Ten Seconds of Jessamine

Submitted for Contest #74 in response to: Write a story that takes place across ten seconds.... view prompt

45 comments

Dec 31, 2020

Speculative Romance Fiction

***Trigger warning for death***


“This winter sky - how can anyone sleep? There was never such a night before! I feel like putting my arms around my knees and squeezing tight as possible, and flying away. Oh the moon! Oh the snow in the moonlight! And your childlike eyes and your distant smile, I will never be this happy again. You and I, you and I, you and I, and no one else. Maybe he came today - maybe he came already. Maybe he’s sitting in the drawing room, and I simply forgot.”


It takes just ten seconds to watch a star fall, but it’s still light coming from two and a half million years away from you. 


I watch the stars at night, always alone. I used to watch them with someone else, but she is gone now. Gone, like a feather in the air, like a whisper in the wind. I miss her dearly, but she’ll always be gone from me. Always. That doesn’t mean I’ll ever stop loving her. I will love her until the day I die, and I know she loves me still, from beyond the grave. 


I will always love her.


It takes just nine seconds to watch a petal fall from a flower lying beside you, as you sprawl out onto the wavy dark green grasses. 


I recognize the flower to be a yellow jessamine. Like my own Jessa with her flowing blond hair and crystalline blue eyes, like sapphires, dancing in the wind. It makes me think of her, and for that I cry, I cry tears of sadness for my own yellow Jessamine and her sapphire eyes. 


Or at least, I try.


I miss her everyday. Everyday, I think of her. Everyday, I wish to see her again. Everyday. 


I remember her funeral so vividly. My tears were supposed to block the memories of her like a shield, protecting me from what was to come. But it didn’t work, as I couldn't cry. All I could do was stand there like a porcelain doll, waiting for a chance to be alone with her. Waiting for a chance to see her one last time before they lowered her into her grave. I just couldn’t cry. Not a single briny tear.  


It takes just eight seconds to see a drop of snow fall right underneath your nose, the first of the winter. 


I remember the first day we met, that day in the snow. You laughed along with me, Jessa. Do you remember? Do you remember how you smiled, not through your face, but through your eyes, showing all of my own feelings at once? You made me so happy. You brought so much joy to my mind, I’m sure my own grey eyes showed the same giddy feeling of happiness as your sapphire blue ones. 


I remember. I remember the snow falling onto our feet, your pretty snow boots tracking water into the house. I remember making you a cup of hot soup, and slurping the noodles up together, as we laughed and smiled through our eyes. I remember it all, because I have no tears to block it out. 


I will never forget.


It takes just seven seconds to fall asleep, curled up on her sofa, watching a movie.


I remember your favorites were comedies, because you enjoyed laughing. I loved your laugh. It sounded just like birds chirping in the moonlight. 


I liked horror best, but now I love anything that will make me laugh, because it makes me think of you. 


It takes just six seconds for you to kiss her on the cheek, a sign of appreciation for all that she’s done. 


We never kissed, because it made me feel frozen inside. It always felt so wrong, but I never stopped staring at your sapphire eyes, wondering if our eyes locking was our equivalent of kissing. 


The closest we got was when I kissed you on the cheek that one time in late December, only a couple of years ago. Our second new year together, when I felt so uncomfortable not giving you a kiss as the dusk turned to dawn. And so I kissed you on the cheek, and you in turn grew bright red. Do you remember?


I hope you do. I hope even in death, you’ll never forget me. 


It takes just five seconds to watch her fall asleep next to you, thinking that she’ll still be alive when you wake.


I remember that night so well. I remember the dreamlike lumination coming from the glittering white holiday lights outside of our bedroom, the whole block illuminated like a burning candle. I remember your snoring, which you claimed you never did, and how I thought about how I had to tell you I couldn’t sleep in the morning.


And then I remember when the snoring and sounds of breathing fell flat, and how worried I felt. I remember trying to wake you, desperately trying, but to no avail. You were gone, just like the letters we used to exchange long ago as they dropped into the mail slot. Gone, gone, gone.


It takes just four seconds to say her name for the first time, when she first introduces herself to you. 


“Jessamine,” you say, smiling that beautiful bright smile of yours. It was the first time I ever saw anyone with that same shade of sapphire eyes, and the first time I had seen your smile, as well. 

I introduce myself to you, and you smile again. We part ways, but I mutter your name under my breath right as you leave me for the first time. 


Jessamine. 


It takes just three seconds to hand her a box on her birthday.


It contained something I saw and immediately thought of you as I stared into it. A small, clean sapphire necklace, the same shade as your eyes. It was wrapped in copper swirls; swirls that looked almost like your dark pupils. 


You smiled as I handed it to you, that same smile that made your eyes sparkle. The stone sparkled with it, as you hug me tightly, something I only allow you to do. 


