The Bowl of Parsley

Slice of Life2

I am participating in the March Slice of Life Story Challenge. Thanks to the co-authors of              Two Writing Teachers for creating this  supportive community.

I keep a small notebook in my purse. It comes in handy when I need a piece of paper or want to jot something down quickly without opening “Notes” on my phone. Once, forgetting to bring my regular notebook with me, I used it to record a revised scene from a story I was working on while waiting for my car to be serviced. Yesterday I found this page as I was rooting in my purse for something.


It brought me back to an Italian restaurant in Boston where I was having dinner with some friends. I can’t recall exactly what we were talking about, but someone mentioned that in her waitressing days she remembered a woman who ordered a bowl of parsley every day for lunch. I jotted that down in my writer’s notebook along with what I discovered about the benefits of eating parsley, and this morning I returned to it to write this character sketch.

Lucy was a regular at the Wayfair Café. Everyday, at precisely 11:43, the bells above the large oak door would sound and in she would stroll. Lucy always wore a hat, and it always matched her outfit – the flowered beret for the boiled wool olive green jacket, the purple pillbox for the double-breasted pink coat or maybe the lilac cardigan, the brown felt hunter’s hat for her soft suede skirt on that first chilly fall day. Lucy always sat in the little table by the window across from the counter where she could observe what was happening on the street. And she always ordered the same thing – a cup of pepper pot soup (snapper if there was no pepper pot), Earl Grey tea…and a bowl of parsley.  She would only eat about half of the parsley, carefully wrapping the rest in her napkin and placing it inside her purse. “I’m taking that home for my cat,” she would explain to her server, Helen. But cats weren’t allowed in the nursing home where Lucy lived…or so Helen thought.

 I have no idea where this is going, but Lucy seems like a character I might want to get to know a little better.

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6 Responses to The Bowl of Parsley

  1. lynnedorfman says:

    I love this character! We learn so much about her in this snapshot – not only what she looks like but her character traits. She is prompt and precise. She finds comfort in routines, and she is proud. I like the way you let us know more about her when we find out she isn’t taking hime the parsley leaves for her cat. Will Lucy be a character in a novel written for teens or adults?I want to read more!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Tara Smith says:

    I love that twist at the end – your perspective about both Helen and Lucy quick shift.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. arjeha says:

    This is a great character, Rose. I bet she has lots of stories to tell. All she needs is someone to listen.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. dianeandlynne says:

    I would love to hear more about Lucy, too! She is, indeed, a character who I can picture and connect with (especially as I grow older!)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. ritakenefic says:

    Precise character description and wonderful example of how jotting down notes can inspire our writing. I love Lucy!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I think I have met Lucy — spending so much time in my mother’s community before she passed. I love the dignity you gave her and hint that there will be layers to Lucy. I hope you get to know her better so we can hear her story. Thanks Rose.

    Liked by 1 person

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