Coming of Age Fiction Romance

This is stupid. A diary. I’m writing this in a diary, because I hope I can tear these pages out, just like I wish I could tear out the memory of today.

I wonder how I’ll see myself one day? Will these pages make me smile? Or in reality, will they make me cringe, as I cringe now? Or will I hurt, as I hurt now- a deep, gutting hurt that stifles me, stutters this pen, makes me wish I could scrub this memory clean?

Is it always going to be like this?

It’s been a while since I’ve written a diary. I’m clearly rusty at it.

Perhaps going back to the beginning will help.

Plunged into a new class, new school. I can’t remember when I first noticed, till I just knew I would. I didn’t notice a whole lot then. My thoughts were all for Mum.

She was hard not to notice.

It’s regular and cliche now. Just a crush, right? Everyone has them.

Two memories. The first is funny, because I thought it was just on my side. When she did that ridiculous double take outside my class, and burst out into that stupid annoying triumphant delighted grin, I felt-so indignant, horrified, mortified. I thought it was clear mockery.

I wish. At least that, even that. I wish.

Why did she have to do that, then? Why did my heart have to leap with this unutterable, idiotic hope?

But then again, it’s not the first time I’ve come across people thinking they’re being subtle, while they’re either pointing or laughing at me, finding some amusement in my being. It’s annoying.

Is that all it was? The instinctive reaction to my appearance?

Even that would’ve been- but I’m getting ahead of myself.

It wasn’t even for me, that smile.

Anyway, to continue with my weird obsession to justify and take apart and put on a pedestal a foolish crush.

Gilding the lily.

No. She needs no gilding.

The second memory I have was in the library. I remember the acute discomfort and weird flush on my stupid face when I was waiting to check out my book, and then turned around to realize that she was there too. Cue one of the most uncomfortable moments I’ve ever endured at school. It was weird, and yet not. She was there with her friend, and I nearly tripped in my rush to get out the door when I’d gotten my books.

She isn’t beautiful. She hasn’t a single feature that stands out as beautiful. But no one is likely to forget her.

Not that I’m much more than a plain Jane myself- but I’m not in her league. Too off, misshapen face.

Surely my scars make me noticeable?

It torments me now. Oh god, I’m all over the place.

Back to some coherency.

I have a third memory now.

The third was just different. Nice. I was feeling low, and sad that morning. I missed Mum. I think I was also feeling terribly alone and lost, because I couldn’t talk to anyone at home; not the way my siblings have with each other. I’m the odd one out.

It was at the prayer assembly, I think I’d gotten in late. The prayers that morning felt different, because I was really listening to the words and focusing on them. Some of my misery lifted, and I felt just a little better. When the prayers were done and I think they were singing, I realized that she was standing right next to me. I felt a bit startled, but for the first time, I didn’t feel uncomfortable or painfully shy. It was nice just standing there. And when we had the final prayer, I even felt a little happy.

Oh, how? How could I have been so alone in this obsession? Why did I have to see her, be aware of her?

She is the light of the room. Yet she only moved with a small group of her friends. How did she not have more people flocking to her? Why couldn’t I have been one of those insensate people around her who didn’t seem to realize how wonderful she was?

I thought I could show her. How special she was. How much she meant. To me.

Later that year, I realized that our classes always stood next to each other in the assembly. Rarely did I feel uncomfortable on that field. Though I knew I’d be horrified at the idea of ever having to talk to her. 

I wish I’d stuck to that.

But that changed. After I nearly fell at her feet, being so enraptured by her that I didn’t even- no. I don’t have to write about this last memory, surely? Why write it, when it’s emblazoned across my memory forever?

It felt good to see her around the school. Apart from those moments. Among many moments.

Now this is just another moment.

I truly thought she saw me too, recognized me.

I’ll write the last incident too. I need to get it out.

They say it gets easier with time to let go.

I was cycling downhill toward the track field. She was walking up the hill on the other side of the road. I’ll never forget it. It was like I was seeing her for the first time, like there was this sudden burst of clarity. The wind blew her curly hair into a halo around the sweetest face, the afternoon sun cast light shadows on her temples and below her cheek bones. There was music in the way she moved- she strode up that hill like a panther, a warrior going to fight a cause.

Then it happened. I lost control of my bike, I braked. I fell. Someone helped me up; I looked up dazed and beyond embarrassed- but she hadn’t seen. She had stopped to talk to a friend.

I can’t believe that I was profoundly thankful in that moment. There I was, blazing red from blushing so much that I thought I could melt in my own shame, and all I was conscious of was that at least, she hadn’t seen.

That should have been a warning. My warning from the universe.

That night I decided I’d just tell her. Tell her everything- how much she made all the difference to my day. Tell her I wanted to take her to that ice-cream parlor outside the school that everyone hangs out at, and just listen to her as she talked. Tell her that I wanted to hear her laugh, walk the school together with our hands entwined, spend movie nights together, take her to that planetarium that I’d once overheard her mentioning to her friends, who had laughed and teased her for her earnest ’nerdiness’.

They were fools, they just couldn’t see her.

Oh, but I saw her.

You see, I had to tell her after that. I was endangering myself if I didn’t.

She was kind. Her confusion made me feel almost bad for her today. I was terrified she’d feel sorry for me- I didn’t know then that I’d take even that.

Anything to being just a strange story she could share with her friends. A random girl coming up to her and gruffly blurting out her stupid feelings.

Anything to being this non-entity. Anything to- she didn’t even know me.

Oh god.

I didn’t know ignominy could sting. Not like this.

At least I told her.

Why these senseless tears? Do I need more reminders to this awful day? I can barely see now.

Best leave it behind.

It is a wrench, having to leave it all behind.

I thought I knew what hurt was. I thought I could write it all out. I thought I could feel less.

This isn’t helping.

Why can’t I just see it as a cute crush? A cute crush that alleviated a crushing grief? No more memories, never made.

Leave. It. At. That.

February 18, 2021 13:20

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Michael Boquet
21:00 Feb 19, 2021

I think a diary entry was a smart way to answer the prompt. I like the stream of consciousness style, it very much fits your chosen structure. A sentence to take another look at before the deadline: "Not in the way I was used to think of beauty."


Divya Narasimhan
07:19 Feb 20, 2021

Thank you for taking the time to leave your feedback- I’ve changed that line. Glad you liked the diary style :) I must say, I thought of exploring different styles after reading your stories, so thank you very much!


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