A Boy and A Girl

This is a story I wrote a while ago for a competition (I didn't win, sadly). I thought I'd see what everyone thinks of it. It's a short story about realizing what you want almost too late. It's a story about letting someone slip through your fingers and then wanting them back. And most of all, it's a story that will get you believing in love again.

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1. A Boy and A Girl

 

 

A boy and a girl sit in a room. She has something to tell him and is struggling to find the words.

“I’m leaving.”

She has chosen simply because she cannot, the girl realises, glamorous the subject in any way.

“I don’t understand,” says the boy. “Leaving to go where?”

Her heart aches with the pain of trying to tell him. Yet what she would really like to say is even harder than this.

“Paris. I’m moving to Paris.”

He inhales sharply, “Oh.”

They are silent for too long before the boy speaks.

“Well, I hope your life there is everything you want it to be,” he tells the girl calmly. Really he would like to scream at her, tell her not to go. But he no longer has that right.

The girl frowns.

“That’s all you have to say to me?”

She is hurt. Is that what the boy wanted?

“I have to go,” he replies.

The boy stands and turns to go so he won’t see the tears in her eyes, nor she his.

***

The girl stands in her room that night, with two piles on the bed in front of her. ‘Keep’ and ‘Discard’. Sorting through a draw she finds an old necklace (Discard), her favourite teddy from when she was small (Keep) and a picture of her and the boy (?). They are smiling cheekily up at the camera and he has his arm draped around her shoulders in the picture surrounded by the oak frame. She strokes it for a moment, deciding, and eventually adds it to the chosen pile.

***

The boy stands on top of the hill where they used to sit. Sometimes he and the girl would bring food and pic-nic in the sun. Sometimes they’d talk and once, they would fight. He remembers that day clearly. It was the end of summer and it seemed fitting afterwards that it would be the end of them, too. He accused her of being unfaithful. She quickly denied it. He thought too quickly and told her so. He now sighs and his eyes close. He no longer wants to think of this.

***

Three days later the girl zips up her suitcases. She cannot help but smile when she thinks of what the boy would say on seeing how full they are. But he is not here, and she will make herself forget. She lugs her cases down the stairs and is looking round for the final time when she hears a horn beep outside.

Sitting in the taxi she leans her head on the window. She pulls out her phone and locates the photos. She deletes quite a few. She wants no memories of him except one.

She will even delete the goodbye text she taps out to him. And the reply, if there is one.

***

The message reaches the boy in his flat. He looks at it and then up at the clock. He knows her flight information; he checked with her friend. He looks back at the text. He let her go once; will he do it again? Making his decision he grabs the keys from a table, locks his door and runs to his car.

***

She is over three hours early as she checks her bags onto the flight. She decides to get a coffee before she boards the plane.

***

The boy knows he will not park. Instead, he ditched his car and runs.

***

The call has come to board and the girl hurries to the line with her passport in hand. As she gets to the man he asks for her boarding pass. She searches but cannot find it, and goes to the back of the line to look. A few moments later she hears her name and turns. She is shocked to see the boy standing there.

“Don’t go. I love you,” he tells her.

The girl pauses but says, “I can’t do this now. I’m sorry. I have to go.”

She grabs her boarding pass out of the bag and gets on the plane.

***

It pours with rain that night, fitting to the boy’s dark mood. He hears a knock at his front door, and reluctantly gets up to answer it. On opening the door he is shocked.

“Hi.”

***

A bride walks up the aisle in a beautiful white dress. She stands at the altar where her veil is lifted. She smiles

***

A baby cries to be cradled by her adoring mother and father.

***

A photo album is shut when a small voice comes from the kitchen.

“Mummy?”

As the mother makes her way out of the room, she pauses in front if the mantlepiece where a photo stands. The couple in it are smiling cheekily up at the camera and he has his arm draped around her shoulders in the picture surrounded by the oak frame. The woman looks back at her husband on the settee. She thinks of that night in the rain when she knocked on his door and smiles at how far the boy and the girl have come.

THE END

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