Beautiful Brilliance

Submitted into Contest #16 in response to: Write a story around the theme: Be careful what you wish for.... view prompt

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A small town rests on the edge of a cliff near the Atlantic Ocean.  Unlike the dull, average fishing towns of the East Coast, this one is special, magical even.  Upon moving into the town, each person is given something that they have always wished for. It is not abnormal to see a family move to town and mysteriously receive a large inheritance from a distant relative days after moving in.  A young woman, incredibly intelligent but rather average looking, moved into town to study the effects of ocean currents on fish populations. She had graduated college as valedictorian of her class, and her studies had already been published in renowned scientific journals; however, she had hit a wall, having not published a paper in several years.  Money was tight, and she was desperate for a job. She only needed money for sustenance, for she was not a materialistic woman. Wise beyond her years, the woman had but one material wish, to be beautiful. She passed unnoticed among men and desired to be noticed for something other than her intelligence.   

The young woman walked down Main Street after visiting an upscale bar, oddly bright for a small town. A strikingly handsome man passed her without as much as a glance, his eyes glued to the sports car gliding down the street.  She walks towards the cliffs looking off into the ocean. The waves, the fish, and the sea wished to be studied by her. As she gazed longingly at the dark melodic ocean, a shooting star appeared in the horizon.  

“A meteorite vaporized in the Earth’s atmosphere,” she thought.  “A ball of potential burned out too soon,” The meteorite reminded the woman of her grandmother, a fiercely spiritual woman.  She had loved her grandmother, but her scientific background caused her to doubt her grandmother’s beliefs . In a tribute to her, the young woman closed her eyes and wished upon the falling star.  A gust of wind blew, almost knocking the woman down from her perch on the cliff. A chill rose along her spine prompting her to return to her home. As she walked back through the town towards her rented condominium, she noticed men stopping to stare at her.  Tucking her head down out of embarrassment, she ran her tongue along her teeth to clean off any residual dinner. Her ears pricked as a shrill whistle rang out. A grungy man stood, seemingly in the middle of a drug deal, to look her up and down and lick his lips.  Disgusted, the young woman quickly walked past. Upon arrival at her row of condominiums, she is struck with a bout of confusion.  

“Am I number 101 or 102,” she ponders while looking around the street.  Her modest van is parked outside number 101. “This must be mine,” she thinks before skipping up the porch to the door.  “My car is ugly, I will buy a new one tomorrow,”  

After an incredibly restful night of sleep, the woman wakes up to a 5:30 alarm. 

“This is much too early,” she mutters before silencing the alarm and falling asleep again.  The woman is reawakened by a shark knock on the door. She rolls out of bed and begins to dress.  The closet lacks color, for lab coats and waders are not fashionable. 

“I will shop today for more appropriate clothing,” she resolves before prancing to open the door.  A plain man in fishing gear stands outside the door. Impatiently, he turns to walk away from his lab partner, the woman he is in love with.  She opens the door, standing in pajamas, to the impatient man. Upon seeing his friend, the man gasps. This is not the same woman. She is new, almost glowing.   

“We were supposed to look at the tides at seven,” he stutters, utterly shocked by his barely recognisable partner.  The woman proceeds to prance into the house to find a clock before apologizing for her forgetfulness. 

In a ditzy display the woman explains that she would rather spend the day shopping for new clothes than studying the ocean. “The ocean is just to big,”  she said before closing the door on the average looking man. 

Hours later, the woman struts down the street, hands full of bright, bulging bags from the shops downtown.  She finds her condo, places the key in the lock upside down, and opens the door to find that it was never locked in the first place.  “I have never had such a beautiful day,” she thought to herself, wandering into the kitchen to fix a glass of wine. Her phone begins to ring.  She vaguely remembers the ringtone as a tune to one of those geeky science fiction movies. The man from the door’s face appears on the contact screen. “What could he need,” she wonders while answering.

“Hello,” her voice tinkles in the receiver like coins dropped from a shallow height.

“Something is wrong, I need you to come to the cliffs now,”

The woman ponders the thought of leaving her warm house to meet a strange man, but agrees anyway.  She arrives in the cliff in a dress and heels, casual attire for an evening meeting. The man stands near the edge with his back to her, gazing at the ocean he has studied for years. 

“I loved you,” he says, turning to look at the beautiful woman whose nose is in the sky as if she had just smelled something foul. “I was too shy to tell you,”

The woman’s wonderful face turns farther up in disgust.  He is not good enough for her. No lowly scientist would be good enough for a woman of her status.  She tells him this blunty without respect for the ugly man’s feelings. 

He reaches to hug her, to grab her shoulders and shake the irregular thoughts out of her head.  She turns to run but stumbles on a heel, arms flailing as she teeters on the edge of the cliff. The man doesn’t reach to react, and the woman falls. As she hurtles towards the sea away from the town, she realizes that she is not so beautiful after all. 

November 22, 2019 14:55

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1 comment

Hance Theodore
17:00 Nov 29, 2019

Nice story, with a very important lesson.


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