One of our assignments this week was to find a small ad and write about the seller.


The pain in her legs was excruciating.  She didn’t know how to describe it to people.  A sharp, dull ache which penetrated every moment of her day and more of her night than she’d like.  Jemma had been living, living, that was a joke, like this for years.  Slowly the pain had got worse until she struggled to make it out of bed.  It was a long time since she’d walked further than the few metres within her studio flat.  Her painkillers wearing off were like an alarm clock to her.  Every day at 8.30 she woke up.  By 9.30, she’d managed to have breakfast and shuffled over to the recliner chair.  She resented the chair.  She loved the comfort it provided and how much easier it made her live but she was 22.

Once in the chair, she began her mundane routine.  Every day was the same.  She would intersperse awful day time tv with her latest book.  She used to love reading but now she couldn’t afford to buy books so all she had on offer was the tattered selection the home library service dumped with her every fortnight.  Today’s unappealing novel was a diatribe about World War One.  Although it was better than the time she’d been given a travel guide to read.  That was torment.  She couldn’t get out of her flat, why would they want to torture her with the idea of a holiday?

Once a week, Jemma’s friend would drop round a stash of newspapers and magazines which she rescued from the recycling at the surgery where she worked.  Jemma was careful to pace herself; she had to make them last seven days.  Normally a collection of free local papers and gossip magazines, occasionally there would be something out of the ordinary.  Jemma now knew more about trout fishing that she’d ever wanted to and could tell you all about cat care!  Today’s magazine was quaintly covered in flowers and embroidery.  Not Jemma’s thing at all.  But she couldn’t afford to be picky.

She flicked through the pages, her mind spaced out on medication, until an article caught her eye.  She would read the entire magazine, letters pages and everything, but she preferred to at least try and start with something good.  This time it was a photo that caught her eye.  It was of a small bird made out of the most beautiful paper.  Somewhere deep inside Jemma there was a spark of interest and excitement.  The article was about the history of paper folding and instructions on how to make the bird yourself.  Reaching around the chair, Jemma found a piece of newspaper and began folding.  Moments later, she sat smiling at her creation.  It was the first positive thing she had done in months and she felt a fizz of pleasure.  Inspecting her work more closely, she found she’d used the small ads pages and there, on the wing, was an advert:

Origami over 40 Origami books plus Origami papers, £25

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