Sixteen

After a whole week of absence from the blogging world thanks to a frustrating combination of crappy internet connection and a four year old laptop, I am back! I felt bad for missing one session of Creative Writing Ink and I hope I can make up for some lost time with this post.

The moment I saw this week’s picture, I gasped. This one is arguably my most favorite one from the site because it’s beautifully haunting with lots of story possibilities. So, without further ado, I give you….

Sixteen

10:25 PM.

I close my eyes with arms folded and head down. In the darkness, the sound of the rain gets even clearer, hitting the leaves above before crashing on the dark green grass below. In the distance, I can hear the sound of the train and some cars blowing their horns. If I concentrate harder, I may even hear the sound of my own beating heart, my own faint breath, myself crumbling slowly to pieces.

I shiver once again. Soaking from head to toe is not the best condition to stand and wait, but here I am. Under the apple tree where we would meet and sit to exchange stories about our day, good and bad.

I inhale deeply, allowing the cold autumn air and the strong smell of wet earth enter my lungs. I hold my breath and start to count. One….Two….Three…

With the crispy air, I only manage to get to 25 before I choke and let out a heavy sigh. My chest hurts from not breathing so I open my eyes. I found myself staring at my feet. Covered with mud and dirt, they look disgusting, swollen, broken. But compared to how I feel about myself right now, they seem acceptable. Somewhat pretty, even.

10:28 PM.

Under the tree, I am no longer protected as the rain grows thicker. Tears of the dark grim sky fall on me hard, like needles pricking every inch of my skin. Despite the torture, I feel numb. I hug myself. Memories start to seep in as time is ticking.

I remember your smile. My head spins.

I remember your outrage. My stomach jolts.

Your lips kissing my forehead. My skin tingles.

Your palm striking my cheek. My skin burns.

I love you, you whispered.

It will never be mine, Jess, you said.

Moments later, one drop of tear runs down my cheek. And out comes another. And another. They sting more than anything. More than the furious rain, more than the merciless cold. My defences crumble. I drown my face in my palms. My whole body’s shaking, screaming, crying, mourning.

10: 30 PM.

I hear your footsteps on the grass. Eyes drowning in tears, I look up. I blink at the sight of you a few feet away. Everything becomes mere nothing as you walk closer.

My lungs feel like crushing when you finally stand in front of me. You’re soaking wet and cold, your white office shirt pressed on your skin. Those blue eyes piercing me, your shallow breath taking away mine.

“Well?”

I cringe. Not even a hello. As if everything we’ve said and done meant nothing.

“Did you do it, Jess?”

I hug myself once more, my palm resting on my stomach. If only the rain would soften the ground so it can swallow me whole, like a quicksand. If only I could turn the clock around.

“For God’s sake, Jessica! I have a life! Tell me I didn’t come all the way down here for nothing!”

I stare at his right hand. At the wedding band on his finger. If only I were not sixteen.

“Jess, did you?!”

Memories of going to the clinic alone hit me like a ton of waves.

The sterilized room.

The blood.

The abortion.

Your request.

I swallow hard, trying to ignore the deafening sound of my shattering heart.

“Yes.”

Yes, I did.

****

Writer’s Note: The story is inspired by a song: Never Bloom Again by The Perishers. As usual, comments and constructive criticisms are always welcomed! 🙂

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18 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Wanda
    Aug 26, 2011 @ 18:47:37

    A bit gloomy story, but you worked hard.

    Reply

  2. dhitzunako
    Aug 27, 2011 @ 01:00:40

    Tragically written. I mean, the rain, no matter how heavy the rain showered her, the pain just won’t go. That is how I feel after reading this. Thanks for sharing this. 🙂

    Reply

  3. Novroz
    Aug 27, 2011 @ 03:11:01

    Whoa…I like it!!
    It fits well with the picture. Poor Jess…she should never involved with married man.

    Reply

  4. CBCondez
    Aug 27, 2011 @ 17:59:44

    Yes, this picture is so powerful, isn’t it?! The moment I saw it, I knew instantly that it deserves a powerful piece of writing to match it. Your work sure does that! =D

    A tiny suggestion, though… how about skirting around “abortion”. Use a suggestive image instead like “forceps.” Also, I think it was more of a demand than a request. (Boy, how I want to slap that man’s face! Hahaha.)

    Another great story… no surprise there!

    Reply

    • si_ulil
      Aug 28, 2011 @ 12:11:47

      Aaaw…thank you, CBCondez. Nice to hear from you again after a long period of absence. How are you? 🙂
      And as for your suggestion, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I couldn’t find a way to skirt around “abortion” -didn’t even know what “forceps” was -so I just went straight for it. A clear sign that I still have a lot to learn 🙂

      As for “demand rather than a request”, I wanted to use the word ‘demand’ at first, I really did. But then I remembered that I was telling the story from Jessica’s point of view. For me, she is broken from loving that man. Her point of view is contorted. So when the man actually told her to do the abortion, she saw it as a request instead of the straight out demand or order. Which is why when they finally met under the tree and the man said “well?” without any hello’s or hi’s, she cringed.

      But thank you so much for pointing it out. Hopefully I will do better next time. And welcome back to the blogging world,my friend! 😀

      Reply

      • CBCondez
        Aug 28, 2011 @ 17:45:27

        Yes, I thought so… she’s so blindly in love with “that awful man” that her vision of him is distorted! Sorry, I didn’t make it clear… the word “request” is perfect for the story. I just got so carried away that I simply, really, still want to slap him for demanding such a thing from her! (That’s how “real” your characters are!)

        As for the word “abortion”, it’s fine as it is, really. (You know what, I searched the internet on the instruments used for such a procedure… it’s so gruesome that I couldn’t bear to look at them!)

        I can’t wait for your next story! 🙂

        — Cynthia

      • si_ulil
        Aug 30, 2011 @ 06:35:13

        thank you so much for the wonderful comment! And hey, I know your real name now! 🙂

  5. Neni
    Aug 27, 2011 @ 18:04:52

    Wow, great story with an unexpected ending… You ‘draw’ the nuance of gloomy very well… 🙂

    Reply

  6. jewel2
    Sep 10, 2011 @ 17:10:56

    As always si_ulil, your writing is spot on!
    I always admire your ability to write so descriptively. Every time I read your work, I know you are building up to a punchy climax and I always try (and fail!) to determine what your twist or big ending will be.

    I think you dealt with the details of this tragic scenario very well. Those four short sentences at the end are very effective and I agree with your choice of wording. My only suggestion would be to put the word ‘request’ in italics, as obviously we all know it was a demand.

    Congratulations!

    Reply

    • si_ulil
      Sep 11, 2011 @ 18:43:54

      Hi, Jewel! First of all, it’s great to have you back in the Creative Writing Ink group! Welcome back!

      I am extremely glad that I can still deliver some shocking twists to my short stories. Hopefully the strike will not end soon 🙂

      As for the word in italics, I’m surprised I didn’t thought of that first! What a great idea! Thank you!

      Reply

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