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Aug 06, 2020

Drama



Week 1



Nothing to do or undo. Nowhere to be. But your alarm clock hasn’t gotten the memo yet. Exactly at 5.30 am, it lets out a wail assaulting your eardrums before gradually moving up to your brain. Your eyes take in every ray of light trickling in through the window. Slowly and reluctantly, you push yourself off the bed. 


A few hours later, you are curled up on the sofa with a cup of tea, idly scrolling through the TV Channels. A sappy rom-com with cheesy one-liners and probably a predictable ending. Switch to another channel, please. When it comes to romantic ideology, you have a lot of growing up to do.


COVID- 19 statistics. Graphs. Data tables. Haven’t you had enough of those? Next!


A young boy of around three or four is standing in front of an ice cream truck with his parents. Now, that looks pretty interesting. The parents are laughing at the way the little boy is licking the sticky cherry red mess off his fingers— remains of what looks like a popsicle. Seeing the look of unabashed joy on his innocent face, your heart starts to melt quicker than the frozen treat does. When was the last time you ate one of those? No, the frozen fruit juice on the stick doesn't count. The kind that’s made of fructose corn syrup and colours? The kind that’s so bad for you that it tastes so good when it melts in your mouth? When was the last time you had one of those? More than fifteen years ago, wasn’t it? A decade and a half old memory, still vivid as if it happened yesterday. It was your sixteenth birthday. Your best friend gifted you a box of orange popsicles, cooler included. Quite a strange gift but you loved it. You ate until it made you sick. You threw up. Then ate again. Next day you and your sister made a bridge out of all the popsicle sticks. But that was before you decided you wanted to be a famous actress. Before you decided the extra layer of fat above your waistband would mean rejection. 


Talking about rejection, your eyes flicker towards the phone resting on the table in front of you, for the tenth time in less than an hour. It lay there, awfully quiet. You unlock it anyway just to be sure. No new notifications. You are yet to reply to Aunt Maria’s message in the family group chat. She wants all of her nieces to organise a surprise sixteenth birthday for her daughter. 

Has she forgotten about coronavirus— the ultimate party pooper? But you know you don’t want to waste time explaining to her why a birthday party is practically impossible when the whole country is under lockdown. You are going to leave that job to your sister, aren’t you? You trust her ability to handle family drama, irrespective of the magnitude. Ironically, you are the actress in the family. She is not.


You are supposed to get a call from Alice, your agent to let you know how the audition went. The audition was last month and you have been patiently waiting since. After you came out of the audition room, she showered you with praises. You were magnificent. I would be surprised if you didn’t get the role. Those were her words. It did great things to your ego. But that one nagging thought stayed on. The same thought that keeps poking at you every time you look at the unopened boxes in the bedroom. 




 Week 2



Facebook. No messages there either. People talk about how the pandemic has shaken their lives. Moms discuss their daily struggles with online learning — converting mixed fraction to improper fraction and vice versa. Johnny, a guy whom you dated a while ago has posted a photo of himself with a TV show director. Instead of commenting under his post, you send him a private message. ‘ Congrats Johnny! I am so happy for you.’


Why hasn’t Alice called yet? You wonder again. The role you auditioned for, is supposed to lead you to the much-awaited career breakthrough. The role — the reason you are here, in a tiny apartment, 60 km away from your hometown. The role— the reason you quit the ‘stable’ job at your mom’s friend’s salon( Your mom is yet to forgive you for that). Everything revolves around the role. 




Week 3



You thought you knew how to deal with the stress. You keep yourself busy, always channelling the negative energy into something light and fun. So far it has worked well for you, in every aspect of life. You have a solution to every problem. Bad breakup? Go out and breathe some fresh air. Didn’t get a role? Go out and breathe some fresh air. You feel like someone has taken that choice out of you now. In the news, they are talking about a possible extension of lockdown, fearing a second wave. You can sense your confidence starting to wobble a bit. 


You are in your bedroom surrounded by the miserable-looking boxes. Stinky carpet. Leaky kitchen tap. Alice hasn’t called yet. You are bored. Johnny replies with a ‘Thank you, Jenny. I miss you. Do I still have a chance?’ You block him. 


