Perennials

Submitted into Contest #76 in response to: Write a story told exclusively through dialogue.... view prompt

7 comments

Drama Romance

“Jason!”

“Hey, Scarlet.”

“My god, where’ve you been? Why haven’t you called?”

“Nice to see you, too. And why’re you smiling like that?”

“Because I’m glad you’re here, idiot. Come inside.”

“Nice place.”

“Thanks. I bought it two years ago, with my three last paychecks from that secretary job. God, that place was terrible. I didn’t last six months.”

“You’re not a secretary anymore? But—”

“Of course. I never told you. I mean, I would have, if you’d called—”

“Scarlet.”

“Okay, okay. I work at a library now. Which you would know, if you’d called. Just putting it out there.”

“I’ve been busy.”

“Doing what, Jason? Stealing cars? Avoiding your parents?”

“I have a job at a garage. Thanks for asking.”

“I guess you were always good at fixing stuff.”

“Yeah. Wait—wait. Did I hear you right? Did you say library? You’re a librarian?”

“I like to think of myself as more of a generous caretaker for clueless library-goers, but yes, call it what you like. Hey, what’s so funny?”

“A librarian. You’re a librarian.”

“Yes. Is there a problem?”

“It doesn’t suit you at all.”

“And who’re you to decide that?”

“I’m just saying. I can’t picture you standing around shouting at people to shush.”

“I’m not a hypocrite, Jason. I whisper at them to shush.”

“Oh, of course.”

“I’ll have you know I quite enjoy this job.”

“Really.”

“Yes, really. Come on, sit down, sit down. The couch doesn’t bite. You don’t have to stand there behind it like an uninvited guest.” 

“Hm. So...what’ve you been up to?”

“Eh. Not much. I started a book at one point. Not sure where I put it. Oh, and I’ve been gardening a lot.”

“It’s winter, Scarlet.”

“So?”

“So what’ve you been gardening, icicles?”

“Ha, ha. There are these things called greenhouses, genius. Ever heard of ‘em?”

“How the hell can you afford a greenhouse?”

“Came with the house. The old lady who lived here—her son, he was moving her into a senior home or something, and he was super eager to get rid of the place. Sold it to me cheap. Anyway, I’ll show you the greenhouse. C’mon, this way. It’s out back.”

“Why’d you quit your secretary job?”

“Oh my god, Jason, what is it with you and my career path?”

“I’m just looking out for you. You love to talk. I thought you would be a good secretary.”

“It was awful, Jay. Customers, well, they aren’t all that smart. When they hear something they don’t like, they tend to blame the person who told it to them, rather than the person whose fault it is. It’s the same with being a waitress, I assume. ‘Oh, the chef cooked my steak wrong? Must be the waitress’ fault!'”

“Okay. I get it. Wow, you weren’t kidding about the greenhouse. This is big.”

“Mhm. Yeah, just right through here. Watch your step.”

“It’s hot in here.”

“That’s kind of the point of a greenhouse.”

“Oh, shut up.”

“Look at these blue ones. They’re my favorite.”

“Yeah. They’re nice.”

“You seem so excited.”

“Plants, you know. They do that to you.”

“Hilarious. So. A garage, you said? What’s it like?”

“It’s fine, I guess. They’ve got me working four days a week now, ten o’clock to three. I get paid okay. Enough to cover rent.”

“Hm. And what about Natasha?”

“What about her?”

“Oh my god, Jason. Don’t tell me you left her too.”

“Fine, I won’t.”

“When are you gonna commit to someone? When are you gonna start living? You can’t just keep messing around forever, Jason.”

“Oh, look who’s talking. You haven’t dated anybody in what, five years?”

“I’m perfectly happy where I am, thanks. You, on the other hand.”

“I’m happy.”

“Yeah, okay. That explains why you keep disappearing, and why you keep getting fired, and why you haven’t had a serious relationship, like, ever. Commit to someone or commit to no one. Girls are not your toys.”

“I never said they were. Natasha just...wasn’t the one.”

“There’s no such freakin’ thing as the one, Jason, don’t you get that? Just find someone you like okay, settle down, start a family, get a stable income, work for thirty years, retire. That’s what everyone else does.”

