Blue space explosion


United States

A high school writer looking to improve her writing and get feedback. A fan of fragments and commas,,,

Message to Readers

Let me know what you think of the characters, what needs clarified, where I need to add more detail.

Truth, Love, and a Lumpy Couch

April 11, 2016


    We sat on the abandoned couch together at four AM in the empty street. I held the folded up paper in one hand and a shot glass of amber liquid the consistency of honey in the other. My pulse pounded in my ears as I shifted restlessly, trying to get comfortable. If I was being honest, I was avoiding his eyes.
    “On three.” He said, raising his own glass as though proposing a toast. I swallowed hard and nodded.
    “One. Two. Three.” We counted in unison and threw back the liquid.
    It tasted like honey too, sweet and cold, but was uncomfortable going down my throat. A strange feeling of pins and needles in the back of my mouth made me want to gag. My tongue went numb for a few seconds, then the feeling vanished.
    Sneaking a glance over, I could see it affected him much worse than it did me- he was visibly shivering and sweat had broken on his forehead. His eyes were scrunched shut as he clenched his fists. With a deep breath, the tremors subsided and the tension in his neck relaxed.
    “Jake, are you okay?” I asked.
    “No.” From the surprise in his eyes I gathered he meant to say, ‘I’m fine’. Truth serum left no room for subtlety.
    “What about you?” He turned his eyes back on me. I concentrated on a spot behind his left shoulder and chose my answer carefully.
    “Physically, I feel fine.”
    “Huh” was his reply.
    I looked down at the paper in my hand. It was crinkled from where my fingers clenched around it. I didn’t want to open it. I wanted to throw it away and leave. I wanted the hard lump on the couch to stop jabbing into my back!
    “I don’t want to do this.” I said.
    “Please, for me?” He reached over and covered my hand with his. I tensed, but didn’t move away. I didn’t look at him either. I was afraid he’d see something in my eyes I didn’t want him to.
    My hands opened the note and my eyes scanned the lines of handwriting. As I read, I could feel the blush rise in my cheeks. I bit my tongue as the truth serum urged me to speak. The taste of blood, knot in my stomach, and old couch spring digging into my side did nothing to soothe my nerves.
    I want to tell you so much and I’m not sure where to start. I started liking you as soon as I met you. When you walked by me or when we were in the same class I’d get distracted by your face, your hair. When we became friends, I loved making you laugh. I wanted to know you more. I wanted you to look at me and smile. I want to know if you like me as much as I like you. Say you do, I’ve been wanting to hear you say it for so long.
    My cheeks burning in the cool morning air, I refolded the paper and handed it back to him.
    “Well?” His ears were red, too.
    Looking back, I was about to make the mistake I would regret for years. I was going to break Jacob’s heart.
    I took a deep breath and let myself go numb as I struggled to find an answer. Make this quick, I thought, rip off the band-aid. I exhaled and my thoughts came out in a half-formed jumble.
    “I can’t. I’m sorry. I don’t…” My tongue choked off the rest of the words.
    “I love you, Alice.” He looked me straight in the eyes and I couldn’t turn away. My mouth opened and closed like a fish as I tried to think of something to say. All my excuses, every rational reason why I couldn’t be with him refused to be vocalized. In that moment, I wanted to kiss him.
    Instead I stood up and walked away, my stomach in knots and face on fire. My hands were numb from clenching them so hard. I might have whispered something as I walked away, I don’t remember. I don’t remember his face as I left without looking back. I don’t remember what I told my parents when I got home at dawn.
    All I know is there were tears in my eyes and regret, so much regret boiling and churning in my guts. I couldn’t tell him I loved him back, it wouldn’t have been the truth. Could I have loved him if I’d given it a chance? Now I guess I’ll never know.

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