It takes just two seconds to say goodbye. 


Saying goodbye to you was the hardest thing I’ve done yet. It was at your funeral, just before they put you into the ground. I wanted you to be cremated so I could sprinkle your ashes in the garden of jessamines in our yard, but your family wanted you buried. I wish I didn’t have to see your beautiful sapphire eyes so dull, or your already pale skin paler, but at least I could say goodbye to you one last time. 


I took the sapphire stone out of my hand and placed it around your cold neck, hoping that you’d be buried with a reminder of how much I love you. 


It takes just one second to shed a single tear. 


I only cried once before, and it was when I was born. I have never been able to cry, but I cried when I had to let you go. Perhaps there is no life after death, and you won’t remember me. But I have hope that if you can make me cry, I can continue to live on without you always by my side. 


Still, I will never forget you, my lovely Jessamine. 

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45 comments

Zilla Babbitt
15:04 Dec 31, 2020

Again, amazing concept. I think yours is better than mine, if more melodramatic. Six seconds for a kiss? That's a long kiss! I really liked this. Not sure if the judges will agree that this "takes place across ten seconds" (quoting again!) but if they're reasonable, they won't care. The beauty of this will blind them XD. Keep it up, Maya!

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Maya W.
15:06 Dec 31, 2020

Haha, I think maybe it felt like it took place across six seconds? Or maybe the protagonist was just really obsessed with Jessa that he did kiss her for ten seconds. I dunno. Yeah, it sorta doesn't take place across ten seconds, I guess. Oh well.

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Deidra Lovegren
21:00 Dec 31, 2020

Oh, this is elegant... Well done Maya, using the juxtaposition of 1st person POV and a clinical 3rd person narrator. It provides a great contrast. Jessamine is such a lovely name! (Minor note: capitalize "December")

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Maya W.
21:02 Dec 31, 2020

Thanks! I'll go do that now!

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Yolanda Wu
23:31 Dec 31, 2020

Wow! I think it's safe to say that this story took my breath away. The way you transitioned from referring to Jessamine as 'she' to 'you' was so subtle that I didn't even notice it at first, it shows how the narrator is distancing themselves from her at first, and then speaks directly to her, which I thought was quite clever. I loved the counting down of the seconds correlating to the actions. It was such an emotional story that had me engrossed the entire way. Amazing work, Maya!

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Maya W.
23:45 Dec 31, 2020

Thanks so much! I wrote this in one night, and I don't think it's as good as the Falling Petals, but I still really like it. I wanted that distancing effect, but I also didn't want it be too jarring and look like a mistake. I'm glad it turned out well! Happy new year, btw. I know you're in Australia where it's probably already the new year, but I still have a few hours left of 2020.

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Yolanda Wu
00:03 Jan 01, 2021

Yeah, 2020 is already behind for me, lol.

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Maya W.
00:21 Jan 01, 2021

I'm pretty excited. I'm getting a bunny tomorrow! I'm not sure why I'm telling you this, but yay!

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Yolanda Wu
01:12 Jan 01, 2021

Omg, that's amazing! Bunnies are so adorable. :)

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Batool Hussain
19:57 Dec 31, 2020

Hey, this story looks so interesting. It's 1:00 am here. I'll be back to read the whole of it later. Okay? :)

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Batool Hussain
07:50 Jan 01, 2021

Hi, Maya. This concept is so amazing. The story doesn't feel as if takes place across ten seconds. (I mean in a good way) The flow was smooth. And oh, I like your writing style so much :) Kudos

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Maya W.
11:14 Jan 01, 2021

Thank you so much!

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Maya W.
19:59 Dec 31, 2020

Haha, I just commented on yours. Thanks!

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Neha N.
18:35 Dec 31, 2020

Hello Maya, I'm quite entranced by your descriptions, in all your stories, and this one didn't fail to do so either. In this piece of yours, to be specific, the way you've used realistic elements as a break the breaks in your tale gives out such serene and soothing feelings, like those felt when you watch the ripples flowing on an otherwise undisturbed surface of a lake, or a rivulet. Besides, it's the small details that matter, or so they say, and it's pretty admirable when you bring out those details and connect it to the larger theme, s...

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Maya W.
19:00 Dec 31, 2020

Hi Neha! Wow, thanks! I'm often complimented on my descriptions (not to brag or anything, I'm criticized on a lot of stuff. too), but never like that. Actually, I find that writing descriptions sometimes is the easiest part of writing for me, and sometimes it's the hardest. I always find myself reusing words, and I try really hard for each story to be unique, because something I struggle with is making all of my characters too similar - and too like me. But while writing this, I was writing a completely different perspective. The narrator wa...

