The left arm was too long. Distracted, she’d miscounted the rows above the cuff.
He’d just grin and blame his shoulder. That permanent, lopsided shrug that gave his silhouette such beautiful asymmetry.
As she laid the neatly folded pullover on the grass, she noticed his headstone leaned the same way.
Tamsin is disappointed that she has never mastered knitting.
He flits between branches, his jaunty, upturned tail bobbing. I’ve seen him before, but never this close, and never singing fit to burst his tiny heart.
His head twitches left and right. Perhaps he’s just scared, but I need to believe it’s because he’s caught a sideways glimpse of spring.
Tamsin can’t sing or flit, but she’s definitely on the lookout for the end of winter.
It could’ve been a sofa ad. “Second-hand, some surface wear, but generally in good shape.”
It made Keith chuckle, like Ann used to, before they got sunk by two kids, twenty years, and brutal familiarity.
Waiting, twisting her napkin, Ann wished he hadn’t picked this restaurant. It was Keith’s favourite.
Tamsin isn’t even sure that lonely hearts ads still exist, but would like to think that they haven’t been killed off by Tinder.
With ketchup trickling from her broad grin, his daughter looks like a cheerful, diminutive vampire.
The food is too fast, the street is too crowded, the fireworks are too loud. She is loving every single minute, and her mother will be furious.
Both of these things give him deep satisfaction.
Tamsin wishes she wasn’t too cowardly for fireworks and broad grins.
The boy gently accepted the withered violin, taking the neck. And holding the bow, he felt a sizzle, like the hot fence at his uncle’s house.
The violin lifted, fitted under his chin. The bow dragged his arm toward the strings. The pair met again in his arms and sang.
Matthew Weigelt is an author and journalist, a photographer and drone pilot. This story is a follow-up to Tamsin Seymour’s Lost Chords and Unbowed.
She came for the gaping sky and arctic terns. But winter is slowly encasing the huts, the interminable statistics, the bickering. And the birds have gone.
Shedding her coat and boots to lighten the load, she steps into the snow, migrating south.
Despite only being 51˚ N, Tamsin is also dreading winter.
Her palate was broader than her father’s. On her thirteenth birthday she ate the entire cake. But she’d still not spoken. Too much sky up here?
I led her to the nearest cave and she clattered inside with a thunderous, visceral bellow. I feared it was the sound of hope.
Tamsin and Mark Farley decided to write sequels to each other’s most recent 50-word stories. This is a sequel to Fostering the Minotaur’s Daughter.
New strings, a polished case, and it was only then she discovered her uncle’s spirit lived on in the violin. The instrument wept tears of resin when she told it of her aunt’s death. That night the strings carved melody from raindrops, sliced moonlight into splinters, whispered chords of regret.
Mark Farley was only too happy to join in with Tamsin Seymour’s lovely idea of writing sequels to each other’s stories. This story is a follow-up to Lost Chords.
She touched the violin’s remaining strings. They quivered in fear. After so many decades in the cupboard, they’d forgotten how to sing.
Until now, the house had surrendered few clues to Uncle’s life before he fled Budapest.
The sudden grief floored her. She hadn’t even known he used to play.
Tamsin has started to ask her friends for 50-word commissions, and would like to thank Alison for the “musical instrument in the back of a cupboard” challenge.
“Awful man,” she muttered, kicking the encroaching brambles. “Beautiful woman,” he mused, as sunlight haloed her fair hair.
Every evening he’d toil, moving snails from her delicate beans and dahlias to his indestructible thicket.
She never wondered why her allotment flourished. Or who left the gifts of glorious blackberry jam.
Tamsin doesn’t have an allotment, and she has to be her own snail shepherd. Despite best efforts, her runner beans are still being severely chewed.