56 comments

Drama Fiction Sad

You had this friend, Charlie. She was the kind of person who broke limbs while fitting into yoga positions and cried while watching Elf despite the fact that she was Jewish. Charlie liked to buy piggy banks of twisted animals and tell stories about her free days. 

She’d tell this one story about an all-nighter in college. You went to the same college and exchanged clipped words but still you didn’t appear in the story. It didn’t bother you, really. Charlie owned a house and you owned an apartment. Perhaps that’s what bothered you. But Charlie was married and drinking bourbon to boast about the heart benefits, if there actually were any. 

Charlie invited you to a picnic in the dead of winter. You showed up knotted in blankets just before the afternoon sun swallowed the park. She was lying on a tarp over the frozen ground. Another woman, Mel, was there. She appeared in Charlie’s college story. Mel lay next to Charlie, their eyes captured by the sky.

You sat next to them, feeling your crumbled cookie in your pocket. There was no need to apologize for being late because Charlie didn’t care about that kind of thing. 

“Why do you have a boy’s name, Charlie?” you asked her, resting your head on your hands. 

She smiled, but only slightly. “What’s in a name?” 

You considered this, lips peeling apart. Charlie’s questions required no answers sometimes. 

“How are the kids, Charlie?” Mel piped in. 

“When someone says good does this mean they’re actually good?” Charlie inquired. Mel stayed silent. 

The wind swam through your clothes. It howled in your ears and made you dig your fingers into the frosted dirt. You looked at Charlie. Her fingertips were white and blue and her hair danced in the air like snakes. 

Charlie had short hair back in college but she grew it out just to let her little babies tug on it. You couldn’t imagine having children. And you’d never actually met any of Charlie’s. You called them Baby even though Charlie had mentioned one was eight years old now. 

Mel shifted uncomfortably. She had big hands and Charlie twisted her fingers together. Next was your hand. Charlie grabbed it and squeezed. You never felt so lonely. 

“If I asked you to look at the sky would you do it?” Charlie asked. 

You and Mel opened your eyes wide and stared at the blanket of gray before you. There was a slight humming sound and you saw a little black dot streak through the air. In its wake, white smoke curled into patterns. You held your breath because it was beautiful. 

“Why do you have a boy’s name, Charlie?” you asked, sitting up. 

“Would I get to ask more questions if I were a boy?” she countered. 

You said nothing. The little plane and its smoke looked like it was cracking the sky into pieces. But then you realized the patterns resembled letters. By then the plane had already scribbled ‘WILL YOU’ for the entire park to see. 

M

Charlie sighed, her breath puffing from her cheeks and staining the scene. 

A

You crossed your feet. 

Mel seemed transfixed on the plane. 

R

You and Charlie knew what was happening—

The plane did some sort of twirl in the air and messed up the ‘Y’. Mel pouted. You opened your mouth to speak but Charlie beat you to it. 

“Are they practicing?” She licked her lips. You nodded, letting out a breath you didn’t know you had. 

A marriage proposal. You could imagine the couple, sitting on the same hill, their heads resting together. The plane would spell it out and would they say yes? Would they be happy? There were so many questions. 

Charlie brushed her eyes and it was then you saw her red cheeks. It was because of the cold, you told yourself. 

“Why do you have a boy’s name, Charlie?” you asked. 

“How would you react if I told you I was divorcing Will?” Her words came out quickly and whistled through her teeth. It wasn’t a question but that’s how she spoke. Mel’s lips parted and she turned to face Charlie, their fingers till entwined. You didn’t react but felt a sinking feeling. 

“What about the kids?” Mel wiped hair out of her face. 

Charlie frowned, “Do you think they’ll miss me when I’m gone?” 

“Do the bees miss the flowers in winter?” you said, and turned to look at Charlie. 

There was ice on her cheeks and you wanted to kiss it away. You wondered if it was tears but Charlie didn’t cry. Charlie also didn’t like metaphors and you used them to snap her back into reality. 

“Is a man sad if he thinks a Christmas tree symbolizes Nazism?” Charlie looked at the ground. “Is it sad if a Jewish girl wants her children to see a tree with lights?” 

Mel smudged Charlie’s mascara until it looked like a mere shadow under her eyes. She was always the girl who used your older sister’s stale makeup but those days were over. 

Charlie coughed into the crook of her elbow. “Would it be sad if I told you both that I only invited you to this cookie exchange to tell you about my sad divorce?” 

You noticed that the little plane was starting over again with the proposal, spelling out the words carefully. Charlie didn’t see it. 

“Would it be sad if we actually exchanged the cookies now?” Mel asked. 

So you did. Mel received your crushed cookie with cold hands. She licked the icing and cleaned her fingertips. Mel’s cookie was plain with no icing. Just browning cookie. You suspected it was slightly burned when Charlie bit into it. Charlie’s cookie was perfectly frosted with an array of sprinkles. They fit nicely into a reindeer shape. It tasted like red-brick depression and childish ingredients. 

Mel left soon after. She pulled down her sleeves and hugged Charlie. No hug for you but you were okay with it. 