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Neha N.
06:06 Jan 01, 2021

Haha, well I wanted to make sure that, the comment would make up for all the stories I couldn't comment on (I'd been on a sort of break from writing for a while, and my comments were also quite limited the last few weeks.) You're right, descriptions can be easy and hard at the same time, all the more reason your stories are praiseworthy. Also, funnily enough, the Jessamine you've described felt quite familiar to me, until I realised that one of my friends is just like that, minus the blue eyes and blond hair. Happy New Year by the way. :)

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Maya W.
10:54 Jan 01, 2021

Happy new year! I’m glad you can relate to her, I guess? Better then relating to the narrator, lol. And thanks again!

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Neha N.
13:29 Jan 01, 2021

Thanks! Oh yeah, better than that indeed. Sure thing :)

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Pram Martonohadi
15:06 Jan 07, 2021

What a great piece of writing.. I love the way you interpret the 10-second prompt into a tragically beautiful way of connecting points between each parts.

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Maya W.
15:07 Jan 07, 2021

Thanks so much! Would you mind checking out some of my other stories? Falling Petals is a bit similar to this one, and I have a few new ones out this week! Of course, I'll read yours, too.

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Pram Martonohadi
15:33 Jan 07, 2021

You're very welcome, I'll check them out soon, Maya. And thank you :)

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Maya W.
15:34 Jan 07, 2021

Of course! Not sure what I did, though. :)

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Kristin Neubauer
13:10 Jan 01, 2021

This is wonderful, Maya! Such a creative approach and such beautiful poetic writing. So sad but so lovely too!

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Maya W.
13:29 Jan 01, 2021

Thank you!

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Wow Maya! This story was so touching, I loved it so much:) Great work, it went very deep and I loved that. Again, one of my favorites from yours:) Happy new year!

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Maya W.
02:46 Jan 01, 2021

Wow, thanks! This is very different from my usual, so I'm glad you liked it!

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Aaron Caicedo
04:05 Jan 06, 2021

Heartbreaking, but oh so beautiful. Loved the poetic phrasing, and the usage of the ten seconds. Just great!

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Maya W.
13:53 Jan 06, 2021

Thank you! If you liked this one, you might also like my other story, Falling Petals!

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A.r. Eakle
17:46 Jan 05, 2021

I actually thought I dropped a comment on this already. But, what I had said was this was a very interesting take on the prompt. That's what I love about writing and especially these prompts. They really allow us to interpret the prompts however we want. This type of story, the different take on the prompt, is what stands out to me when reading stories on here. You did an excellent job on this story. I really liked the description and detail you put into it. I think you will grow into a great author. :)

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Maya W.
17:46 Jan 05, 2021

Thanks! I hope I do!

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21:46 Jan 01, 2021

.... Unlike your other story, I'm speechless. Great job!

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Maya W.
22:29 Jan 01, 2021

Woah, thanks! I never make people speechless, lol.

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17:59 Jan 02, 2021

Well, this was en seconds of beautifully written speechlessness, so... LOL

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Maya W.
19:55 Jan 02, 2021

Huh?

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22:48 Jan 02, 2021

Ten seconds of jessamine-- ten seconds of speechlessness? Kind of a play on words that didn't work.

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Maya W.
01:21 Jan 03, 2021

Ah, lol, okay. I'm working on another that should hopefully be out tomorrow!

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Batool Hussain
07:50 Jan 01, 2021

Hi, Maya. This concept is so amazing. The story doesn't feel as if takes place across ten seconds. (I mean in a good way) The flow was smooth. And oh, I like your writing style so much :) Kudos

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Batool Hussain
07:50 Jan 01, 2021

Hi, Maya. This concept is so amazing. The story doesn't feel as if takes place across ten seconds. (I mean in a good way) The flow was smooth. And oh, I like your writing style so much :) Kudos

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Batool Hussain
07:50 Jan 01, 2021

Hi, Maya. This concept is so amazing. The story doesn't feel as if takes place across ten seconds. (I mean in a good way) The flow was smooth. And oh, I like your writing style so much :) Kudos

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Maya W.
14:43 Dec 31, 2020

I guess now I have a thing for speculative romances, because I've written three this week. Wow, I wrote a lot this week... Well, I hope you all like it!

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Kate Reynolds
02:07 Jan 08, 2021

Ok first of all I am SO SO SO SORRY i didn’t read it!!!!!!!!! I have the memory of a pea XD Anywaysssss This story was so freaking saddddddd Omg I criedddddd And it was sooooo sweet! I loved the way you took this prompt! It was very creative! Great job!!!!!!! :D

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Maya W.
02:08 Jan 08, 2021

Thanks, Kate!

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Kate Reynolds
02:08 Jan 08, 2021

Ofc!!

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