Dear John

fountain pen

“What instrument shall I use, and what medium to convey my deepest and most honest wishes?”  Annalisa, one hand holding her elbow, the other holding her chin, scanned the open drawer filled with seven different kinds of pens (one with eight different nibs for calligraphy), a half dozen different colored inks, brushes of many sizes and an uncounted number of acrylic paints (some rolled tight into tiny secret snails of color, others fat and shiny like a slug that didn’t give a shit), a box of 50-count soft pastels (none broken, but all tested and of different lengths…a lovely diversity), and no markers of any kind as she detested them.

Her tabletop was scattered with a small untested, but freshly gessoed canvas, three or four half-filled sketch books of varied shades and paper grade, a tumbled stack of college-ruled note paper, a dusty box of floral stationery in a neatly-sealed box, her laptop with graphics and word processing software bursting its seams, pencil stubs varying in hardness and worn down to near nubs (note to herself to visit the art supply shop soon), and a stack of smudged but serviceable 3” x 5” Post-it notes in pedestrian, canary yellow.

And there on the windowsill, behind an abandoned cobweb, was the fountain pen he’d given her, back when he still believed in her, and she still loved him, before she’d overheard him disparaging her life’s work to his colleagues, just after he’d been denied promotion…again, and just before he’d left for a week-long professional conference.

Annalisa grabbed the post-it notes, poked her forefinger and thumb through the web, and grabbing the fountain pen, cracked it open and tested its ink on a corner of the top note, muttering “Still wet and serviceable enough, unlike our love.”

The note was brief and to-the-point and was easily contained on one Post-it; she would pack her things tomorrow and be gone before he returned.

© Liz Husebye Hartmann (2021)

The challenge? Write a story in 6 sentences, no more & no less, and if you’d like, share your creation or just visit and comment on others’ ideas, with GirlieOnTheEdge, Denise. The prompt is “FOUNTAIN”, and here’s where you join the party: Six Sentence Stories 

30 thoughts on “Dear John

  1. Having grown up during a time when one didn’t throw away something when it didn’t perform as well or as easily, or just something better came on the market, I could easily visualize the scenes in your SSS. With the price of tubes of paint, one tends to keep them as long as one can squeeze out the last little bit, even if they do look like varying sizes of slugs. Those abandoned cobwebs seem to hide out until all at once someone finally notices them. Totally enjoyed this SSS.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Biting and visual! So glad you used fountain pen for the prompt, Liz. I wanted to but couldn’t fit it into my serial. The description of all the writing and art paraphernalia reminds me of my time running an art class.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. … ‘behind an abandoned cobweb…’
    That says it all.
    And he’s certainly not worth any of the delicious materials she has on her desk.
    She’ll thrive without such a bitter man.
    i really enjoyed this six, Liz.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Such a finely wrought piece describing an artists work space, Liz, with the odd risque reference e.g. “Still wet and serviceable enough, unlike our love.” Couldn’t resist imagining the soon-to-be ex as a ‘fat and shiny like a slug that didn’t give a shit’. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  5. visual to the point of sensual, very cool.
    (I agree with the others, penning is too good for him)

    (Half the enjoyment in these Sixes is to read and try to …not so much figure out how an effect is achieved as try to sense the process.)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Irony? Methinks not. The fountain pen was the only instrument to seal the ending of the relationship.
    No matter dissolution necessary, required or demanded, there’s still a touch of sadness in releasing the good that once was into the nothingness.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I love fountain pens! I’ve ruined many a shirt with one however! LOL. My Mont Blanc was my favorite (a gift, I’d never spend that on a pen!) Good six…..brought back memories.



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