‘I can’t do it’

‘I can’t do it,’ he said to the tree.

‘No, I mean it. I just can’t do it.’

A blackbird warbled among the branches. The sun made the sweat run down his back and over there, right over there, on the only bench in the forest, she was. Ten metres away, max. He swallowed a couple of times.

‘You know she’s going to hate it,’ he glanced down the path. There was no one else nearby.

‘Alright,’ he said, ‘I’ll try. But don’t tell anyone.’

He went down on one knee and picked some wood sorrels.

‘Keep your fingers crossed,’ he said and with legs trembling went to the bench. She was reading a book. A very thick one. She was just that smart. And beautiful. With her red hair cut short in one side. He cleared his throat. She kept reading.

‘Here,’ he said, ‘they’re for you.’

She looked up.


‘They’re for you,’ he repeated, ‘here.’ He held out the little bunch of wood sorrels to her.

‘I’m sorry, I-’

‘Here,’ he said.

‘What, err…’ she looked from him to the wood sorrels and back again.

‘It’s four-leafed clovers,’ he said.

‘It looks like wood sorrels,’ she said.

He bit his lip. His eyes became moist.

‘Look, I didn’t mean to,’ she said.

A tear ran down his cheek.

‘They’re very nice,’ she said, ‘thank you.’

He sniffed.

‘You like them?’ he asked.

‘Yes,’ she said, ‘yes, they’re… they’re very nice.’

‘Yay!’ He punched the air beaming. ‘I didn’t screw up.’

‘err… Right,’ she said, ‘I had better go home now.’

‘Oh yes of course,’ he said, ‘your cats must be waiting for you.’

‘How do you know about my cats?’ she said.



This is an other exercise from the writing course.

The assignment was to write a dialogue with the title ‘I can’t do it’.

Leave a comment


  1. This is one I think I’ll try too.

  2. I liked the end part, got my mind wandering after your words ended. A sign of a good dialogue!

    • I’m glad you felt that way 🙂
      I usually try to create more questions than answers 🙂

      • I like the last couple lines as well. I think they might work even better if her prior dialogue were a bit more caustic or anti-social so as to reasonably give the other character more of a clue that she might have a house full of cats.

        Just one guy’s opinion.

      • Nice idea 🙂
        I must admit that I was trying to hint that he had been stalking her…
        Thank you for reading 🙂

  3. Oops. The stalking angle went right over my head. Sorry.


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