You finally open the first box— the biggest of all, wanting to do something with your hands.


Books — old and dusty. Not going to read them. Art supplies — unused and untouched. Not going to need them either. With a scowl, you push the junk box back to the miserable corner. 





Week 4



Every day, you oscillate between the two versions of yourself. The one who thinks lockdown is almost nice as you get to finally have the much-needed break. And the other one who is afraid to return the landlord’s calls. So which one is the real ‘you’? Like everyone says, are you using your time wisely to reevaluate your life? Or are you too busy thinking if the tiny holes in the yoga pants are worth repairing?




Week 5


Hopeless.




Week 6



Wait… What’s that noise? Your phone. It’s ringing! You sprint towards the bedroom, grab it and answer with an over-enthusiastic ‘Hello’.


“Hey, Jenny! How are you girl?” Alice sounds equally excited, her smooth voice flowing through the phone line.


“Now that you called me, I feel better.” You say with a laugh. 


“This is what I like the most about you, Jenny. Your confidence.”


“Can we talk about the audition now? I’m sorry if I sound rude. But the wait is killing me.”


“Oh! Of course yes! ” Pause. “Well, Jenny. I’ve got some good news and some bad news.”


“Call me crazy. Can I have the bad news first?”


“ As you wish my dear. Unfortunately, the director decided not to offer you the role of the heroine’s sister. He wants someone younger, possibly in their early twenties. However, …”


Here comes your good news, otherwise called consolation prize. Depends on where you put the emphasis on. 


“...the heroine’s aunt’s role is yours if you want it. The director loved your performance so much that he doesn’t want to let you go empty-handed.”


“That sounds...wonderful. Tell me more about it.”


“A middle-aged woman with some hidden dark side to her. They think you have the skills to do it. So they asked me to check with you before they ask anyone else.”


You sense a ‘but’ coming.


“They have a demand though. Not a demand. It’s actually a requirement. Since the woman is portrayed as someone with a lot of issues, they think it would look more realistic if she is overweight. You get what I am saying, Jenny?”


You get it, absolutely. But that doesn’t mean you are going to like it.


“ How overweight are they talking about, Alice?” You ask, your voice shaky.


“A size 22 at least.” She says, her tone hesitant. “If you‘re interested, they‘ll make all arrangements. The nutritionist. The diet. All the other expenses involved.”


You quickly do the calculations in your head. For you to become a size 22— it would mean gaining around 100 lbs. Your mind flashes back to your past. Years. Hunger. Fatigue. Cravings. Self-loathing. 


“Is...the weight requirement negotiable, Alice?” You ask, as a last resort. 


“I wish it was. You aren’t exactly getting younger, Jenny. You and I very well know how sexist and ageist the movie industry is. But does that stop anyone from wanting to be a part of it? Not at all. Fame, money— we want it all. Like a moth to a flame, we’re all drawn to it.’’


“Choice is yours, Jenny.” She adds.


Choice. That’s the keyword here. Earlier on the phone, your mom had hinted at the absurdity of chasing a unicorn career when you could choose a stable one. Time to make a choice. Between stability and passion. What would you choose?


“Wait. I got one more question, Alice.”


“I’m all ears.”


“The diet you told me about— does it allow popsicles? Not the frozen fruit juice on the stick. The kind made of fructose corn syrup and colours? The kind that’s so bad for you that it tastes so good when it melts in your mouth?”


“I’m going to pretend you didn’t just ask me that, Jenny.”




Week 7




Lemon lime. Berry punch. Grape. Blackberry ombre. You choose happiness.



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107 comments

Amany Sayed
20:49 Aug 06, 2020

Oh wow, so creative! Your writing voice is so unique and I love it! I also love the fact that they have a family group chat, and that it's written in the second person. You know what, it's safe to say I enjoyed it all. Wonderful job Roshna!

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Roshna Rusiniya
10:53 Aug 07, 2020

Thank you! :)

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Amany Sayed
14:04 Aug 07, 2020

No problem!

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Roshna Rusiniya
20:34 Aug 06, 2020

Author's note: I borrowed the basic concept from my flash fiction ' Double-Edged' which was published in Didcot Writers.

