Of Jasmines and Viridescent

Submitted for Contest #51 in response to: Write a story that begins and ends with someone looking up at the stars.... view prompt

194 comments

Submitted on 07/20/2020

Categories: Romance

Without my eyewear, the sky above belongs in a museum of modern art right alongside Van Gogh's starry night. The light radiates from every star and my distorted lenses twist it into gleeful patterns. Returning the starry night to constellations of pin-pricks is simple, but my glasses stay right in my pocket while I take in the sky above. The grass on my soles is soft on soft, warm on warm, a gentle tickle as each giving strand forms a cushion of green. Each strand moves in the summer breeze as easily as my hair, the waves and rustling as alive as my steady breaths. Mom? Dad? Why did you have to leave me like that? I say to the stars pretending they are my parents. Tears well up in my eyes as I cry. My chin trembles and my lips quiver.


I hear heavy footsteps approaching me, crunching the leaves beneath. I sit up straight and try to force a smile. "You have been crying again. Haven't you?" I hear a smooth voice. It's none other than Tayler, of course. He lost his parents the same night I did. Since then, he has been my guardian angel. I smile and look into his eerily serene gray eyes that look deep blue in the dark. And, he smiles back.


It had been a chilly December morning when the news arrived. My parents had been killed and nobody seemed interested in telling me that. My relatives had been pretending to be all sweet and condescending up until...until Tayler arrived. "Tess, they...they got killed ." Brutally murdered, he had said. I was five and I didn't know what murdered meant. Not until my parents' corpses were brought in front of me. Not until I was told to bid them farewell. Not until I was told that my parents had gone. Forever!


Tayler and I used to live in the same house. Despite having good family terms, we never interacted much. I minded my own business and he minded his own. I didn't know that he had gray eyes that looked hues of hazel in the afternoon and aquamarine at night. I didn't know that his front tooth was chipped. I didn't know he had a small scar right under his left earlobe, which was both tiny and innocuous. Not until I turned eighteen.


"What are you thinking? Reminiscing about the old times. Eh?" Tayler takes my hand in his and suddenly the air around us grows chill. I shiver and thus, he pulls me closer towards him. What would I have done without him? He looks at me with soft eyes as if sifting through the grains of my thoughts, separating the wheat from the chaff. "I wouldn't live without you. Never," he answers.


Eighteen. I got to know everything about him when I turned eighteen. I got to know that his fringe kept on falling back into his eyes even after tremendous tries. I got to know that he was ambidextrous: was able to write equally well with both of his hands. I got to know that his favorite color was viridescent because it meant life, nature, energy, harmony, growth. Because it meant the color of my eyes. It was on that day he showed me his tattoo. He had a small tattoo that said ‘T' on his right ankle. “For you, " he had said.


I feel a raindrop fall against my skin, followed by several others, but I don't have the heart to go back inside. I move slightly, crossing one leg over the other, leaning back on my palms to observe the remaining constellations uncovered from the clouds. The moon hangs full and hazy beneath an eclipse of blazing stars, allowing me to see Tayler's face, brightly illuminated. Our bodies are a fountain for the incoming rain, the water making my eyelids heavy. I close my eyes, a rattled sigh passing through my parted lips as I do so, causing my breath to fog up in front of me, obscuring my vision, as I take in the feeling of wet, bruised skin.


I feel an insect crawling on my skin. Panicking, I open my droopy eyelids to see Tayler, grinning. He is holding Jasmines in both of his hands. Jasmine, my favorite flower. "C'mon, you loser. You aren't allowed to sleep over here." And, before I can argue he stands up and gets going. Being the lazy brat that I am, I lay still trying very hard to go to sleep.


Tayler and I became best friends in a very short span of time. Wherever we went, we went together. I had no one except for him. He had no one except for me. It had been my twenty-second birthday party when he proposed to me. I hadn't known how to react and so I had burst into tears. Everyone except Tayler had soothed me. Stupid him. Stupid him. Stupid him. Back at our home, he had rolled his eyes at me as if I had spoiled his 'perfect proposal.' I didn't have the courage to face him and so that night I had cried myself to sleep. He still makes fun of me for doing that. Stupid him. Stupid him.


I'm lost in my past when Tayler snaps me back into reality. "Hello, hello! What is happening, Tess?" Sweet, our friends call us. He never calls me Tessa. Never. He wants to pretend that we are the best couple to ever exist. "Can we please go inside now?" He asks and gives a pleading look. I smile and motion for him to sit down. He folds his arms and remains standing firmly at his position, his brows creased with annoyance. He looks cute as a button just like a five-year-old. "Sit down," I say realizing that is the first time I've spoken throughout the night. He turns around and stomps his feet which automatically makes me laugh. I feel relaxed and that makes me realize just another thing: my face is damp. I have (probably) been crying. "Tayler. Come on. Sit down." I pat the grass and move to make some room for him. When he still doesn't listen to me, I grab his arm and pull him down. "Oww…" he mutters.


