Creative Writing Story – Second Chance

South Penrith Neighbourhood Centre Creative Writing Group meets every Tuesday, 9.30am – 11:00am. We are a group of writers who love the written word in all its forms. Each week, with the aid of writing prompts and exercises we flex our writing muscles, as we encourage and inspire each other.

The story ‘Second Chance’, written by Trish Rogan was inspired by a simple photo of an antique wooden box. Everyone has a tale to tell, join us and tell your story.

Read this story below.

Dorothy Charnley – Creative writing facilitator – 0413 877 318


Second Chance

“What an exquisite box!” I exclaimed. It was the size of a petty cash tin but there the similarity ended. It was not of great age; nevertheless, I felt it was made by a craftsperson, the wood a shining teak and the carving indicating Eastern origins.

“Not everyone likes that dark wood.”

I turned to the speaker, an older woman dressed in a style peculiar to the new-age set of the nineties.

“I’m surprised you are selling such a beautiful item,” I said, too late realising I was sabotaging a bargaining opportunity.

She squinted at me over half-moon glasses. “I like your aura, give me ten dollars and it’s yours.”

“Surely it’s more valuable than that.” I seemed to be my own worst enemy at this sale. Ten dollars would be a steal and I wasn’t exactly rolling in cash.

“The box has been waiting for you. It is free; the ten dollars is storage charge.”

“Are you this generous with all your goods at this garage sale?” I enquired, glancing round at the jumble of bric-a-brac, furniture and books.

“I’m dying,” she stated. “It’s no use to me. Strangers will go through my house when I die. At least here I get to discern who gets what.”

We try to smooth over impending death. We hasten to soothe and amend such bald statements and I was no different.

“You could be jumping the gun,” I said. “What if they find a cure for your illness? You could have a full recovery then find yourself sitting in an empty house on wooden boxes, regretting this sale. What do the doctors say?”

“Oh, there’s nothing wrong with me,” she laughed. “I’m just old. I’m tired of these same old things around me day after day so I’m selling them all up and starting afresh with the proceeds.”

“But …  ” I was bewildered. “There are some beautiful pieces here; you will never be able to replace them with the same value of item.

“Not the point.” She was stubborn this old woman. “I have decided on change and this is the way I am instigating it.”

“Very well,” I said, handing over the ten dollars. “Tell me about the box.”

“It was given to me by a lover. He was an import agent, a beautiful dark skinned man I met while travelling through India. He said it came from the Vale of Kashmir and was carved by boatmen.”

I sighed.

“He said the box contained his love for me. That it was intangible yet valuable beyond all precious jewels. Open it and tell me what do you feel?”

“I don’t feel anything. How can I feel the love that he had for you?” I replied a little defensively.

“You can’t,” she said, “because it was an illusion just like his words. He desired me; he didn’t love me. He may have loved his wife in India. He may have loved his four children. We normally do love our children, don’t we ­ unconditionally, I mean – but he didn’t love me. It was I who loved him, but he left me.”

“Yet you kept the box.”

“It’s more that I kept the memory of the illusion- a reminder of my foolishness and my youth. They usually go hand in hand.”

“Why are you selling it to me?”

“I want you to give it to someone you care about, with your love. I want the box to have a second chance. It is such a beautiful object and it deserves to be used in truth, don’t you think?”

©Trish Rogan 2017.

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