NEW LEAF, OLD STALK • by Sarah Hilary

You told me you loved me, very matter-of-fact. “Pass the bread? And by the way…”

You said you knew it was unrequited, which it was. You said it didn’t matter, but it did. The first move was always mine.

After the disaster that was Irene, I’d resolved to stop; no more broken hearts. I’m proud of my abstinence, a reformed heart-breaker. But you’ve made a resolution, too. Haven’t you?

Here you sit, devouring bread, a contented smile on your face.

I ordered oysters to be witty, but you’ve killed my appetite.

“I love you.”

Three little words and I’m impotent.

Sarah Hilary’s stories have been published in The Beat, Neon, SHINE, Bewildering Stories, Every Day Fiction, Velvet Mafia, MYTHOLOG, Heavy Glow, Twisted Tongue, Static Movement, Kaleidotrope and the Boston Literary Magazine. Her short story, On the line, was published in the Daunt Books 2006 anthology. She won the Litopia “Winter Kills” Contest in 2007. Sarah lives in the Cotswolds with her husband and young daughter.

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Every Day Fiction

  • Anne-Elisabeth Moutet

    Ah, the perennial excuse of the picky seducer! And they probably believe it themselves, too!

    The wit of oyster, he has. Nicely done!

  • Thank you!

  • Lovely, short sharp and so so true!

  • gay degani

    Sharp,witty, both apply. Good.

  • Oonah V Joslin

    As always, Sarah…masterful. Oonah 🙂

  • Avis Hickman-Gibb

    Beautifully put Sarah! Lets hope the beggar stays that way!

  • Sarah: I loved it!

  • Touche’–ah, love…

  • mark dalligan

    Lovely take on an unwillingly jaded suburban roué.



    • Many thanks, Mark, and what a perfect summing up!

  • Freddy Bob

    I don’t get it…

    • Sorry about that, Freddy Bob, 100 words can be restrictive. Basically, the narrator prides himself on being a heart-breaker and the one who makes the first move. He is trumped by the woman’s declaration of love, which steals his thunder rather completely. Hope that helps.

      • Gerard Demayne

        Kudos for explaining that because it went right over my head too. When you explain it it becomes so obvious, and I can see how very subtle and clever you were being. Kinda annoying in a way because it’s like having one eye and having to have someone explain 3D vision to you.

        Note to J&C – more stories with car chases and guns. Those I understand.

        • Thanks for that, Gerard. I like stories with car chases and guns, too!

      • Thanks, Sarah, I hadn’t got it either. Mainly, the gender confused me. I assumed it was a woman’s perspective but then Irene threw me off, and I wondered if she was gay by chance, and then got further confused. Post explanation, it makes sense.

        • Thanks for reading, Hasmita. In fact I don’t think the gender matters. The heart-breaker could be male or female. It’s their undoing at the hands of the other woman that makes the story, I think.

    • I find that Sarah’s work frequently contains subtleties that only become apparent on a second read-through.

      I felt the same way as you, but because this story was so short, I didn’t mind reading it over again. When you “get” it, the story becomes delicious.

      • Thanks, Jordan. What a very nice way of putting it!

  • Excellent flash, Sarah.