Charlie folded the tarp. You folded the blankets. She rubbed her hands on the grass. You stood. 

You had this friend, Charlie. She was the kind of person who asked questions without answers and divorced crazy men. 

“Why do you have a boy’s name, Charlie?” you stared into her eyes. They were brown. 

“What does a name define?” Charlie asked, and began walking into the mist of the park.

December 06, 2020 20:17

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56 comments

Scout Tahoe
20:18 Dec 06, 2020

I challenged myself to write a story with the dialog being all questions. The title will stay Untitled unless you have a better idea. Thanks for stopping by.

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R. K.
20:54 Dec 06, 2020

I love it. Like a lot. The vibe, the questions, this might be strange but the verbs. Shortlist is coming, I feel it. The title, hmm. Doesn't suit this too much. I like Names, Questions, Unanswered, Undecided, Open, Open-ended, Definition, Undefined, Pending, Masks, Between the Lines etc.

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Scout Tahoe
23:25 Dec 06, 2020

Thank you, Ru! I changed the title, you have so many great ideas.

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I really like this entire story, it was very creative and absolutely lovely to read. Great job! :)

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Scout Tahoe
02:59 Dec 07, 2020

Thanks! And congrats on 50 stories.

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Thank you!! :)

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Zilla Babbitt
22:14 Dec 06, 2020

I think it would be some nice parallelism if you either wrote "Is a man sad... is it sad if a Jewish girl... Would it be sad..." or else "Would I be crazy to tell you..." Beyond that I have no critique. This was beautiful. I loved how all the dialogue was questions. That's really unique, like writing a book without the letter E unique. Both you and Rhondalise have just posted stories in the second person. I'm reading yours first. That last question was as good as "A rose by any other name..." I think the title shouldn't be Untitled but my...

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Scout Tahoe
23:28 Dec 06, 2020

Thank you for your critique and comment. I’ll be taking the critique and changing it the story. So glad you liked it.

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☆ Ariadne ☆
05:04 Dec 28, 2020

I was drawn to this story first out of all of yours I have to catch up on because of that first paragraph. Charlie's personality is so close to mine (though I'm not Jewish). The mood of this story was consistent throughout -- I love the melancholy vibes. This could have definitely been a shortlist.

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Scout Tahoe
14:12 Dec 28, 2020

Haha, I hated this story. But thank you.

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Kylie Rudolf
15:56 Dec 14, 2020

Terrific as always! I especially enjoyed the beginning!

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Scout Tahoe
16:04 Dec 14, 2020

Thanks!

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K. Antonio
23:17 Dec 13, 2020

I really liked the story, the use of language/vocabulary. The mental images you painted were really on point. I thought the story was touching, had a nice flow, felt even relatable and you could really get a sense of these characters personalities. One thing I would critique though, is the repetitive question as to why Charlie has a boy's name. I felt that sentence was kind of unnecessary. Sure, in the beginning and even in end it was fine, but it started to get a bit repetitive. Maybe it was an inside joke I didn't catch. Aside ...

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Scout Tahoe
04:15 Dec 14, 2020

Thank you, K. Yes, I purposefully put that in there. The repeating question as to why Charlie has a boy's name. I myself am female and I have a boy's name in real life. It's a question I get a lot but cannot answer. Too bad I can't edit it anymore, but thanks again.

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John Walsh
18:45 Dec 13, 2020

Good characterization through detail and dialog, sustained melancholy mood, kudos on the unforced second person POV

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Scout Tahoe
20:16 Dec 13, 2020

Thank you.

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15:55 Dec 09, 2020

"Why do you have a boy's name, Charlie?" "What's in a name?" "What does a name define?" "Would I get to ask more questions,If I were a boy?" One of my friends is a girl named Charlie. I've never asked her this, but if I did, I'd get the same reply. This story is so touching. Thanks!

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Scout Tahoe
16:18 Dec 09, 2020

Thank you! My real name is a boy’s name despite the fact that I’m female so I get this a lot.

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16:26 Dec 09, 2020

Emmie is clearly female, but it's a unique spelling, instead of Emmy. So I also get this.

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Scout Tahoe
16:38 Dec 09, 2020

But wasn't your name "Emma" like a few seconds ago...? Is that your full name?

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16:50 Dec 09, 2020

Nah, it's always been Emmie. Emma is one of my characters, and sometimes my name gets autocorrected to Emma. So there can be some confusion, but it's really Emmie. 🙂

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Scout Tahoe
17:01 Dec 09, 2020

Okay, nice. A pretty name.

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Kate M
21:08 Dec 08, 2020

I loved the beauty of this story. The questioned answered with other questions. The characters. The plot. It was deep, meaningful, touching. Simple on the outside...but if you pay close attention, there’s something more. Creative, sad, with just a spark of inspiration. How else to define it? Usually, stories provoke about 11-14 exclamation points out of me:) This, however, was sad and dark and beautiful, was questioning and speculative. Therefore, it’s not the kind of story that I would comment with exclamation points. Our punctuati...

