66 comments

Contemporary Drama Lesbian

It’s late, and my head still hurts from the fight I just had with Mom. I lay on my bed, chewing down hard on my bottom lip. My eyes scan the room for a hair band until I see one on my wrist. I don’t remember putting it there. I tie my hair up into a high ponytail that could use some work. I slip a couple of bobby pins into the back of it. My old mirror is cracked and shoved onto the top shelf of my closet, so it’ll have to do. I’m still demolishing my lip when I tip-toe to my bedroom door. One of the bobby pins is pulled from my ponytail into my hand by my slender fingers. I unlock my door.


I remember to glance back at my alarm clock and breathe a sigh of relief: It’s 3:00 a.m. My mother’s whispers have faded out completely; she must’ve hung up on Grandma. She’d been talking about me, I know. It was another long call; might’ve even broken their record. Everything about this night is familiar, but I don’t feel as upset as I did the first time. I’d still been reeling from the fight. This time, although my head is pounding, I’m not as affected.


I slide out the front door with the skill of someone who does it often. The night air is cold on my face and it’s just what I needed. I lift my head to the holes of light in the sky and exhale, and my skin prickles as if responding to all the possibilities.


My socks sink into the wet grass. It’s about a half-mile to the bridge, and since I know that no one particularly threatening will be outside tonight, I walk there. I didn't know that the first time, but our small town is pretty far from any danger. And my thoughts had made me delirious.


I can't wait to get there. I picture your soft face, the eyes that made me stop in my tracks, your words that covered me in a quilt I shouldn't have been able to afford. I feel myself softening already, under your gaze, under your touch. I catch myself smiling and try to look as upset as I did the first time. I want to reenact it perfectly.


I can't wait to see you. Tonight, I know, was the start of the rest of my life. A life-changing event. 


I try not to picture you in your hospital bed, looking weaker by the second. I try not to picture the small stone on your grave, the one I've visited every day since your death.


Instead, I think of our first official date. I'll visit there next. If I keep visiting my memories with you in the past, I won't have to go back to the present and live without you. 


We went to the diner. It had been around forever, and it was timeless, covered in neon lights, filled with red booths and plastic tables, and it always smelled like food for the soul. People stared at us; couples that would get married right out of high school, senior citizens that had never missed a cup of coffee in their lives, little toddlers that cocked their heads to the side curiously as we kissed. At first, they stared mostly at you. Some were just jealous of your tattoos (there isn't even a parlor around here), and some thought that you'd taken me from them (she was such a good girl). 


I wanted to explain to you that I wasn't theirs in the first place. I had never fit in with a town packed tight with homophobes. I had never been their good girl. But I'm not sure you saw their stares. You looked right through everyone that wasn't worth your time. No one in that town was ever worth your time. 


Well, except for me.


We used the money you'd gotten from your dad's will to get married in France. We were both 23. We'd both been waiting for the day. We'd thought it would be magical, the best day of both of our lives. We set out chairs in a semicircle with two short rows because we hadn't invited many people. We stood there for the longest time, making calls that went unanswered, hoping that they'd just forgotten, hoping that they'd wanted to come, hoping they'd at least used the airplane tickets we'd bought for them. 


It rained on our wedding day. It poured. I stood there, ready to cry, ready to be done with it all until you started to laugh.


Your laugh is the best thing that ever happened to me. Your laugh tears down all the heaviness, your laugh rips out the weight in my chest. Your laugh is so beautiful, and so light, and so perfect. And suddenly, I was laughing too. I was letting go of my disappointment in a different way. I held out my hand to you and we started to dance. The rain ruined our professionally done hair. It felt good, to be soaked, to be spun around, to kick off our shoes and stain our feet.


I get to the bridge at the same time as the first time. You won't be here for a little while, so I walk to the ice cream parlor that's open 24/7. I sit on the bench outside the front window, waiting until you walk up to the bridge. I start to panic when I don't see you. I finish my ice cream and run over there. You should be here. You should be here.


The bubble of panic in my chest increases. I don't see you anywhere. 


The tears fall easily. You are supposed to be here. You are supposed to be standing here, young and free and living and not old and trapped and dead. The bubble of panic pops when I sob and releases a wave of sorrow. I keep hoping that I've somehow missed you, but eventually, I have to go back to the present.


I return to the house we bought in France, in the present. It's felt so lonely with you not here. I walk the hallways filled with pictures of the years we spent together. Our first one, one of us at the diner that's now torn down, is worn out and fading. I take it down from the wall and hold it in my arms. 


A couple more tears fall down my face. I walk to our bedroom. I remember our first kiss. I remember our wedding and our walks through Paris and the train to Versailles and the gardens there and all the memories that are everything to me.


When I lay down, I see the note you left there:


Honey, you have to live in the present.


October 08, 2020 22:24

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66 comments

L. J. Holmes
14:45 Oct 09, 2020

I love the descriptive language you used. "a quilt I shouldn't have been able to afford" was really nice. Strange for the first second I read it, but I really liked it. You have done a great job conveying emotion in this story.

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Alby Carter
16:22 Oct 09, 2020

That phrase was a little bit random on my part. I'm glad you liked it.

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Princemark Okibe
18:12 Oct 11, 2020

A touching story that shows an old lesbian woman missing her dead spouse. I kind of enjoyed her nostalgia. Few people in this contest ever do write about lesbians so I was immediately curious when I saw the lesbian tag in your story. As is my nature, I do have some questions/suggestions for you. Even though you will not be able to enact these changes they are still worth noting. My suggestions does not in anyway mean I am a better writer than you. No. You took the time out to like my story so I am taking my time to carefully read yo...

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Alby Carter
21:32 Oct 12, 2020

Thanks for the feedback!

