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The Boy and the Girl - Short Story

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Old 06-27-2008, 03:07 PM
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Default The Boy and the Girl - Short Story


I thought I'd take a break from my novel Teenage Wasteland for a day and switch gears. I've never really tried to write a "romance" short-story but I thought, "Hey why not try and challenge my abilities."

Here's what I came up with...

THE BOY AND THE GIRL

I want to tell you a story. Itís about a boy and a girl who knew each other a long time ago and drifted apart, only to return to the same place they started and never should have left. I want to tell you this story but Iím not sure if youíre ready to hear it or rather, appreciate it. I donít know if youíve been through enough heartache to understand what happened and to see that the boy and the girl were always meant to be together. True soul mates, who are intertwined for the rest of their lives, no matter what happens. I will tell you this story regardless with the hope that one day you could be this girl, or this boy and find what you have always been looking for and does exist; true love.

The girl had a much harder life than the boy. She was forced to leave her home at a young age, uprooted to an entirely different country where she didnít know anyone. She made do with what she could, finding new friends in the wrong places, doing things she probably should not have been doing. She thought she was reinventing herself but what she was really doing was destroying everything she had built. Emptying herself of all emotions, replacing them with whatever she could to fill the void. It was unintentional mind you and it wasnít until later that she could fully understand what had happened. Some might say it was too late but not the boy, he loved her regardless of all these things.

When she was young she got pregnant but not married. Her children were beautiful, all three of them and she loved them more than the angels love their Father. They are the reason she stopped trying to fill the deep, empty space inside her. They filled it, or at least, some of it. There was still something missing and it wasnít until the boy came back that she knew what it was. Her life had been filled with love, just the wrong kind. When the father of her children left, another man came to replace him and they were married. Now things were better for the time being. Life went on and so somewhere, did the boy.

His life was difficult, just in a different way. He moved away too but it was to go to school and graduate. That was before he got sick though, when all his dreams were laid out before him like a glorious buffet where he could pick and choose which ones he wanted to have. His disease crippled him though, not in the literal sense of the word but he was devastated. Bed ridden after many surgeries, unable to see what his future held anymore, he sometimes contemplated giving up. He was urged on though, by false love and false hope and false promises. They took him to places he didnít want to go but was happy to be at the time. He was accepted and loved in the very loosest terms of those words. That is until his world crashed and the ones he thought he loved and loved him disappeared, sending him into a downward spiral the likes of which he never knew existed. He drank and drank and drank, sometimes to kill the pain, sometimes because he liked it. Then one day he saw himself in the mirror. Not as a reflection but as a person, a real person who deserved more and wanted more. Without knowing where to start but knowing he wanted to get there, he stopped drinking, stopped pitying himself and began his life again. Picked himself up by his bootstraps, as the saying goes.

So as the boy was starting over the girl was just finishing. She had settled without knowing she had settled. She had forgotten what she wanted for herself, sacrificing her wants for her childrenís needs, like it is in most cases. That was okay though, she could do that. She could numb herself if need be, lie to herself and tell herself that what she had was love. Sometimes itís easier to live that way; and that is how she did. Until the boy came back into her life.

She didnít know how he found her, just that he did and that was all that mattered. His first letter was casual enough. She sat down at the computer and read it over and over. How are you? What have you been up to the last thirteen years? Married? Kids? Write me back, Iíd love to hear from you. It took her a while but yes, eventually she did write back, and told him everything.

They boy read her letters and cried. He would come home from work at night, hoping and praying that she had written and when she did it was always with such emotion that he could hear it in her voice, the voice that was still in his head from another place and another time. He opened up to her, telling her all that his life had brought. He didnít think it would be easy but he surprised himself. His feelings, his thoughts, eased out of him like water from a glass. When the SEND button was pushed he felt better, knowing that the girl would read his letters and not judge. It was the start of something special, he thought, and it was.

The months went on and they talked every night. They put their letters aside and went on to messaging one another in real time. Somehow it made things seem all the more real. The first time he heard her voice he cried afterwards and she did the same. They talked about the passage of time and how much their lives had gone in different directions, yet all seemed very similar to them. It was almost as if no time had passed at all and in a way, it hadnít. The comfort and security they felt with one another was as if they had never been separated and soon the boy said what he had wanted to say for thirteen years. ďI love you.Ē The girl cried.

It was hard on them at times. After all, the girl was still in a different country and had her kids and her husband. At night the boy would fall asleep with his arms wrapped around one of his pillows, picturing her there next to him. Many times he awoke and the pillow was soaked with his tears. The girl, while knowing the sensitivity of the situation, could not and would not stop thinking about the boy. Every fiber of her being told her that this was what she had been looking for and for the first time in her life, she knew what happiness really was and it wasnít with the man she was with. It was with the boy, the one she should have always been with. She left her husband. Taking a leap of faith bigger than any canyon she did it, and she was happy. She knew it was the right things to do.