I lay my head in Tayler's lap while he tells me just how many things he loves about me. I am trying to close my eyes, slowly and slowly, drinking in the night full of stars and the moon which is covered by murky clouds that blend in with the rest of the sky.


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194 comments

Zilla Babbitt
18:11 Jul 22, 2020

Okay, finally got around to commenting. Not that I wasn't drawn in; I'll usually go and read the day I say yes to reading, but then I'm lazy and think, I'll comment later. Anyway, this is better showing, great descriptions, and I like how you weave a storyline of "true love" and yet give hints (Tayler rolling his eyes at Tess for spoiling the proposal) to indicate that something's not quite right. Also the dependence she has on him, and the way her guardian angel falls in love with her... hmmm. Things to work on: Flashbacks. The italiciz...

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Batool Hussain
18:16 Jul 22, 2020

Thank you for your true feedback;)

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Zilla Babbitt
13:41 Jul 24, 2020

You're welcome!

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Daniel Bussey
01:43 Jul 26, 2020

"I close my eyes, a rattled sigh passing through my parted lips as I do so, causing my breath to fog up in front of me, obscuring my vision, as I take in the feeling of wet, bruised skin." I could be misunderstanding this line, but I too notice a dark undertone to this piece. Why does Tess have bruised skin? Is Taylor hitting her? (I may be reading too much into that line). And Taylor making fun of her for crying herself to sleep when she "messed up" the proposal? There are definitely moments that show there are unhealthy aspects of their...

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Zilla Babbitt
18:54 Jul 26, 2020

My thoughts too. On the surface it's a sweet little love story, but there are hints both large and small that this story is darker than it looks. Sort of scary, and done really well.

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Batool Hussain
06:12 Jul 27, 2020

Okay, now that the two of you have read a lot too much "in between the lines" I'm definitely thinking of doing a part 2 of this now!

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J. Ernst
20:00 Jul 22, 2020

Nicely written . I especially liked the sentence: "He looks at me with soft eyes as if sifting through the grains of my thoughts, separating the wheat from the chaff."

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Batool Hussain
12:16 Jul 24, 2020

Thank you. Your comment is so sweet;)))

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Daniela Vaudrey
12:21 Jul 22, 2020

This is amazing! I’m just wondering, do you have any tips on how to separate paragraphs in a way to make the words flow but not have giant paragraphs or only one sentence ones? I have noticed that many people here know how to do that.

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Batool Hussain
13:42 Jul 22, 2020

Thank you! You're too kind;) I'll tell you what I do;) I write my story in a flow. Like not leaving the work pending on any other day. And, the paragraphs keep on being formed for themselves. No specific tips. Just dedication and concentration! I don't know if this makes sense. If no, just ignore it. Happy writing;)

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Daniela Vaudrey
17:15 Jul 22, 2020

I think I understand, thanks

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03:16 Jul 21, 2020

This story was really well done! The imagery was beautiful and I aspire a vocabulary as large as yours! You always put so much time into character development and an engaging plot. You write like a poet, and lines such as "drinking in the night full of stars" are "the air around us grows chill" is such a poetic thing to say and I love it. Take care, A.

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Batool Hussain
18:17 Jul 21, 2020

This means so much, Anna! Thank you♥

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Thom Brodkin
23:36 Jul 27, 2020

This story is beautifully told. I love this prompt and your take on it. I am a new writer and seeing stories like this one inspire me to be better.

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Batool Hussain
06:08 Jul 28, 2020

Thanks. This means so much:)

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11:36 Jul 24, 2020

This is love. You blend the stars in with this story so that we can clearly see love underneath. I like the way you've played Tayler out, keeps getting really good.

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Batool Hussain
12:03 Jul 24, 2020

Thank you so much!

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17:35 Jul 22, 2020

This is so beautiful Batool. You are a bit of a romantic aren't you? Well done!

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Batool Hussain
18:18 Jul 22, 2020

Thank you! And, about the question, I don't think I am;)

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Quill Porter
04:51 Jul 22, 2020

I love the emotions running in this story! The flashbacks were a beautiful touch. Good job!

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Batool Hussain
05:24 Jul 22, 2020

Thanks

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Rosa Rainbowz
04:02 Jul 22, 2020

OMG! After I read this, I was thinking, you got yourself a new follower! This is so detailed! Thank you so much for sharing <3

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Batool Hussain
05:25 Jul 22, 2020

Omg! This means so much, Rosa;) Thank you so much!