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Niveeidha Palani
07:53 Aug 12, 2020

Hi Roshna! This story was so creative! I'm so sorry, if I haven't commented on your stories for a while. I love how you convey stories in second person! It's extremely creative and unique! Looking forward to reading more! ;)

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Roshna Rusiniya
08:04 Aug 12, 2020

Hey Niveeidha, that’s very sweet of you! Many many thanks for always dropping by to read what I write. It means so much to me. ❤️ And you don’t have to be sorry dear. We have our lives outside Reedsy too! ;) Haven’t seen a story from you for a while. I look forward to read your stories too. :)

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Niveeidha Palani
12:24 Aug 12, 2020

No problem Roshna! I currently am working on a story for a prompt, hopefully I'm able to post it on time as I have an exam today. 😫

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Roshna Rusiniya
12:30 Aug 12, 2020

Ah! All the best to you with your exam. Do well! Are you in university?

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Niveeidha Palani
12:44 Aug 12, 2020

Thank you so much! That's so sweet. Haha, about that last question, nope. I'm actually in high school ;)

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Roshna Rusiniya
12:56 Aug 12, 2020

Oh! That makes me feel so old! Ha ha

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Loveeta Rawal
16:38 Aug 13, 2020

Loved the story to the brim. Beautifully portrayed. More successes to come.

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Roshna Rusiniya
16:41 Aug 13, 2020

Thank you dear! ❤️

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Leya Newi
21:09 Aug 12, 2020

I loved the last couple lines! Very good reasoning, I thought, and I’m glad Jenny is happy. Great story, Roshna, and keep writing!!

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Roshna Rusiniya
02:38 Aug 13, 2020

Thank you, Leya. Really appreciate you reading and commenting. :)

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This story felt so real to me. I could feel Jenny's agony and her insecurities over her body image and the pursuit of her dream career. I could feel her aspirations and her frustrations. I could feel that she was trying to console her insecurities using a popsicle as her comfort food. She feels undesired and unsure of herself. She's waiting for her big break and hoping that she'll become a desired actress. Very well written! The ending is adorable. ❤

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Roshna Rusiniya
13:26 Aug 12, 2020

Thank you for your kind words Skyler! Really appreciate it. After all those years of desperate trying and self-loathing, I wanted her to find happiness even if it was in the smallest of things. A week later, she might regret eating those popsicles. But never mind. She is real. :D

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Yeah, she'll probably regret it. But eating those popsicles will bring her happiness, even though her happiness will be temporary.

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Roshna Rusiniya
13:37 Aug 12, 2020

Yes. And she has the perfect excuse too. A role where she doesn’t have to look in shape.

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Poor baby. I feel happy but sad for her at the same time. I want her to have what she truly wants. I don't want her to take anything out of desperation. I can't believe I'm talking about your character as if she's real. My God, you are a good writer! 😂💗

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Roshna Rusiniya
13:59 Aug 12, 2020

I am honoured! 😂 Honestly, I think and talk about the story characters a lot— mine and others. I feel happy for them. I feel their pain. Sometimes I feel like whacking them too. I am sounding like a crazy woman now! 😂

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Annora Chen
23:01 Aug 10, 2020

Oh myy, i like how this is related to our current life, the covid 19, luckily she got something, i was worried she wasnt going to get the job. Im glad in the end she chose happiness, ahah

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Roshna Rusiniya
07:00 Aug 11, 2020

Thanks Annora! :)

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Roshna Rusiniya
17:00 Aug 15, 2020

I have a new story, Annora if you have time to read. :)

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Annora Chen
03:03 Aug 16, 2020

ok! thank u for telling me, uwu

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Alby Carter
21:45 Aug 10, 2020

Wow! This is a really great story. Love the dialogue and current event references! Awesome job!

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Roshna Rusiniya
07:01 Aug 11, 2020

Thank you! :)

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Velma Darnell
14:30 Aug 10, 2020

I really enjoyed reading this story! It's so unique and smooth, and I liked how you have connected popsicles to the plot :) Keep going! Also, if you wouldn't mind, could you please check out my story? Thank you

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Roshna Rusiniya
17:02 Aug 10, 2020

Thank you! Sure. No problem. I will check your story out.