They continued to talk about the future. The boy told her that he would always love her and hold her and keep her safe. He was so far away but at night, in her dreams, he was there and during the day all she had to do was close her eyes and he was there. He was there, she was there and yet; they were together.

After a year the boy knew it was time. He had never loved anyone like the girl and never would again. They were connected, destined to grow old with one another and return to stardust. He called the girl one last time and told her he loved her. He was crying but she didnít know why and that made her cry. He promised her that he would always be with her, that he would hold her and keep her safe. This scared the girl, the way he was speaking. They cried together and that night, the boy left.

It wasnít until two weeks later that the girl found out what happened. She awoke one morning to her son lying in her bed, digging his tiny toe nails into her back. She rolled over, kissed him on the forehead and tucked him in as she got up. The paper would be out on the stoop by now and she put on her housecoat to get it.

The day was bright; she could see it already darting through the curtains. It was going to be another hot one. She turned on the air conditioner before going outside. The paper was there, bundled up with an elastic but it seemed thicker. It was only Monday. A feeling came over her then that she still to this day cannot describe. It was as if the paper contained something that she knew represented everything and she thought of the boy. With the hesitation of someone about to touch something they already know is hot, she picked it up. The thin elastic snapped in an instant and the paper unrolled itself, a box that was inside it fell to the ground. She stood there looking at it and the tears began to fall. ďHere, let me get that for you,Ē the boy said as he came around the house. She stood there, like someone frozen in time or playing a game of Freeze on the playground. The boy dropped to his knees and picked up the box. He opened it and looked up at the girl. Their eyes met for the first time in thirteen years and she too, fell to her knees in front of him. He didnít even have to ask. ďYes,Ē said the girl.
The boy took her face in his hands and wiped away one of her tears with his thumb. He kissed her and held her and it was there on the porch with them both on their knees that their lives began.

END

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Old 06-27-2008, 05:44 PM
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I'm not sure whether I should smile or cry, so I think I'll keep a carefully composed facade of neutrality instead. First off, I think you have the wrong tone for writing romance...if I read a romance scene, or watch a love movie, I want to feel the emotions, feel what the characters are going through...not just see them by sort of hovering over their shoulders with the notebook and camcorder. To put it plainly, it just didn't grab me.

Thumbs up for the nearly flawless grammar and spelling, neatness is always a good thing! My final words: you've got a story, it just isn't coming out! Watch the detachment level.
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Old 06-28-2008, 06:07 AM
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This does read very much like a story told, not shown, and with a very detached air, but I shall presume you chose the voice intentionally and move on.

As far as mechanics, you have many sentences that would be helped by the insertion of a comma or two. I know some people use very few, while others use a lot, so it can be a matter of taste. You also have a number of fragments standing alone as sentences. Generally, it's a good idea to keep these to a minimum since they lose their effect if overdone. And that's it, I think.

As for the content, it was a lovely story simply told. Even until the final paragraphs, I had no idea whether the two would find each other outside of the virtual world. But, like Winterbite, I wasn't sure what my reaction was supposed to be. Because of the voice, I was simply an observer of someone else's life and not emotionally involved.

You say this is outside of your normal zone, so maybe that is the key. Still, you did a good job and I had no trouble reading it, other than occasionally wanting to know where to pause, so you obviously have talents beyond the range of those you usually exercise. Well done!
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Old 06-28-2008, 07:05 AM
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I'm assuming, judging from your intro, that this was a flash exercise. That you just sat down and started typing away in genre that was alien to you. I applaud your effort.

That being said, there was alot that was rough here. You seem to have glazed over the meeting of these two characters, and it was hard to follow. There was also the emotional coldness, that Winterbite mentioned. You need to remember that Romance is emotionally driven, more than by actions or events.

The idea for the story itself is beautiful. I've lived a similar life to that of "the girl" and so I know that it is a plausible scenario. But you do need to work on the opening, as it left me confused. Also, the opening is, IMHO, the most important part of the story as it convinces your readers to ask questions. Questions which can only be answered if they keep on reading.

Great exercise, lots of potential. I would love to read the revised version.
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Old 06-28-2008, 02:22 PM
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i'd dump that addressing the reader opening paragraph, for starters...
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Old 06-28-2008, 09:19 PM
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Thanks for your comments gang. It was, as Nemesis said, pretty much just a flash exercise so it was interesting to hear what most of you thought.

The "romance" genre is completely alien to me as a writer so I was just having fun with this one to see what I could come up with. Honestly, I felt as detached writing it as you all did reading it. The only conscious thought I had before I started was to try and avoid all the cliches I could, which is probably why I wrote it as a story told rather than a story shown.

Anyway, it was a fun exercise and as for rewriting it, yeah - that ain't gonna happen anytime soon. I'll stick with the apocalypse, thank you very much

J.
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