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Rosa Rainbowz
14:24 Jul 22, 2020

You are very welcome!! 😄

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05:31 Jul 28, 2020

Such a sweet story.. Could you have added something on Tess's part too, like Taylor's tatoo? It's just my thought.

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Batool Hussain
06:10 Jul 28, 2020

Thanks for your true feedback:)

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Michelle Bynum
00:59 Jul 28, 2020

I was completely engaged in this. Your descriptions are spot on. I was really feeling the dark undertones of their love story, but with the lightness of their true friendship was spectacular. You are really good at character development and getting me to care for Tessa.

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Batool Hussain
06:09 Jul 28, 2020

Thank you! This means so much:)

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22:16 Jul 27, 2020

This was great, Batool! Quick question: I peeked at your bio and it said people can find you on Instagram at Harken Void. Harken Void is the name of another Reedsy author...are you Harken Void or is this just a coincidence? Also, would you mind checking out my story ‘A Poem By A Star (No, Literally)’ if you have the chance? Thanks! Again, amazing job! —Aerinnnn!

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Batool Hussain
06:04 Jul 28, 2020

Hey Aerin! Thank you for reading and appreciating it. Nah, I'm not Harken Void. Its someone else. But, if you use Instagram, do follow me over there plz:) Ill definitely check out your story in a while as I'm in the middle of an online class right now! Take care:)

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10:01 Jul 28, 2020

Cool thanks

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Nayab Ahmar
20:03 Jul 27, 2020

Loved this story!! It was strangely haunting, which kept me hooked till the end :) If I had to describe this story in two words, I would say it's hauntingly beautiful. Great story, keep writing!!

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Batool Hussain
06:07 Jul 28, 2020

Ah, thanks. This means so much:)

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Nayab Ahmar
18:15 Jul 28, 2020

No problem :)

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Ankita Chaurasia
18:13 Jul 27, 2020

I loved the description at the beginning of the story... Was kind of hoping for the guardian angel to be imaginary and someone who was clearly visible only when Tessa discarded the glasses, but that's just the drama queen in me :) great work!

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Batool Hussain
06:06 Jul 28, 2020

Hehe! Thanks:)

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Ananya Kharat
17:49 Jul 27, 2020

Hey! This story's pretty compelling and I do like your writing style. It's very descriptive and the reader can almost feel the atmosphere the story is set in. However, you don't let the reader sink in the tiny details- you pretty much tell the main character's past instead of showing. You could fix this by adding dialogue talking about the past, or adding things in parenthesis, similar to Stephen King's style. Overall, the story was a good read, you just need a little polishing! Keep working at it :) And hey, I recently submitted something b...

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Batool Hussain
06:05 Jul 28, 2020

Thanks. And, sure. I'll do so in a while:)

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Rhondalise Mitza
15:01 Jul 27, 2020

Oh, I like this one too, Batool! It's writing like this and making good connections with the community that launched you right up the leaderboard. Fan-tas-tic. Hope your online class went well! This story reminded me of something really really sweet that has kind of a mysterious aftertaste and you're wondering, "Hm, am I going to get sick? Am I going to have a peaceful dream? What's going to happen now?" And that was really good. :D

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Batool Hussain
16:14 Jul 27, 2020

Thanks. I'm off to reading yours now:)

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Cee Tee
14:17 Jul 27, 2020

Wow, I love this story Your ability to use words to describe is top notch. And I noticed she had wet bruised skin is that a hint to something?

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Batool Hussain
16:13 Jul 27, 2020

Thank you! Perhaps, it is;)

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Shivani Manocha
08:48 Jul 27, 2020

Loved reading this beautiful story:) Especially the ending. I mean I found it very smooth and a unique way to end a story. Nothing too showy, or climactic, or mysterious, just a very sweet and loving scene. Great work!

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Batool Hussain
16:08 Jul 27, 2020

Thank you:)

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Roshna Rusiniya
06:16 Jul 27, 2020

This is a very sweet story. Really enjoyed it.

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Batool Hussain
06:18 Jul 27, 2020

Thanks.

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Selene Sweck
01:03 Jul 27, 2020

I was drawn into the story and thought it was well written; however, I wondered why her skin was bruised. There seemed to be contradictory emotions for the scenes. It felt like an incomplete story that you wanted to read the end. I wanted to know the significance of the parents murders too or more in the story. Certainly, I’m no authority, this is only my second story.

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Batool Hussain
06:12 Jul 27, 2020

Thanks for your true feedback:)

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