Not Ashamed - Valentine's Competition Entry

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  • Published: 22 Feb 2017
  • Updated: 22 Feb 2017
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A short story following 22-year-old Daniel, a guy who has never kissed a girl and has no plans to do so soon.
My entry for the Valentine's competition!

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1. Not Ashamed

I am twenty-two years old and have never kissed a girl.

I was homeschooled since the age of eight after my sister was bullied excessively and my parent’s decided the best option for my family was to take us kids out of the system. Because of this, I haven’t grown up with the criticism of my relationship status and yet here I stand now, with the faces of my new workmates gawking at me.

“You… You’ve never kissed a girl?” Chris stares at me, eyes wide with bewilderment.

“Does this meant you’ve never gotten laid?” Josh eyes me up and down. “You’re a chick magnate. I think you’re lying.”

“If you say so,” I shrug and take a long drink of my lemonade, “but I can assure you, it’s true.”

“Is it for religious reasons?” Chris leans in closer. It’s not often that people find out this interesting fact about me, but when they do, they often blame it on religion. “I bet your Church teaches you that it’s sin to kiss a girl you don’t put a ring on.”

I shake my head and sigh. Sometimes I think it would be better to lie, but for some reason, I always tell the truth about it.

“I may be a practising Christian, but I have no issue kissing a girl outside of marriage. I just haven’t met a girl I don’t want to kiss yet.”

Josh turns around in his chair, searching the near-empty pub.

“What about that girl?” he gestures to a blonde girl who meets my eye and winks.

“Please stop that,” I groan.

“Look, man, it’s just strange to meet someone as old as you who hasn’t kissed a girl before. I want to help you.”

Even though I’ve tried to prepare myself for it, I feel the anger within my stomach begin to rise up.

“Why does everyone act like it’s such a terrible thing not to have kissed someone before they finish high school?”

“Well,” Chris tries to answer but gives up after a moment and Josh just shakes his head.

“I was homeschooled. I didn’t have the pressure to hook up and date just because everybody else was doing it. I don’t want to kiss a girl just because everyone else my age has already kissed twenty. I want to a kiss a girl I like, when the time is right. Can we please change the subject?”

Both of them are quiet as they nod. Taking a deep breath to calm down, we change the subject.

 

*

It’s later on as I’m walking home that I begin to reflect on what went on in the pub. I’m not unfamiliar with gawking people who misunderstand me. The problem is it saddens me that it’s such a strange thing for someone not to do something just because everyone else does.

I’m not ashamed of my singleness. The last time I dated, I would have been about 12. The girl’s name was Lucy and I thought she was the prettiest girl I had every seen. People made fun of us, especially when Lucy let it slip to her friends that I hadn’t kissed her. When word got to my old school friends, they were all over me. In the end, Lucy and I stopped talking to each other and the year after that, I found myself seated on the couch being told I wouldn’t be going back to school. I’ve often wondered about Lucy and whether or not she kissed her first boy for the sake of others.

It’s not that I don’t want to find a lovely girl. It’s that I do want to find one and until then, I have no interest in kissing or dating just because of my age. This is what I want people to understand, but they rarely do.

I walk up the stairs to my apartment and as soon as I’m in the door, I make for the bed and throw myself on it, rolling onto my back to look at the ceiling.

After a few moments to calm my frustration, I pull out my phone and hit my parent’s phone number.

My mother picks up after the first ring.

“Hello, this is the Richardson house, Olivia speaking.”

“Hey mum,” I say brightly.

“Daniel! How are you? We haven’t heard from you in ages!” She pulls away from the phone and I chuckle as she calls out, “it’s Daniel dear!”

“I know,” I tell her. “I’m sorry, mum. I’ve been busy settling into the new job.”

“Are they being nice to you?”

“Mum,” I groan, “this isn’t a school or university. It’s a business.”

“You get good and bad people wherever you go, love.”

“I can’t argue with that,” I tell her and feel happiness at the sound of her laughter. I wouldn’t call myself a mother’s boy, but I do enjoy making her happy.

“Is everything okay, Dan?” she asks. “It’s not that I’m unhappy you called, but you usually don’t call this late.”

A glance at the clock on my wall tells me it’s 9 pm and I groan.

“I’m so sorry, I didn’t check the time.”

“It’s okay, sweetling. What’s up?”

I pause for a moment, trying to gather my thoughts. I’m not sure why I called them, but I have an idea.

“I went out with some new mates of mine,” I tell her as she waits patiently. “They asked about my relationship status and I told them.”

“Let me guess, they weren’t very understanding?”

“One of them, Josh, kept pointing out girls at the bar, even after I asked them to change the topic.”

“I hope you gave him what for,” she sighs.

“It doesn’t really bother me,” I assure her and deep down I know it’s true. “I think I just wanted to call to tell you and dad that I’m grateful that you raised me to think differently and to not just follow everyone else. I’m sure I’ll meet a nice girl someday, but I like that I’m willing to wait for that and be content where I am now rather than be desperate to escape it.”

“Every season,” mum starts her favourite saying and I join in as she finishes, “is a good season.”

We laugh softly together before I sigh deeply and tell her,

“I guess I’ll get going then.”

“We love you Dan, your dad and I both. Don’t be ashamed of who you are.”

“I’m not,” I tell her just before we hang up. I repeat it to myself and make sure I know it deep within myself. “I’m not.” 

 

Authors note****

I definitely wouldn't call this my best piece of writing, but I hope my point shines through it anyway: it's okay to be single and it's okay to be happy with being single.

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