Monday, June 17, 2013

94. Underneath the Surface

She swam to the deep end and back, less than 20 seconds by her count.  Mike’s words still burned in her ears:  Sophie asked me to the prom and I’d rather go with her. 

While he did earn points for honesty, those were quickly obliterated by his alarming lack of tact. 
Sophie.  Why would Sophie ask Mike when she knew that Deidre liked him?  Sophie and Deidre were not friends, but everyone knew that Deidre and Mike were dating. 

Well.  Deidre knew.  And Mike knew.  Didn’t he? 
Didn’t the movies with five other friends register as a date?  Or being study partners for the chemistry exam?  The teacher let them pick their own partners, and he’d asked her.  Sure, she was the top student in the class, but still.  Then Deidre had assumed they’d go to prom together, and Mike didn’t run out the door when she brought it up. 

“I bought my prom dress,” she had said coyly in between reciting chemistry formulas.  “It’s red.” 
“Who are you going with?” she remembers him asking. 

“You, silly!”
He blushed, and he kissed her.  Well, if Deidre was being honest, she kissed him.  But he didn’t resist.  He had kissed her back for a second or two.  It was a good kiss as kisses go, not that Deidre had anything to compare it to.    

When he ran into her at the local club's pool a week later, she was excited.  A new place they hadn’t been together!  That brought their total dates to three—four if she added the time he dropped off her jacket.     
But at the club his words tumbled out like nickels from a loose slot machine:  Deidre-I’m-sorry-we-need-to-talk-it-will-only-take-a-minute. 

And it did only take a minute.  Just like that, he was done:  I’d rather go with her.    
She swam the length of the pool again, faster.  I’ll show him, she thought. 

She felt the ice-cold water against her skin as she kicked hard, and the space seemed infinite in front of her.   
trifecta writing challenge/ exactly 333 words/ required word is "club" 


  1. If this is how it works, I'm definitely in a committed relationship with my cute UPS guy. I might just plant one on him when he shows up for our next "date." :)

    Nice work. Thoroughly enjoyed it!

  2. Great development of the character (and our perception of her) in such a short story. I like it!

  3. Unrequited love. Ouch!

  4. Urrghh... that takes me back to a cringe-worthy episode from my early teens! Well-written, to evoke those buried memories!

  5. Brilliantly captured emotion in so few words - so glad I'm not a teenager anymore!

  6. the pain of that kind of rejection and misunderstanding still stings in adulthood.

    but the way you described it, the description of what she felt, what she thought he felt was spot on for that age group, and stung just as much.

    Your words gave it the splash!

  7. Ouch, you captured well her character, as well as the heartbreak of rejection.

  8. How heartbreaking. I hope she finds someone else, someone better.

  9. The thoughts of a teenager well captured, and I love that last line - without her knowing it, it suggests that all of life is ahead of her, and she'll be over him soon enough.

  10. our own perceptions can be bliss until they clash with someone else's - very well expressed :)

  11. lovely portrayal of how we too often make assumptions in our relationships - kids have it the worst as they are just learning - Great last line to end your piece as well :-)

  12. this is wonderful. i think anyone can relate to thinking a relationship is just that, 'a relationship', until the other person informs us, it's not. It's a sting for sure. I like how she decided 'she'd show him'.

  13. I could see how maybe he might have been put off by her. But there are other fish in the...ah, pool. I hope she doesn't dwell on him and instead finds someone else!

    1. glad you caught that she is a bit pushy-- heck, I wrote her and it was hard for ME to be sympathetic to her!! she is one of those characters that you feel for, but you also wish would get a clue. poor Deidre.........

  14. Pain written sharply. And that last line, is the icing on the cake.

  15. Love the list of dates. Admit I squirmed a bit, thinking of opportunities I've tried to create by stretching my inner life around reality.
    Great story, MOV!

  16. oops.. why some relationships fail before they started

  17. A case of someone too hopeful for their own good. Great characterization in this. I feel like I personally know Deidre.

  18. I liked the reference, His words came out like nickels in a slot machine. Good read.


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