Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Forties Club Finalist #64

The Cold Hard Truth
by Tricia S.

Oh my God. He’s dumping me.

“You don’t think deeply about things,” I hear him say. My body temperature plummets.

Wait. Did he just call me shallow?

I watch Derek’s gorgeous mouth form the horrible words. “You’re simple, Reese. Uncomplicated.” Yes, he did just call me shallow. Three times. “It’s like you have an unexamined mind.” Okay, four times. And did he just misquote Socrates to me? “And you’re not a good listener.”

Oh. My. God. This is beyond terrible. Didn’t anyone teach him the “it’s not you, it’s me” break-up speech?

I tune back in to hear him say, “I hope we can still be friends.” His lips finally stop moving. Soft, full lips I’ll never kiss again. Air. I need air. I clutch at the pendent pressing against my throat. The thin gold chain snaps free.

What should I say? Screw you, you pompous ass. Just because you got into Princeton, you think you can insult and dump me? Or how about, Shallow? You’re calling me shallow, you water polo playing bobble-head? Or maybe, Friends? With simple, uncomplicated me? Wow, how big of you. Dickface. Of course, I say none of these things. I nod and say, “Uh, sure. Great.”

Truth is, I’m afraid he might be right.

I stand up tall, take Derek’s hand, and press the broken necklace into his palm.

“Keep it,” he says.

I curl his fingers around the cool metal. “No. Thank you.”

And for once, I mean what I say.

(Tricia likes: books, ChapStick, and The Black Eyed Peas; dislikes: soft mattresses, wet hair, and wind chimes; and can take or leave: ice cream, hot tubs, and convertible cars.)


fairyhedgehog said...

Didn’t anyone teach him the “it’s not you, it’s me” break-up speech? made me laugh.

This is very vivid and I feel for her lack of self-esteem.

Erratic Thoughts said...

I liked that "What should I say..." para very very much. Ah I just so much wished she could have said atleast one of those things.*sigh*
But nevermind, she is moving on keeping her head held high and I just admired her for that.

Katherine Tomlinson said...

This is wonderful. Hit the road you Socrates-quoting, water-polo-playing bobble-head and don't come back. Love the voice here, love the whole scene.

Oddyoddyo13 said...

I don't know, I liked the versions she didn't use as a response better.

Lewis Peters said...

Realistic? In my experience it's always the guy who gets dumped. Seriously though, justified indignation well portrayed.

JR's Thumbprints said...

I like how the main character comes to terms with her own shallowness and returns the necklace. It says more about moving on, then having a keepsake stuffed in a sock drawer.

PJD said...

Ha ha ha ha ha ha!

Love the misquoting bit most of all. This is hilarious and uplifting in its way.

Anonymous said...

Playful, humorous, honest in its way - the bio, I mean. The story is good, too!

I like the narrator's spunk, even when the end message is, ultimately, a sad one - that she lacks confidence and men can be jerks like that.

Unknown said...

Hi Tricia

hahahaha!! I remember guys like Derek, God's gift and all that... it really is him.

Great piece!

Dottie :)

Laurel said...

I LOVE this. I love her take on the guy and the "misquoting Socrates" in the middle of the you are not deep or smart enough for me break up speech is awesome.

It reads young and perfect. Stellar.

I have to ask...since I'm a total fangirl... Reese? Legally Blonde? You're just not smart enough, Pooh Bear?

Erratic Thoughts said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JaneyV said...

I loved the humour of this piece and its honesty because as we all know it takes a few Dereks in most people's lives before they gain the nerve to say the things they should have done.

I think she's going to be OK though judging by the end.

bekbek said...

Going onto my favorites list. This is a perfect short story, all the impact of an intense few moments and plenty of reflections of a richer back-story just where it belongs--in the background. I also like how it subtly connects with the contest theme and photo. VERY nice.

I dig two other things, here: Laurel's Legally Blonde reference, LOL! And your bio, which just made me grin.

C.Sonberg Larson said...

Great dialogue. Super voice. To show character growth in 250 words is quite something. I liked this. When I first read the part after they stop talking, the necklace is pressing on her throat and she needs air I thought he was strangling her, but another pass through and it was clear.
Nice job

Tricia S. said...

Thanks everyone for your great comments! I loved writing the piece.

Thanks also for the Legally Blonde comment. I had originally called her Reed, but then felt it was too gender neutral for such a short piece so I changed it - oh well. And Reese Witherspoon played Elle Woods, but I also always associate Reese with that role!

Deb Smythe said...

Ha! This was great. Loved the YA voice, very realistic.

My favorites parts: The misquoting Socrates line and all the things she didn't say.

AidanF said...

I like the way the dialogues treated with her tuning him out. It feels real. Nicely done.

Catherine Vibert said...

And good riddance! Great mental dialogue, loved this.