“I can see it now,” Regina said right after she pulled up her bangs and looked at her forehead in the mirror. Jake, her boyfriend, had pointed out a pimple.
She was irritated to be receiving negative advice again, she found it controlling. In the last few months, Jake had also been constantly complaining about her inability to open up about herself.
After dinner, he sent her a link for a Recovering from Setback seminar.
Jake looked at her from over his laptop.
“Do you see the seminar link yet?” Jake asked.
“I can see it now”, she said.
But inside, she couldn’t see why she was the one who needed to change, and not him.
Her girlfriend Courtney said she should think about her future. She agreed that Jake was controlling and Regina should imagine a life without Jake.
“I can see it now”, Regina said, smiling, thinking of being free from the constant weight of criticism and intrusive suggestions crossing her personal boundaries.
“Good,” Courtney said, “now you know what to do.”
But Regina was heartbroken and didn’t know how to bring it up with Jake. After all, he was the one who was helped her when her father, who she had a complicated relationship all her life, passed away. She and Jake had become soulmates during that time.
Jake helped her to understand her father better. Last month when they were having a deep conversation he told her “your father was a man of few words, but if you look at his actions I can see he always loved you. You might not have seen it then, but”
“I can see it now,” Regina said completing his sentence. They were often like that.
During the week, watching her glum mood, Jake sensed something was wrong.
Jake knew Regina loved animals.
“Would you like to go out to the stables and see my horse sometime this week?” Jake said to try to cheer her up.
“I can see it now!”, Regina said cheerfully. They took a quiet drive 45 minutes out into the countryside to visit Jones.
The next month, after she finally broke up with Jake, Regina met Courtney at her place and they opened a bottle of Chardonnay.
She hadn’t really had anyone to talk to lately. Jake was always so persuasive, she felt the only way she could manage to break up with him was by ghosting him.
“You don’t want to be alone forever, Regina. You are a beautiful girl. What if you’re alone all by yourself for Christmas? That would be so sad.”
“I can see it now,” Regina said, looking down at the table.
“Then you have to get out there girl! I know just the thing, I’ll talk to my friend, she just signed up for a reality dating show. I’ll get you in too. You are so photogenic.”
Three days later, Regina was waiting in a media company reception room with a dozen other candidates. Everyone looked young and attractive. Regina pretended to look at her mobile while exchanging glances out of the corner of her eye with a handsome guy on the other side of the room. An assistant producer called out her name.
She raised her hand.
The assistant producer spotted her.
“It’s great to see you today,” he said glancing at his notes, “...Regina. Come with me, I’ve heard so much about you from our team.”
Once they were in an interview room, “So you have just broken up with your boyfriend two weeks ago. Hmm hmm. Keep an open mind, look forward! Being on Blind Date Done Deal could really open up your future, that’s why you are here.”
Regina didn’t know how to respond to this and simply nodded.
“I tell you what, I really like you. I’m picturing you having a great time with all of us tomorrow.”
“I can see it now!” Regina said.
“Great! We will just need you here tomorrow three hours before shooting, and we will take care of all the rest. See you then, byyyye!”
“We’re ready!” the director shouted to the crew.
Besides the wedding photographer style flattery they rattled off to her before rushing off to the other things they needed to do, everyone was a lot less friendly than she imagined.
Two techy looking guys wheeled in cameras. Other assistants adjusted the lighting under her face and touched up her makeup. One of the cameras was moved in closer.
The cameraman told her, “When we are filming this tiny red light will be on,” he pointed at it, then pushed a button and then a red light indeed turned on.
“I can see it now,” Regina said.
After a few more adjustments, everyone left her alone until her date arrived.
“Most people can’t tell, but I used to be an athlete,” Brad, the conventionally handsome but vaguely anonymous looking man who was her date said introducing himself.
Regina tilted her head to the side doubtfully.
Brad jumped out of his chair, “Tennis player, can’t you tell?” he said, crouching and swinging his right arm.
“I can see it now,” Regina said, smiling agreeably.
“Experts say the tennis player's physique is the most attractive to women,” Brad said looking very pleased with himself
He then explained the full history of his semi-pro tennis career and the tendonitis that finally set him back and the treatments he received to try to restart his game, until finally the conversation moved on to other topics.
The producers told them to never pull out their mobile phones on set, but Brad grinned and pulled out his new model iPhone.
