Friday Fictioneers: The Paper Trail Jar

PHOTO PROMPT © Priya Bajpal

Meg invented the Paper Trail jar when we first moved in together.

I’d come home from work to find a confetti of candy coloured paper folds leading me to it. I’d stoop, snatch up each slip in turn –

Welcome home, love … You’re my star … You warm me … Never leave.

This morning when I woke, mouth sour and gummy from last night, her side of the bed was cold, empty aside from the jar. I tipped the contents on the sheet.

Your sadness stifles me … You don’t see me anymore … You’ve murdered my love for you … I’m leaving.


Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers. See here to join in and to read the other tales.


55 thoughts on “Friday Fictioneers: The Paper Trail Jar

  1. Meg is a bit of a bitch. Her switch in feeling towards him feels rather abrupt. And, this is like the “post-it note breakup” in Sex and the City! Coward’s way out.
    Loved it, Lynn.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It does feels abrupt but that’s partly due to word length – I think we can assume time and events have passed. I never watched Sex in the City – how dreadful. I wonder if anyone has broken up like that in real life – sadly I think the answer is yes

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I don’t know. My impression is that the narrator’s sour and gummy mouth from the previous night was probably from over-indulging and who knows what goes with that, perhaps anger, violence? Maybe her way was the smart way.


      1. Ah, so glad you picked up on that Sascha! Exactly the hint I was hoping to give – perhaps he has problems of his own. Thank you very much for the thoughtful comment

        Liked by 1 person

  2. The message on hers, “never leave,” was a flash that something was coming up. Sad that her initial happiness went the way to her leaving. Played out too much with marriages. Nice, but sad, take on the photo.


    1. True, but I’ve left a lot out – perhaps she did try to speak to him, perhaps he’s just not a man to listen. She might have good reason for walking away and leaving such hurtful messages. Thank you very much for reading and popping by Susan


    1. A potted story of a relationship. I guess no reall story ends well if you follow the thread to its final conclusion. Thank you for reading and the kind comment, Lish


  3. Feels like whole jars full of paper notes are yet to be read. Perhaps, he will get all his answers in those.
    Wonderfully written, as always.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. A great glimpse into their life and how a lovely idea turns very sour. Maybe talking in time would have helped.


  5. That’s a clever way of condensing the story of their relationship. The references to sadness and to sourness tell us that Meg’s departure is hardly unexpected. Beautiful writing that leaves the reader to imagine the relationship based on the significant details you include.


    1. Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment Penny. I’m so glad you picked up on the sour reference. I was hoping to infer that something was amiss in their relationship, that Meg’s leaving isn’t just bitchiness out of the blue. Glad that came through to you and thank you so much for reading


  6. A clever way of showing how the ending of a relationship can mirror the beginning. I’m left to wonder at all the things that happened in between, and at how long it had been since little gestures of love like this were given and reciprocated. And yet, the path out of love can be so similar across couples, maybe these two points in time are all that’s needed. Nicely done!


    1. Thank you Joy. I’m glad the two ‘bookends’ to the relationship left you wondering. There might have been a thousand small injuries between those first notes and the last – from both sides. Thank you for your thoughtful comments

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Jane. I don’t mind romance, but it’s an insubstantial premise on which to build a relationship, which is more about empathy, patience, understanding and compromise. Nothing gushy about it! Thank you again


      1. There’s romance and there’s that slightly phony in your face romance. I have one couple in mind in particular, holding hands under the table, whispering sweet nothings, canoodling, in perfectly banal public situations, like in our front room, or while we’d be at table. Ended in an ugly divorce.


      2. Ha! I remember my other half being like that, though there was nothing false about it – we couldn’t keep our hands off each other! 28 years later, we can keep our hands off each other, but we do still hold hands 🙂


  7. Dear Lynn,

    How sad when a relationship goes sour. It sounds like the narrator has more of a problem than just Meg’s change of attitude. I notice that you leave us to draw our own conclusions about this couple. As always, well told.



    Liked by 1 person

  8. “Her side of the bed was cold” – says so much in such a few words.
    Good piece


    1. I think much time passes between the sets of motes, though the word count is too small to show it. I think she must have good reason to behave like that – many people have read it that she’s a coward, but perhaps she has her reasons. Thank you Russell


  9. This is brilliant Lynn. He should have realised if they were conversing through written notes there was a problem and in the end the notes showed him what he couldn’t see but too late.


  10. Excellent, Lynn. I think you’ve dropped a lot of economical notes (don’t know whether the pun is intended or not 😉 ) in here. The sour and gummy mouth hints at drinking, which means that he could be abusing her, or has just become more fond of the bottle and his nights out than he is of her. I liked the way you paralleled the notes written in love and the sad notes of the ending relationship.


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