked out the door.

The scarf she’d been wearing looped around her neck the morning their story began to end.

“By the time we stop at Peet’s for coffee, it’ll be eight,” he’d muttered to himself, taking the stairs up to the second floor of Sara’s father’s house two at a time. “If we get to Quebec by dinner, it’ll be a fucking miracle.”

At least four times in the ten minutes before she’d locked the back door, Sara had forgotten something she had to have.

He’d heard a car door slam as he entered the unused bedroom Sara had converted into a study.

He’d yanked open the center drawer and rummaged through receipts, pens, hair pins, Werther’s caramels, highlighters–the detritus of Sara’s academic career.

“Seth?” she called out from the kitchen. He could imagine her standing indignantly on the mexican tile floor, reflected morning sunlight bouncing off the rarely used Viking onto the unruly curls that escaped the messy bun she deemed her “traveling hair.”

No time for daydreams, he’d thought, and slammed the door shut. He’d hauled open the file drawer to the right.

“Seth! I said I’d get the damn passport!”

Her feet pounded on the stairs.

The folder was marked “Sara” which seemed a logical place to find her passport, and so he’d flicked it open with two fingers.

“Seth,” she’d whispered, a hand on his shoulder. His shoulder which suddenly seemed so far from his hand. Blood rushed behind his eyes, her voice swam in and out of earshot.

“You weren’t meant to see that.”

She took the sheet of paper from his hands and held it between them.

He couldn’t look at her, he could only see the inverse images, stark in their grayscale. The medical coding, the neurology jargon, meaningless. Only the shocking white mass, a clear, swollen kidney bean among the gray wrinkles, and her name in boldface.


“Seth,” she’d said, a little loudly, a little meanly.

“We have a seven hour drive to talk about this.”

He’d stood there, incapable of motion, until she’d bent suddenly, slipped the paper into her desk drawer, and slammed it, startling him. She brandished her passport in her right hand.

“You promised me dinner in an ice restaurant for my birthday,” she’d said, matter-of-factly.

She’d tugged at the ends of her scarf, pulled a wayward curl away from her lip, and walked out the door of her study. Her voice floated back to him.

“And as you’ve seen, I might not have another one, so let’s get going.”

Write a piece – 600 word limit – about finding a forgotten item of clothing in the back of a drawer or closet. Let us know how the item was found, what it is, and why it’s so meaningful to you or your character.

So, it’s a box, not a closet, but there is something discovered in a drawer.


26 responses to “The Burberry Scarf

  1. Oh wow. Wow. Wow. Wow.

    I totally want to leave a longer comment, but I’m on the edge of my seat here and hoping if I peek in enough corners of your blog, I’ll find the next bit.

  2. I feel like yelling Noooo! Did she leave because she was dying and she didn’t want him to see her that way? 😦 I love her character.

  3. Oh, you had me. I was holding my breath, waiting to see what was in that drawer that spelled the end of their relationship. I didn’t guess this though. Can’t wait for the rest.

  4. Fantastic. The things people do to protect themselves. To protect others. To escape from harsh reality.

    I’m smelling the Coco from that scarf. You suck me in, every time.

  5. Oh my you have me, that was amazing, I started out relieved to see Seth and Sarah back and ended so wrapped up in their story that I think you need to do another installment for this afternoon. Amazing, amazing work, THIS is a book that I feel honored to be reading.

  6. It really is just cruel to hand us such small bits.
    Oh, wait, maybe it’s our fault with our word limits.
    Next week? 3000 words max.
    I need much more!

  7. Oh. my. God. This is amazing, so amazing. This is the first piece I’ve read with these characters. Time to go click the link way at the top for the previous entries!!

  8. ok, i’m totally going to have to go back and read the rest!! great story!!

  9. The misery! I want more, pretty please?
    I love Chanel perfume and Peet’s coffee-so the imagery was so real for me.
    The last line…gave me goosebumps.

  10. WOW. My first taste of your characters and damn if you didn’t suck me right into your world! Thank you – I have some catching up to do ;D

  11. Loved it. At first I thought it was an ultra sound and a possible happy event but then it was clear it was something worse. Very well written. The tension and emotion was intense

  12. I agree with Carrie. First I thought it was something happy, so I was a little confused when I found out it wasn’t. But I really like the momentum slowly builds. I also like the way Sara is so matter-of-fact about it. I have a feeling this is how she is with a lot of things in life.

  13. sigh. you are perfect.

  14. What?!?! She dies?
    I really need to read more of this story.
    I love it!

  15. Can you write something that sucks? Please? Just to make the rest of us feel better? I just loved it, love the way you build tension and let the story unfold so organically.

    One teeny thing: when you say “curious stool.” It kind of stopped me for some reason. Like why is the stool curious? Does it just want to know all kinds of stuff? I think you can actually go right into the description, because what you say about it lets us know it’s unique.

  16. Oh. This isn’t the end. This can’t be the end.

  17. I’m so glad that this is not the end!! And I’m glad that Nichole is raising the word limit just so we can get more of this story…you know I love it!

    Oh, and yeah, what Cheryl said – write something bad just to make the rest of us feel better, please!


  18. I love that you can just take the reader somewhere else in only 600 words. What a gift you have! I want to read more!

  19. I watched this television show once about a hotel and restaurant made completely of ice. That’s where I envision this couple going, because of the typo. You know what? I tend to adore the rare typos you make.

    Unless they are really going to an ice restaurant?

    In which case, I am all aswoon. Because that would be fabulous.

    So not kidding.

    • Probably about L’Hotel de Glace in Quebec City, or one of the European ones it was modeled on.

      And yep, that’s where Seth is taking her.

  20. I so am loving this, I can’t wait to see what happens next!
    My mom went to an ice bar…..all they sold was vodka!

  21. I am very curious to see where this goes next.

  22. Well.
    I asked for more, didnt I?
    and now I am sad.
    I wish I could pay you to write just for me.
    I would like a neverending flow of you…

  23. I love that you tie in scent with the scarf. This is a really powerful piece.

  24. Gah! I have to go back and read… I like this piece! (and you challenge my vocab…)

    I will have to agree with Nichole – The little bits are starting to play out like a soap opera – I hate soaps. Their addictive… (and yes, I may or may not be admitting that I have watched one…)

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