TUESDAY: Mary, Mary


Copyright is held by the author.

MARY WAS fed up with Bob and for good reason. He had left her stranded in apartment 47B for what seemed like days. Her memory was so patchy, she wasn’t exactly sure how long she had been alone. One day? Two weeks? Time, like her memory, was fleeting. For Mary, time passed in leaps and bounds rather than any linear sort of fashion.

Mary felt Bob’s presence before she heard him speak: “Mary, Mary quite contrary, how does your garden grow?”

It was a familiar refrain, one that for some reason always got Mary talking. But today would be different. Today, Mary decided, she would not answer Bob. Today she would be silent.


Bob Sherway stared at the blank computer screen in dismay. This was his third novel, and it was turning out to be his most difficult. The problem was with his protagonist, Mary. In the last chapter, he had left her in apartment 47B. Now he wasn’t sure how to transition her to the next scene.

For each of his books, Bob developed a ritual to help the writing flow. For this novel, he always began writing after reciting a children’s nursery rhyme to his protagonist: “Mary, Mary quite contrary, how does your garden grow?”

Normally, Bob would be flooded with ideas at this point. It was almost as if he could hear Mary speak. But today was different. Today, for some reason, the words didn’t come and Mary remained maddeningly silent.


Black-and-white image of Jennifer House, hair loose and flowing, sunglasses propped on her head, off-the shoulder white blouse, looking over her shoulder as she walks down a beach.

Jennifer House lives with her family in the village of Tiverton, Ontario. Jennifer’s work has been published in the anthology Blood is Thicker: An Anthology of Twisted Family Traditions (Canadian Author’s Association and Iguana Press), and she has contributed articles to her local newspaper, the Kincardine Independent. She is currently working on her first novel. When not writing, Jennifer works at the Bruce County Public Library, where she will be facilitating a writer’s group this summer. Find her on Instagram @theactualjenn

1 comment
  1. Nice story. Short but well-written. It reminds me of my story ‘Emma’s Dilemma’, which is also on CommuterLit. Both tales explore what happens to characters when the writer ignores them for too long a time.

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