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Scout Tahoe
22:12 Dec 08, 2020

Our punctuation does define us. Thank you, Kathrin, for this lovely comment.

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Maya W.
14:35 Dec 08, 2020

Hey again Scout! Wow, uh, well, I'm Jewish, and that line about the Christmas tree symbolizing nazism yet still wanting to let your children see a tree with lights hit hard for me. While I do still celebrate Christmas due to my dad's father being raised Christian (he's atheist now), it's really just a cultural holiday. Still, I know that it makes my mom uncomfortable that me and my sister enjoy Christmas because of how different it is from the culture she grew up with. Of course, we still celebrate the Jewish holidays and all, but for this y...

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Scout Tahoe
14:40 Dec 08, 2020

Okay, I'm so sorry if I offended you in any way. I myself am not Jewish and this is based off my mother's friend's story. We were talking and she told me she was Jewish and that she and her husband got a divorce because she wanted a Christmas tree and he thought it symbolized Nazism. At the time I thought it was a silly divorce but decided to include it in my story. This is not my opinion at all. Sorry for my little rant to answer your little rant, haha. Thank you for the comment. And if there's anything I can do to fix this, please let ...

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Maya W.
14:53 Dec 08, 2020

Oh, it wasn't a criticism at all! Actually, it was really interesting and I'm glad you left in that line. They're really aren't enough stories featuring Jewish culture.

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Scout Tahoe
14:55 Dec 08, 2020

Okay, glad you're okay. :) You should write one, then.

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Maya W.
15:00 Dec 08, 2020

Haha, yeah. Writing about my own culture feels weird, though. Maybe I will sometime, when I get more comfortable.

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Scout Tahoe
15:57 Dec 08, 2020

Okay, good to hear.

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Hi Scout! Amazing, loved the suspense and the way the whole thing went! Great work!

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Scout Tahoe
04:16 Dec 08, 2020

Thank you!

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I actually didn't get shortlisted:( but maybe one day. Have a nice day!

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Scout Tahoe
13:47 Dec 08, 2020

Oh, I’m sorry. I needed to congratulate someone and I was so tired! Forgive me, haha. Have a nice day too!

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Sure! And thank you!

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Fjc Montenegro
16:40 Dec 07, 2020

Lovely. Writing in the second person is rare, but you pulled it off beautifully. Great stuff.

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Scout Tahoe
19:10 Dec 07, 2020

Thanks. :)

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06:07 Dec 07, 2020

I love it when you challenge yourself. It brings out a lot from you. Take this story for example. It was beautifully written. The protag seems to be jealous of Mel but perhaps I'm seeing too much. It's a great plot and the dialogues were excellent.

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Scout Tahoe
14:29 Dec 07, 2020

Thank you, Abi.

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Genevieve Taylor
20:20 Dec 06, 2020

Again, Scout, you amaze me. I'm a broken record at this point, telling you over and over again how much I adore your writing. Charlie is such a good character, and I love all the dialog. This whole thing flowed very naturally, and had a perfect balance between plain narrative and figurative language. You're on your way to becoming a legend! xoxooxoxoooxoxxxoxo -Vieve

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Scout Tahoe
20:21 Dec 06, 2020

Thank you so much, Vieve! Always so kind.

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Kenley Ellis
23:34 May 23, 2021

This was beautiful, and was so fun and interesting how it was in second person and all in questions. I had so much fun reading it!! I am so sorry I am very late to the party - but congratulations on this amazing story!

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Writers Block
00:32 Dec 14, 2020

Seasons Awaits could be a title to this as well. Your story flows along.

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Scout Tahoe
04:16 Dec 14, 2020

Thank you so much. Love the title idea.

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Amaya .
04:51 Dec 10, 2020

is that ur dog in your profile pic? because he/she is gorgeous.

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Scout Tahoe
05:04 Dec 10, 2020

Haha, thank you. Her name is (believe it or not) Scout and she's is so very naughty.

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Amaya .
22:45 Dec 10, 2020

ah naughty dogs are the besttt i want a dog really, really bad. maybe soon.

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Scout Tahoe
03:08 Dec 11, 2020

Yes, agreed. I wanted a dog for so long. I made presentations with pie charts and everything. My father is not a dog person but we got the dog when he was away for a weekend. When he came home he was *very* surprised.

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Amaya .
03:09 Dec 11, 2020

:) ive written multiple essays and everything. nothing works with my parents :( tbh given up hope at this point. no, no. i won't give up hope. lol but seriously I've done EVERYTHING

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Scout Tahoe
03:19 Dec 11, 2020

Interesting. The last step is to beg. Or plan. Either one. :) Whatever you do, do NOT give up hope.

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Deidra Lovegren
21:07 Dec 08, 2020

Gorgeous. Best line: It tasted like red-brick depression and childish ingredients. Well done here.

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Scout Tahoe
22:10 Dec 08, 2020

Thank you, D. And I’ve read yours I just need to comment. It’s so good!

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Deidra Lovegren
00:22 Dec 09, 2020

Yay 😎

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