“I want to show you something, Regina”
Regina smiled, hoping this would be something other than tennis.
Brad showed her a cartoon like picture of a jungle, “I’m fascinated by optical illusions, can you see the animal in the picture? Look deeply.”
Regina shook her head.
“Squint your eyes. Come on. Squint.”
She still couldn’t see anything, but to assuage his male competitiveness she said, “I can see it now!” in as positive of a tone as she could muster.
Brad smiled, thinking of all the other things he could teach Regina about.
The assistants kept hinting to them they were the ‘good couple’ and if they are feeling it just go all the way with romance and have fun with it.
“I want you to know me Regina, look into my eyes, after all we talked about today tell me you see my heart.”
“I can see it now,” Regina said with a longing look. She dialed in her stage presence from the plays she performed in high school.
Brad tried to touch her hand under the table, but she pulled it away. She started to blush and the cameras turned off. The assistants applied more foundation. They reset and shot the scene again.
After their date, they were told not to talk to each other while they moved to another set. They sat in front of a 7-foot tall heart made out of red roses. At last, a host appeared. He looked distracted but when the little red light went on, he suddenly looked alert and curious.
He told them how fascinating they both were, and then asked them how their date went and if they would like to see each other again.
Brad jumped in, “It was a great first date. I felt we really connected. Regina is such a good listener. I can see us making a great team together. If we have babies someday, they might be tennis players like the two of us.”
“I can see it now,” Regina said sarcastically. She had never held a tennis racket in her life. She stood up and walked off.
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The entire dating world felt like this for me. You go along and get ramrodded by total narcissists and you're supposed to say, 'Thank you, may I have another?' When really you want an actual connection with a real human being, not a plastic connection in an otherwise plastic world.
Spot on. That's exactly what I was trying to describe. thanks for reading and commenting.
This reminds me a bit of a date I went on where I sat down in a shirt and trousers and the girl was in a business suit and made a noise at the start that basically meant she wasn’t interested. People go in with some weird attitudes. Hopefully Regina’s next guy isn’t drawn from the douchebag lucky dip. People who just talk about themselves in dates should just marry a mirror.
Hello, Good story! It uses the phrases at the right moment, which makes it somewhat comic. I thought it might be a bit unbelievable when her supervisor brings up the breakup out of the blue. Overall, I think the piece moves too fast trying to work in the repeated phrase. It might be interesting to slow it a bit. Happy writing!
Thanks for reading and commentating! This was definitely an experiment in creating very short scenes using the phrase, and somehow it all became a story. I hope to someday rewrite it and slow it down into a normal piece of fiction.
A new style of story, Scott. I like it! I enjoyed the jump in scenes as you flash from one moment to the next. I couldn't help thinking this is linked to the Octopus Game series. I got Jason and Jake mixed up. Still, what if Jason sees his ex-girlfriend show up for an Amaze dating game? This story would follow that cliffhanger as backstory and would raise the stakes for Jason. Would he try to save her? Can you see it? Even so, I enjoyed this story as a stand alone. I like the repeating line of a woman trying to find herself.
This one was definitely an experiment in creating short scenes using the key phrase, and then somehow it picked up the vibe of a reality dating show I had just watched and became a story. Happy to hear you liked it! That's an interesting idea, a person in the Octopus Game that Jason is attached to, , or maybe feels guilty about. ex-gf Regina. I think the Octopus Game concept is almost played out, but I do have one dark story of revenge to wrap up the thread about neighbor Keller and the goats when the weekly prompt fits.
I like this story a lot :) Regina has exactly one line that she just keeps repeating, and yet it works in each situation. You mentioned in a comment this was about an introvert in an extroverted world, and yeah, that comes across. I also see another angle to this. Regina seems like a very passive person, being reactive instead of proactive. Each part of the story, there's someone else giving her (unsolicited) advice, directions, or orders. But, gradually she does take some actions, and by the end, she walks out entirely of her own will. ...
Thanks so much for reading and commentating. Yes, she's taking charge and moving on in new directions after this story!
I CAN see it now!
I love this. she actually loves jake and then gets intimate with brad. I can see it now.
hahah.... (sorry)...laughing at the concept. Let me try to read it...
Everyone making assumptions for Regina, who only says the key phrase and nothing else, is of course a satire of what it can feel like to be an introvert in an extrovert world, can you see it now?