Short Story: You Will Never Be Mine

Note: This was a creative assignment for my contemporary British American Lit class. The style is inspired by Eimear McBride’s A Girl is a Half-formed Thing.

You look at me. Pretty green eyes and all. She’s great isn’t she? Oh I know. I’m excited. I’ve got the jitters. But. Still. Excited! Can you believe it? Who would have thought? Me. Getting married. Are you okay? Hey. I know that look. Are you okay?
You rub my shoulder. As you always do. At least I’ll keep this part of you in my life. But not. All of you. I can’t tell you how much I want all of you. Not today. Today is your day. Not ever. Today marks the start of your forever. With. Her.
You’re sure you’re okay. Just a little tired? Okay. I just wanted to be sure. I couldn’t make it through today without you. You smile. Thank you. You hold me. I love you too. You are my best friend.
Best friend. Best. Friend. Just friend. Just. Friend. Couldn’t say something earlier. Couldn’t say any more. Couldn’t try to say something. Say. Something. It’s too late. You’d never view me that way. Not the way you look at her. Her. My enemy. The enemy who plunged her sword of words into my heart by being the one to say something first. My enemy. I couldn’t let you know. Why was your great girl my enemy? No. The enemy is me. Enemy. Me. Tell me you love me. I mean really love me. You say you love me all the time. Like a sister. I could never tell you how much that hurt. She’s the one you call lover. I stay your sister.
You slap your forehead. Oh right! I have to finish getting ready! Best man brother comes in to rub your shoulders and fix your bow tie. You wink at me. I’ll see you in the pews.
You do see me in the pews. But you look more towards her. She-devil. No. Me-devil. She-angel in white dress. Arm in arm with her father as she maintains your eye contact. You give the room one more glance before returning your bride’s gaze. One second. At me. I give you quick thumbs up. How pathetic. You are affirmed by it. I can tell. You return her gaze. Not mine. Never. Mine. You. Will. Never. Be. Mine.
Your aunty is sitting next to me. Doesn’t she make a lovely bride? Lovely how things worked out between them. Oh. Yes my dear. He makes a lovely groom as well. Funny he’s not marrying you today. I know I know. Just friends. Back in my day, you bring a lady friend home, you weren’t just friends. Anyway. Your boyfriend couldn’t make it? Broke up? Oh. I’m sorry to hear that, girly. Plenty more fish in the sea.
She’s still talking.
Stop. Talking.
More fish in the sea? I wanted to swim with you. I’m drowning. While you’re swimming freely into her eyes, I’m drowning in yours. At least I’ll keep those eyes. Sea foam green eyes. Pretty green eyes and all. Eyes. In my life.
Nothing’s going to change, you said. And. You’re right. Nothing is going to change. Nothing. Will. Change. Why wasn’t I. Willing. To change?
People divorce all the time. People die all the time. People make mistakes all the time. It’s not his mistake. It’s mine. It’s not her mistake. It’s mine.
I tried to replace you with nimble fingers. Deep brown eyes. Dark, swooping hair. Good job. Good teeth. Told me he loved me. I mean really loved me. Wrapped his arms around me. Stroked my hair. Wiped my tears away when you couldn’t. Good smile. Good future. Told me he loved me. I mean really loved me.
He wasn’t you.
He. Wasn’t. You.
Told him we were going in different directions. It was a lie.  It was for the best. You asked me if it was okay to invite him to the wedding. He didn’t come. I don’t blame him. Why did I come? For you. Always. For you. Despite my insides burning. Trying hard to yank back tears. Keep heart from pounding too hard. I. Still. Want. You. Did you? Did. You. Did you ever? Ever? Did you ever want me?
Oh, honey. Are those tears? No need to be embarrassed, honey. I’m happy for my nephew too. She holds my hand.
I actually need that. I don’t need to hear her talking. But I do need her hand. She’ll never know. How much. She’ll never know how much I needed that.
You exchange rings with your bride. My eyes release more tears. Diffuses internal burning. Does not diffuse heart pounding. Heart. Still. Pounding too hard in my chest.
Still holding her hand.
I would have ruined things for you. She-devil. No. Stop. She-angel. She would not have ruined things for you. She won’t ruin things for you. She’ll never. Ruin. Things. For. You.
You have your first dance with your bride. Still gazing. Her blue. Your green. Your pretty pretty green. Then she dances with her father. Then you dance with your mother. When everyone’s dancing you come to me. What, I can’t have one dance with my best friend? Don’t worry. Of course she’s fine with it. C’mon. You need one good dance.
You’re right. I do. So I do dance with you. But I also. Need. You.


Short Story: Coming Home

Joyce is watching another TV movie when she hears a knock at her door. Dang, it was getting to the good part. People always want to knock when it’s just getting good. Nevertheless, she gets up from her couch, which gets flatter and flatter from sitting in the same spot over and over, and goes to the door quickly so she can sit back down. She opens the door and finds her godson, Lenny, with his hands in his pocket smiling at her. He may have gotten taller, and his hair shorter, but his cute, awkward actions haven’t changed a bit, she knew.

“Hey, baby,” she greets as she pulls him into a warm embrace. “How’s college treating you?”

Lenny rubs her back a little before letting her go and answering “Pretty well.” Another beat passes as he walks in the door, aware that he never needs an invitation before asking “How are you, Aunt Joyce?”

She pops her wrist at him and grins, going back to her seat to see what Ariana was going to do next on the screen. “I’m doing real good baby.” She doesn’t give Lenny eye contact; she has to see how bad, meaning sly and sexy in this case, Ariana was in pursuing revenge against her husband.

Lenny doesn’t mind. It gives him more time to think of a way to make proper conversation. It gives him preparation to process how he’ll appear sincere as he nods to his honorary aunt’s stories of what she was doing with her free time that didn’t have to do with television, when her son was going to go to school, and how she was happy for him being away from home and not seeing her every weekend before he decided to move away for college.

Once Lifetime goes to a commercial for Excedrin pills, Joyce faces Lenny and asks, trying to joke, “So I guess you don’t want me to braid your hair no more, huh?”

Lenny laughs, which is expected of him. It took him a couple months before he decided to cut it just because he knew she would say that. “I’m just trying something new,” he starts. “Besides, you know how cornrows could never stay on my head for long.”

Joyce giggles, knowing how true that is with White people’s thin hair. Granted, Lenny is Biracial, but his hair was White hair to her.

In the corner of Lenny’s eye, besides the TV displaying a tampon commercial, he sees the blinds shut. Sunlight tries to sneak in patterned slips, but they didn’t create enough contrast to make the living room healthily brighter. He is tempted to open the blinds for once. Just this one time he wanted actual light in here. But he knew his Aunt Joyce. “You don’t have to do that, baby,” she’d say. She’d say that every time, there was no sense in trying anymore.

“I was going to come up there to visit you,” she said warmly, “but you know how it is.”

Yeah, I know how you hardly want to get out of the house, Lenny thinks to himself. You don’t like how I had the guts to leave.

“I understand,” he dutifully responds.