Lesbian Drama Romance

“What’s all this?” Emma asked with a weary voice as she stepped into the living room. The warm flicker of candlelight danced across the walls, casting a soft glow over the inviting picnic blanket that lay spread out on the carpet. The gentle strains of Fletcher’s music wove through the air, wrapping the room in an intimate ambiance. Inside out in my feelings. 

Sophie turned around, a sheepish grin tugging at her lips. “Oh, Emma! You’re home early… I thought I still had time.”

Emma crossed her arms and asked, “Time for what?”

Sophie smiled and walked over to Emma. “For our secret special date night!”

Date night? Did she forget a special occasion? She’s really not feeling up to this. “And, may I ask, what’s the occasion?” She put her arms around Sophie and rested her face on her shoulder, a familiar gesture, her warmth and scent having the power to restore Emma, but not tonight... I ain’t there yet, but I’m healing. Good for you, Fletcher. But was Emma healing? Has the process even started? Is it even possible? 

“No occasion… I just wanted to make you feel special. You know, with everything’s that’s been going on.” Sophie’s fingers traced soothing circles on Emma’s back, a silent reassurance.

Everything? Like a date night can fix what’s happening to her. Emma let out a sigh. “That’s really sweet of you. But you shouldn’t have gone through so much trouble. I’m not really in the mood. Please don’t be upset.” Emma could feel the tears rising up in her. Lately, it’s so hard to breathe, yeah.

Sophie’s grip tightened around Emma, her voice sincere. “Of course I’m not upset. But at least wait until you see what I’ve cooked?” 

As if on cue, the rich aroma of Sophie’s cooking wafted through the air, a tantalising dance of fragrances that would normally have beckoned Emma’s senses. The smell of home; the smell of love. It was a symphony of flavours in the making – hints of garlic and rosemary mingling with the earthiness of roasted vegetables, each scent weaving together to create a tapestry of comfort. The warmth of the kitchen was ready to embrace her, but she did not want its embrace, not now. Would she even be able to hold a fork properly? No one said that it was easy. Got that right. 

Emma’s stomach rumbled and she nodded, her expression conflicted. “It smells delicious, it really does. But I’m not hungry. I’m just going to bed early. I’m sorry, Soph.”

Sophie’s face fell, and she let go of Emma. “Yeah, sure. Fine. I’ll just eat alone,” she said, adding “Again,” after Emma was out of earshot.  

Breaking down, don’t mean I’m broken (yeah, I’m broken).

Emma went to bed, but she wasn’t sleeping; she was just lying in the dark staring at the ceiling. Her turmoil began months ago when her paintbrush suddenly slipped from her fingers, landing on the floor with a soft thud. At first she thought that she had merely overdone her painting session. When she gets in the zone she tends to lose track of time. But when she tried to pick up the brush, she couldn’t. Her hand twitched involuntarily, a jolt of tingling shooting up her fingers like electric sparks. She clenched her hand, trying to will away the strange sensation, but the numbness persisted. Sophie tried to reassure her that it’s nothing serious, that she just needs a bit of a break, but that she should go to the doctor to get reassurance. In the days leading up to the appointment, the numbness and tingling got worse, and it appeared to be spreading to other parts of her body. At times, in addition to feeling numb, it felt like she was being stabbed. 

Finally, the day of her appointment arrived. The doctor’s office was sterile and bright, the scent of antiseptic hanging in the air. 

“I’m afraid I have some bad news, Emma,” the doctor began. 

Her heart sank to her feet. Was she dying?

The doctor continued, mentioning the possibility of peripheral neuropathy and Emma’s thoughts went into a tailspin… She was feeling dizzy and her heart was racing. Peripheral neuropathy? The term felt heavy and unfamiliar, carrying a weight of uncertainty and fear. 

The following weeks were tough as doctors tried to determine the root cause of Emma’s condition. While medication helped with the pain and Sophie was being very supportive, the loss of sensation in her hands left her inconsolable.

Now as she was lying in bed, unable to sleep, she thought about everything that this disease was taking from her. There’s her art, which was basically her whole life. Her painting is not just a job. And it’s more than just a passion. It’s how she expresses her love to the world. And to Sophie. Sophie, in fact, is her biggest inspiration, and traces of her can be seen all across Emma’s work. The object of her affection and her muse for the past 12 years. And the thought that she won’t be able anymore to feel her soft skin with her hands was killing her. She thought back to one of their early dates, where Sophie made Emma do an online quiz on love languages…

“So? What did you get? Tell me!” Sophie asked, barely able to keep her excitement contained. They were having dinner in a fancy Italian restaurant. Most of the guests had already left. 

Emma laughed. “You’re really invested in this, huh?”

“Well, I wouldn’t say that! It’s just fun. But yes, I do hope we’re aligned!”

“I can tell you we’re aligned without doing a test, Sophie,” Emma said as she reached out for her hand, their fingers intertwining. “But, to appease you – here are my top 3: physical touch, quality time, and acts of service.”

“Hmmm, that makes sense. And it explains why you didn’t think much of my flowers last week.”

Emma chuckled, her fingers idly playing with a loose thread on the tablecloth. “Hey, not true! I did appreciate it. I do like gifts, but yeah I guess I do value other things more… and by the way there’s more than one way to give gifts. Like, time is also a gift, or my art – each brush stroke, every colour I choose – it’s like a part of my heart that I transfer onto the canvas. Sorry, I’m rambling again.”

“You’re not rambling, I love it when you get passionate. And I get it. I mean, I may not understand it fully, but I see the beauty in it. And the love.”



“I do, you know? Love you.” It was the first time she had said it. On only the third date, keeping lesbian stereotypes alive. 

“Interesting. I didn’t see words of affirmation on your list,” Sophie said teasingly. 