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Kristin Neubauer
12:01 Aug 10, 2020

This is a great story, Roshna. I love how it unfolded from Week 1 through Week 6 and how you built up the sense of anxiety and hope for the narrator. And I thought the twist was fantastic - I mean, the idea that she had to gain weight to win a role. Usually, I'd think that an actor would have to lose weight for the role and I didn't see this coming....especially for a middle-aged woman who is already expressing concerns over her changing appearance. Well done!

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Stephen Closson
06:36 Aug 10, 2020

Very cool story! I really enjoyed it!

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Roshna Rusiniya
07:37 Aug 10, 2020

Thank you Stephen. Appreciate you reading and commenting. :)

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Anna Irwin
22:28 Aug 09, 2020

Wow! This was great. There was of course that part of me that didn't want her to sacrifice what she went through to "look good" as an actress, but once you brought in the popsicles I was suddenly all for it!!!

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Roshna Rusiniya
04:10 Aug 10, 2020

Thanks Anna! Appreciate you reading and commenting. She did work hard for her body and made a few sacrifices too. But when she finally got a chance where she can have what she wants to without sacrificing anything, she grabbed the opportunity. It might not be the best decision in the long run. I just wanted her to have that ‘ small happiness.’ :)

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Anna Irwin
15:08 Aug 10, 2020

Yes! I love that you convinced me so easily that it was the right thing to do for the sake of her own joy! Also, I would really appreciate if you read some of my stories and give any constructive criticism!

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Roshna Rusiniya
17:01 Aug 10, 2020

Sure. I will do that.

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16:00 Aug 09, 2020

I love this story! I love how you tie the Popsicles into the story.

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Roshna Rusiniya
16:08 Aug 09, 2020

Thank you Jessica for reading and commenting! :)

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Bianka Nova
21:17 Aug 09, 2020

Also loved what you've done with the popsicles. It's a bit predictable, but doesn't make me like it less ;)

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Roshna Rusiniya
14:43 Aug 12, 2020

Thank you. :)

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Jonathan Blaauw
06:40 Aug 09, 2020

This is such a good story. Very well written, and the idea is great - a happy twist! I love how you capture the bi-polar attitude to lockdown, one day it seems wonderful, the next terrible. Putting those things into words is a writer's job, and you've done that brilliantly. And the growing despair is very relatable as well. My favorite part is how you use the same line to describe popsicles, but in the beginning, the tone is one of wistful longing while at the end it's excited anticipation. Very clever. These little tricks really separate t...

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Roshna Rusiniya
07:27 Aug 09, 2020

Thank you Jonathan for your kind words! I am touched! :)

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Rodrigo Juatco
16:31 Aug 08, 2020

So good! You have such a crisp writing style. So effortless to read. I like how you sprinkled humour throughout your piece. It''s all about the simple things in life, isn't it? Good to know she got her role, a

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Roshna Rusiniya
20:05 Aug 08, 2020

Thank you Rodrigo! Appreciate your kind words! As always! :)

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Rodrigo Juatco
16:32 Aug 08, 2020

And her popsicle...

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Peace Nakiyemba
16:35 Aug 07, 2020

Enjoyed reading this. Feels like it ended too soon.

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Roshna Rusiniya
20:02 Aug 07, 2020

Thank you :)

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Jen Park
09:46 Aug 07, 2020

Oh, this is quite wonderful. I love the way how you come up with each unique storytelling style. I'm glad that Jenny got both career and happiness. :)

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Roshna Rusiniya
10:51 Aug 07, 2020

Thanks Janey for your lovely feedback as always! :)

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21:58 Aug 06, 2020

Loved the ending, very funny.

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Tc Productions
18:20 Sep 09, 2020

Great Story! Creativity is the spirit behind it. The family chat is lovely and mesmerizing. Can't wait to read more! Can you read my story "Freedom to fire the flies"?

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Sarah 💜🌸
17:20 Aug 19, 2020

Finally, I found someone who's quarantine is worse than mine. I feel a lot better now. All jokes aside this was a really great story, and I liked the way you ended it. Showing how she answered yes with just popsicle flavors was very creative. Keeo it up!

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Roshna Rusiniya
18:42 Aug 19, 2020

Thank you Sarah :)

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