Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Short Story: The Journey

I was feeling really frustrated about my lack of time to write this morning. Then Youngest kindly decided to have a nap. I set myself the challenge to write a short story in an hour and this is the result:

The Journey

I sit, pretending to look out of the window, as the bus drifts forward. I feel beads of perspiration on the back of my neck. I can’t understand why no-one else on the bus has noticed the sound of my heart, as it is beating so loud. Thud, thud, thud, is all I can hear.

I smooth my skirt and feel my pulse quicken as the driver applies the brake. Today could be the day. I can barely breathe as the doors hiss open and a group of noisy people climb aboard. Chatting, knocking people with bags and apologising, then finding seats.

None of this registers on my radar as I am only focussing on you. I glance up as you approach. Your eyes burn me as you look my way and then you walk past. I exhale as the disappointment seeps through me, but I am certain that this is only because your friend wants to talk to you, and the back of the bus is empty. Perhaps you will sit next to me on the way home. A bittersweet smile crosses my lips as the warmth of your gaze stays with me for a while.

I think of my friend, Jenny. She is constantly talking about this boy that she likes at her swimming class. She is pathetic. She thinks that he will fall in love with her, and that they will live happily ever after, or something like that. It’s all a big dream, and maybe she will realise this one day, as I get so bored of hearing about him.

It’s not like that for us, is it Jack? We were born to be together. I cherish the times we do sit together. You lean towards the back of the bus and pretend to talk to your friends, while all along we both know that our time together is precious. The best times are when you read your book and lean towards me as we go around the corners. Subtle, but I know we both enjoy those times. I feel the pressure of your thigh, pressed tight against mine, long after we get off the bus. Sometimes you even drop your books, right near me. I pick them up and hand them to you, and the touch of you, as your fingers brush mine, sends electric shocks through me. We are so good together.

Today though, you are deep in conversation with Joe. I try and listen in, but the constant hubbub on the bus drowns you out. I gaze through the steamy window as the bus takes us to the inevitable reality of school.

As the bus stops at our final destination, we all pile off and walk towards the school gates. Maybe after school, the bus will be busy and you will sit near me. I hope so, as it’s been a while and you know how good we are together.

You walk off, without another look in my direction. I don’t know why you have to treat me like this in public. It’s stupid really, when I know we are meant to be.

I meet up with Jenny and we both simultaneously roll our eyes. “Nothing to report,” I say, and we sigh in unison. But soon, I am sure, there will be. I watch you disappear into the swarming mass of people, perfectly clueless.

26 comments:

  1. This is a great story and a subject that I'm interested in (I'm working on a longer piece of fiction dealing with it). I really like how the girl compares her experience to that of her friend Jenny's and love her description of her and Jack's shared moments.

    I only have one tiny change to suggest: in the first paragraph, I don't think you need "as it is beating so loud". The rest of the paragraph conveys all you need to say and gets across how loud her heart is pounding.

    Keep writing, Rebecca. I'm enjoying reading. x

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  2. 'It’s not like that for us, is it Jack? We were born to be together.' Perfectly describes how we feel at that time of life. A little bit stalker (describing myself at that age!)I agree with Kathryn there are a couple of places where you don't have to spell the feelings out, have confidence in the atmospher of the surroundings or in small actions to do that for you. Great to see you doing fridayflash!

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  3. Thank you ladies for the comments, very helpful. I do have a tendancy to wafffle a bit so next time I will have a keener edit!

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  4. I love that, Rebecca! God, it brings back some very uncomfortable memories... The horror!

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  5. You have perfectly captured that feeling of "love from afar"

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  6. No need to go easy on you. This is good, Rebecca. I'm glad you shook off some rust and got to the keyboard when your youngest was napping.

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  7. Fun debut! Only an hour? Nice.

    You created a great image of an excited and innocent girl suffering from delusions of romance. Although I wonder if she really even believed herself.

    The bus is so ripe with drama, isn't it?

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  8. Ah, teenage unrequited love. Those were the days. You totally nailed that whole mindset.

    It really is a very good story. Welcome to #FridayFlash!

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  9. Welcome to the community. A really strong debut. Criticising the unreality of her friends wishful daydreaming and going on to commit the very same 'sin' herself. Ah us humans, we are so fallible and flawed, especially at that age...

    marc nash

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  10. Wonderful debut, welcome to #FridayFlash! A very accurate and brilliantly executed piece, reminds me of my, err...friends in our youth. ;)

    I do like the double standard of your MC vs Jenny. I wonder if Jack will ever notice her?

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  11. Oh wow... I love it. Keep going hunnie... i can't wait to read more.

    Jayne

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  12. Welcome! Ahh, the joys of unrequited love. This really reminded me of crushes suffered by myself and friends during school. Thankfully mine was for Harrison Ford, and not someone I saw at school everyday. Thank goodness, I never would have survived otherwise!

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  13. Your first flash story? An excellent addition to the community! Welcome. :)

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  14. She is so weird, yet worryingly I can identify with her. Brilliant writing.

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  15. Ah, to relive those teen years ... not for a million dollars! Ha! You've captured it very well ... oh, the stress we put ourselves through, all for naught. I enjoyed your story very much - welcome to #fridayflash! Think of me during naptime, i'll probably be trying to write during my daughter's naptime as well ;-)

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  16. I'm with PJ - I wouldn't relive those years for a million dollars. So heartbreaking.
    A wonderful debut. Welcome to #fridayflash!

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  17. This does bring back memories... Your MC and I are very alike.

    Very good together, indeed :-)
    Great debut, and I look forward to reading more from you.

    Welcome to #FridayFlash!
    ~2

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  18. What I really liked in this was the way she trivialized her friend's romantic yearnings, and did the exact same thing. Kids are so self centered at that age. You captured that well.

    I can see this as a coming of age tale, or as a stalker/horror story. She seems just a little bit creepy. I like that ambiguity.

    Nice debut. Welcome to #FridayFlash.
    ~jon

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  19. Cool story! Love how the ending talks about being clueless...hehe

    Great job!

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  20. Nicely told tale of a few heartfelt moments in this teenagers life. A very nice debut, Rebecca.

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  21. I was thinking exactly what Jon said.

    Welcome to FF.

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  22. Creepy. Great but creepy. Welcome to FF :)

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  23. Well written in only an hour. Quite the debut. I enjoyed this piece. It was...uncomfortably comfortable. :)

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  24. Incredible result for an hour's worth of effort. I like your character. As the others have stated, you've captured the mindset of that age; especially the "it's different for me" attitude.

    Welcome!

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  25. I work with junior high kids and this so reminds me of the same things I hear from them about their current crushes. I think every girl can relate to going a little "fangirl" every now and then. :) Great debut. I love the sting of her critique towards Jenny, that felt authentic to me. Girls can be vicious.

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  26. Nice debut to FF. I think we all had something like that at one point or another, or maybe just me? I'm strange in my thoughts I think. I liked this.

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