Peer Review by yapyapxy (Singapore)

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By: K.L. Rose


His shadowed eyes revealed the sky-blue iris' through slow blinks. He was so close to me and yet I was still fighting for his attention. The smell of the smokes on his breath would have repulsed me if it were dancing on anyone else's skin. But, in the moments he blew across my cheek in his playful way, I could not have approved of the scent more. 
I was drawn to him, finding myself by his side more times than I should. My eyes traced his square face, his jawline as it moved with his words, my fingers flexing with an urge to caress it. When I found his eyes, I noticed his inspecting gaze on the girl across from him. She was beautiful. I had to walk away. 

The night grew darker, the music louder and my heart thumped harder with every cup or shot of some drink or another. Every time I looked his way my lungs clogged more, causing shortness of breath. So I found another drink. 
I knew what he wanted. I could see it in his examination of the party crowd. He was looking for something; for someone. A possible final moment with another as a 'free man' for a while. It wasn't someone in particular; 'anyone' was his words. 
He would take anyone who wanted to. And, oh how I wanted to.  
But, I refused to be just 'anyone' when I should be someone. I should have walked away. 

The night chill crept in with light rain, creating a movie scene of the shadow party. The fire was low, bringing a new darkness to the yard. It was late, but everyone was comfortable listening to the quieter music, huddled in circles. It was then that I found a place, sitting in his lap. I could once again smell the smoke waltzing with his cologne, gracefully sweeping from his skin to mine due to our proximity. The corners of my lips tugged upwards when his arm snaked across my stomach, my smugness bouncing off of my previous jealousy knowing this was where he would stay for the rest of the night. Finally, with someone. 
My earlier resolve began to fade when his head slowly leant on mine and his fingers traced circles on my stomach. In the darkness, surrounded by him, he blew teasingly on my face as he had done earlier. I was becoming lost to him, lost to the knot forming in my stomach and the excitement of this moment. That was where I had wanted to be all night; in his arms, his attention solely on me. No other girls he was preying upon. He had found his someone. I didn't walk away. 

And when his lips grazed my skin, nipping at the base of my neck, when his hands travelled further than my hips, when my head rolled backwards on his shoulder and I submitted to his teasing - that's when I became 'anyone'.

Peer Review

The close-up details of the first few sentences drew me in immediately, especially when we realise at the second sentence that the narrator is so close, yet so far.

I would love to see more of details – what else about him drew in the narrator? I also wondered about the narrator's resolve and why she initially wanted to stick to it – did he have a certain sort of reputation? Did the narrator know him before that day? Was there a certain type of guy she was looking out for? I think you can consider playing with the tense of the piece too: Is this written as an aftermath of the night? Or was she lost in the present and knew the exact moment she became "anyone" as things played out in real time?

Reviewer Comments

I liked how it starts off with one scene, one moment, before we see the many moments of emotional struggle the narrator undergoes through the repetition of the motif "walking away". The turning point of "someone" to "anyone" was carried through the piece and I thought it was interesting that we could compare the walking away imagery! One lingering thought was that I would have liked to know a little bit more detail of what being "someone" means to the narrator, like how we understand what it means to be "anyone" at the end of the piece.

If you ever want to experiment more with writing I would suggest playing with the lengths of the sentences – rhythm can affect the mood of your scenes e.g. the long sentences at the start and the one sentence at the end made me feel a bit breathless as I had to read at quite a fast pace – it felt as though I was the narrator forgetting to breathe as I experienced those moments. Perhaps you can consider mirroring the rhythm of the writing to the pace you want readers to feel about the scene!

Lastly, don't be afraid to spend more words describing what you imagine – the setting, character's physical looks, thoughts, etc. because I liked some of your descriptions (and lowkey wished you went on haha).

Wishing you all the best in your writing endeavours and I hope this helped you! :)