“Wow. You’ve changed since the last time we talked.”

“I’m just being realistic. Maybe we could afford to run around like the world was a playground back in high school, but we can’t do that now. Wake up and start living in the real world.”

“How did this conversation end up so serious?”

“No clue.”

“Changing the subject. You got any friends? Besides me, the most important one, of course.”

“There’s a girl who works at the coffee shop. She’s nice. Her name’s Poppy.”

“Poppy, huh. I’m starting to think you have a thing for flowers.”

“How very observant of you.”

“You know other people can see when you roll your eyes, right? It’s not just an in-your-head thing.”

“Yeah. That’s the whole point of rolling your eyes.”

“Sometimes I think you’re too sarcastic for your own good.”

“Yeah, well, right back at you.”

“What’re these flowers?”

“So now you’re interested? Those are hydrangeas. Perennials. Live up to fifty years.”

“Perennials?”

“Yeah. Plants that live over a year. Duh.”

“Hey, you’re the flower nerd, not me.”

“They always come back. Perennials, I mean. Even though they look dead in winter, they always bloom again. You've just gotta be patient.”

“I love you, Scarlet.”

“Oh, Jason. Oh, Jason, no.”

“I love you.”

“Jason.”

“No. No, you listen. I love you and I want to be with you and I can’t commit to any girls because none of them are you.”

Jason.”

“And you tell me to be realistic and settle down but I can’t, and you know I can’t, because that’s not who I am. I might seem lost but I know what I want. And I want you.”

“Jason. Jason, stop it. We can’t do this. I can’t do this. You know it would never work.”

“Says who? What larger force is keeping me from being with you? I don’t understand it. I don’t.”

“My parents hate you, Jason. They don’t even want us to be friends. They would never approve. Even if I wanted to, I couldn’t.”

“Screw your parents. Screw my parents. Screw everybody in the goddamn world except me and you.”

“Jason. Jason, you listen to me. You’re my best friend and I love you. As a friend. We will never be anything more than friends, because that’s not what we are, and I’m sorry if you don’t like it but it’s the truth. We’re too different from each other. You were right, I’ve changed since you last saw me. Because now I know how the world works, Jason. And we could never be together. In this world, or any world.”

“Goodbye, Scarlet.”

“No. No, Jason, don’t go. Please.”

“I said goodbye.”

“Jason. I can’t lose you. You’re my best friend.”

“I. Said. Goodbye.”

“Please, Jason. I’m sorry.”

“I love you, Scarlet. Too much.”

“Jason! Jason, no! Come back!”

“Goodbye.”


January 16, 2021 04:33

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7 comments

Scout Tahoe
13:58 Jan 16, 2021

I’m smiling right now. It’s a big smile. One that stretches from ear to ear. It might be because you posted before the deadline, or because Jason professed his love to Scarlet. Either one. Aha, this was so good. You could imagine the characters through your words. Also, the dialogue was so realistic. Their relationship was clear, yet so complicated. Best friends, yet Jason hadn’t called. Congratulations on this wonderful piece.

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Jean Young
03:57 Jan 20, 2021

Great job! Your dialogue created this underlying tension where you just knew someone was about to spill some secrets...I’m glad Jason got it off his chest! Also, I am very jealous that Scarlet has a greenhouse. :)

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Tia Jackson
16:54 Jan 19, 2021

I loved this. It made me laugh out loud at parts, then want to cry at the complete and utter unrequited loved. It’s awesome. If you had to write a book — I’d buy it

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Ru .
16:49 Jan 16, 2021

This was so sweet but sad, I felt honey and bitter lemons in my mouth while reading. I'm so happy you posted! The dialogue was executed fashionably and gave us a clear window into the characters' lives. Loved the perennials bit, stunning piece Mia!

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Mia S
04:35 Jan 16, 2021

I wrote this on a whim in, like, an hour, and I'm honestly not sure how it turned out. Horrendously unedited, so feel free to critique to your heart's content. Thanks for stopping by.

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Unknown User
11:11 Apr 15, 2021

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Mia S
20:12 Apr 15, 2021

Thanks so much! And thanks for coming and checking it out. Glad you liked it :D

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