“Ha, yeah. Maybe words are not my strong point and I show my love in other ways. But I just needed to say it now, so I did.”

“Well, don’t you want to hear my results?”

Emma’s heart sank. Had she messed it up, did she say it too soon? She tried to force a smile and pretend she didn’t care. “Of course, let’s hear it.”

“Words of affirmation, physical touch, and gifts.”

“Ok… well, at least we have touch in common, hey?”

“Indeed,” Sophie said and winked at Emma, “and also… I love you too. Wanna get out of here?”

As she was reminiscing on the early escapades of their relationship, Emma heard Sophie tip-toeing into the room. “Hey, Em, are you asleep?”

“No, just resting, can’t fall asleep.”

“In that case, can we talk?”

Emma sighed deeply. “You know, I’m really not in the mood.”

“I know, but I have to say this, and I have to do it now. I love you, but…”


“But I’m not sure it’s enough, Em. These last few weeks, months, I don’t know. I’ve been trying. So hard. I know you are suffering, but I’ve been trying to show you that we can keep connecting in other ways. And the same goes for your art. I know your art is important, but you are so much more than that. And that’s not to say you won’t be able to paint anymore, but even if that’s the case, it’s not the end of the world, we can get through this, but you have to at least try.”

“So now, on top of everything, you want to leave me?”

“That’s what you got out of what I said?!” Sophie screamed. “That’s it, I’m done. I just can’t anymore. I’m going to Jessie’s.”

Emma clenched her fists in frustration, her nails digging into her palms as she watched Sophie leave. She wanted to call her back but remained silent, tears welling up in her eyes.

The next day, Emma mustered the courage to pick up her paintbrush again. The once-familiar tool felt foreign in her trembling hand, prompting her to secure it with tape. As the bristles touched the canvas, the outcome proved different from her previous works, but not necessarily inferior. More importantly, she found solace in the process. 

In the days that followed, she ventured into uncharted artistic territory, exploring photography, graphic design, and the lyrical world of poetry. Among these newfound creative outlets, the written word resonated with her the most. Hours upon hours were consumed in the passionate crafting of a poem, and at long last, she gazed upon the final product with a sense of fulfilment. She sent Sophie a message, asking her to meet her at their favourite spot, a semi-secluded beach on Wellington’s south coast. 

The beach was like a canvas of sand, waiting for the strokes of the tide. Emma stood on the shore, the soft grains of the sand shifting beneath her feet. The sun bathed her in its warm embrace, and she could feel its gentle heat seeping into her skin, soothing her nerves like a comforting touch. Her heart raced, each beat echoing the uncertainty of the moment. She took a deep breath and closed her eyes for a moment, trying to quell the rising tide of anxiety that threatened to consume her. The rhythmic sound of the waves crashing on the shore echoed in Emma’s ears, a soothing melody. 

Her heart fluttered with anticipation as she set up the picnic. She knew this meeting was a chance to show Sophie how much she had changed. She wanted to prove that their love was strong enough to weather any storm. She thought of the many arguments she and Sophie have had these last few months, all the hurtful words that have been spoken, on both sides, but mostly hers. She realised that their relationship, like the shifting sands beneath her, had its own ebb and flow. And perhaps it was now time for a new beginning. The sea breeze caressed Emma’s skin, carrying the scent of the ocean. She closed her eyes, letting the wind tousle her hair. Then she heard Sophie’s voice behind her, and she smiled. 

“What’s all this, then?” Her voice held a hint of curiosity, but also a touch of hesitation. Their eyes met. Both understood the gravity of this meeting.

“Oh, just a few of our favourite things.” She paused, letting the words linger in the air before continuing, “And I wanted to give you this, it’s a gift.” Her voice cracked slightly on the last word and she handed her a piece of paper. 

Sophie opened it and read out loud: 

canvas for our souls

my fingers seek solace in whispers of air

edges blur in twilight’s fusion

dreams entwine, souls in vibrant profusion

echoes linger, but connections hold true

my destiny looms in whispered hues

unfelt touches, a silent dance 

will life’s tapestry 

find a new chance?

in stillness my thoughts take flight

a canvas aglow with murmured dreams, each stroke a firefly’s touch

perspectives blend

new beginnings in each bend

life persists, a daring spark

igniting paths through the dark

gentle rhythms in quiet array

unveiling life in a different display

love’s heartbeat beneath the frost

a pulse unyielding

never lost

and always you

always you. 

“Em, this… it’s so beautiful. Are you a poet now?” She asked with a twinkle in her eyes. 

Emma hesitated, her gaze fixed on the poem she’d poured her heart into, her vulnerability on the page for all to see. “I don’t know, I’m not sure. But maybe?” She swallowed hard, her voice punctuated by a tremor in her voice. “I’ve been so … so difficult. Can you... will you…”

Sophie wrapped her arms around Emma, holding her tightly. Their embrace was tense, and Sophie’s voice trembled as she answered. “I won’t lie, this has been incredibly hard for both of us. But I do understand. And I’ll always love you.”

They settled on the beach. Emma’s gaze was drawn to a seashell nestled in the sand. She picked it up, cradling it in her palm. She noticed its delicate spirals and the way it had weathered the tides. The seashell, like their lives, had endured rough seas and emerged with a unique beauty all its own. She decided to keep it as a reminder of the beauty that could emerge from broken pieces.

As the sun dipped below the horizon, Emma watched the waves sweep in and caress the shore, their constant ebb and flow a reminder of life’s unending cycles. The seafoam danced in the fading light, carrying away the remnants of their past troubles, leaving behind a clean canvas of sand. They’re not there yet, but they were healing. 

September 01, 2023 22:43

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.


Bring your short stories to life

Fuse character, story, and conflict with tools in the Reedsy Book Editor. 100% free.