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Shea West
03:44 Oct 09, 2020

I like how you had the character take her grief with her back into the past. Proving that grief basically works this way, you just kind of carry it around like a suitcase until you're ready to unpack it all of the way. I loved this!

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Alby Carter
04:11 Oct 09, 2020

Thank you!

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Vicky S
03:35 Oct 09, 2020

Hi Alby, I liked how the story flowed and your last line. What a great ending

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Alby Carter
03:39 Oct 09, 2020

Thanks!

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Lina Ozz
02:07 Oct 09, 2020

Wow. Actual chills as I read that last line. This story is sad and sweet and romantic and beautiful. I think you capture the changing tense extremely well and I was able to follow the fluidity of this story. The following quotes are my favorite sections, as they’re just so descriptive and wonderfully written: “I slide out the front door with the skill of someone who does it often. The night air is cold on my face and it’s just what I needed. I lift my head to the holes of light in the sky and exhale. My skin prickles as if responding to ...

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Alby Carter
02:13 Oct 09, 2020

Lina, Thank you so much for all the feedback! Your comment made my day.

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Elizabeth Inkim
04:03 Oct 09, 2020

Beautiful story and the part where she looks the hair-elastic/ponytail was so relatable; happens to me too often. The note at the end was absolutely touching. I noticed that you recently read and liked a few of my stories, and I just want to tell you to thank you, and I've just posted this week's story; thought you might want to take a look and let me know what you think in the comments.

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Alby Carter
04:12 Oct 09, 2020

Glad you liked it! I'll make sure to check out your recent story and give you some feedback.

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Howard H
04:13 Oct 10, 2020

I really enjoyed your story. The pacing was perfect and the gentle escalation to the final moment worked really well too. I look forward to reading your next piece. Well done.

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Alby Carter
06:00 Oct 10, 2020

Thanks!

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Rajesh Patel
02:59 Oct 09, 2020

Lot of emotions. Up and down. Well written.

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Alby Carter
03:00 Oct 09, 2020

Thanks!

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Charles Stucker
02:53 Oct 09, 2020

My eyes scan the room for a ponytail - a scrunchie or barrette holds hair in a ponytail. Or is this a clip-on ponytail? From finding it on her wrist, it sounds like a scrunchie, the little elastic bands which are used to hold hair back. I slide out the front door with the skill of someone who does it often. "with skill born of long practice." something like that- it's her skill, don't reference someone else. Also you want it to be clear she does this often, not just has the skills. Tonight, I know, was the start of the rest of my life...

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Alby Carter
02:55 Oct 09, 2020

Thanks for taking the time to read my story and giving me feedback.

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D. Jaymz
22:43 Oct 15, 2020

A story to treasure as a jewel for the heart. Excellent writing 👏

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Alby Carter
22:56 Oct 15, 2020

Thank you so much!

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D. Jaymz
01:11 Oct 16, 2020

You're welcome 😊

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Bianka Nova
22:39 Oct 15, 2020

Hi, Alby. The story is well written. The only thing I'd suggest to make it a bit clearer is to have some kind of separation between "past" and "present" paragraphs. It may be done by wider physical separation, different typography, etc... :)

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Alby Carter
22:56 Oct 15, 2020

Good idea, thanks for the feedback.

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Kat Gruszka
21:43 Oct 15, 2020

Hey there! Very touching story. My heart breaks for their loss :( I think your story moved from past to present at some point but I worry I missed when that happened. I'm not sure how the mother at the beginning tied in. Other than making me reread that part a couple of times, no other feedback. Well done!!

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Alby Carter
21:54 Oct 15, 2020

I guess I wasn't planning on the story going the way that it did at first, and so the mother was kind of a footnote/way to start the story. Thanks for reading!

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Tithi Banerjee
17:44 Oct 15, 2020

Loved it!

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Alby Carter
21:53 Oct 15, 2020

Thanks!

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16:26 Oct 15, 2020

Wow! This is an amazing story!

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Alby Carter
16:28 Oct 15, 2020

Thanks!

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Kara Ohara
16:13 Oct 15, 2020

How sad, yet beautiful. It's such a poetic sort of story and captures the moment of emotions well.

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Alby Carter
16:16 Oct 15, 2020

Thank you.

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Light Fury
05:44 Oct 15, 2020

The details-----omg!

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Alby Carter
16:16 Oct 15, 2020

Glad you liked it!

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Susan Hudson
21:26 Oct 14, 2020

Very good. I loved it.

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Alby Carter
21:27 Oct 14, 2020

Thanks!

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12:15 Oct 14, 2020

God, this story is beautiful. You have such a unique perspective for writing that makes the words and phrases so appealing and tantalizing. The story flows smoothly and strikes all the right chords with the reader, thank you for such a treasure!

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Alby Carter
12:56 Oct 14, 2020

Thanks for reading!

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Andrew Krey
16:10 Oct 11, 2020

Hi Alby, I really enjoyed your story. It covers a harsh reality, but has a gentle tone, as you use her best memories to tell the story; this was done really well. I think you passed through timelines clearly too, so the story wasn’t confusing. I especially loved these two sentences - with the second ‘be’ in italics: “You should be here. You should be here.” I hope my feedback was helpful. Happy writing

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Alby Carter
17:53 Oct 11, 2020

Hello. I'm glad you enjoyed my story! Thanks for the feedback. Happy writing to you too.

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Andrew Krey
18:08 Oct 11, 2020

You're welcome

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Amy Utami
08:45 Oct 11, 2020

It's easy to read yet aesthetic. I feel so personal, thanks for a beautiful story

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Alby Carter
15:34 Oct 11, 2020

You are welcome. Thanks for reading.

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