Below is my submission for a school short story competition. I will update this post with the result when I find it out, but until then I am leaving it here for you to read and leave feedback. Enjoy
I had planned for a day out with my old friend Caroline. We were going to find a nice cafe and talk about life. I needed a bit of time to get stuff off my chest. She was always able to help when I was like this.
We had proceeded down Flinders St over to Degraves St, where we took up a table, and my emotions poured out.
“Caroline, I need help”, I said grudgingly.
She placed her arm around me. A failing attempt to console me.
I looked off to the side. So many happy people.
“It’s my relationship. I don’t think I love her anymore”
“How long have you been feeling like this for?” she asked with an air of inquisition
“Maybe a month or so, I don’t know. It’s just come out of nowhere”
My phone begun to buzz – it was her. On the table next to us were a cute couple in their mid-twenties. They looked as though they were each other’s world. How long until they’d start to fight?
“I guess I’ve felt sort of trapped. I’m not good with commitment, you know that, and I get bored with people easily. Of late her affection for me has just become annoying. It’s always too full on. She doesn’t give me the space I need, and always demands my attention.”
“Have you tried to tell her how you’re feeling?”
“Wouldn’t that be a good idea?”
“Probably, but…” I said lingeringly
“But what?” Caroline persisted.
“I don’t know if being single will make me happier.”
“It probably won’t. But really that’s okay. No matter what you’re going to feel like you’d be better off one way or another. You were like this with your last girlfriend, remember? Look, I guess the real question you should be asking is, what pain would you rather put up with?”
“So, I have to decide whether the pain of being alone is worse than the pain of being trapped”
“I don’t want you to be in any pain. But, I’d just try to see what’s changed in you due to this relationship. Have you become a better or worse person because of it.”
“I don’t know. I’ve become less confident and she makes me feel guilty if I spend time with my friends and not her. Though, she did bring me a lot of happiness at a time that I needed it.”
“Okay, but just because she made you happier, doesn’t mean you’re indebted to her. Sometimes, you need to focus on yourself.”
I was starting to tear up. I needed a bit of space to breathe. We grabbed the bill and went over to the Yarra. On the way there, I received a text from my girlfriend:
“Hope you’re enjoying your day. Just wanted to say I’m missing you xx”
It was the fourth message I’ve received from her since meeting with Caroline.
We found a nice bench to sit on. There was a group of rowers on the water, and others over at the sheds loading their boats. There was a cool breeze rustling the leaves around, and in the background, you could hear the faint hum of the freeway.
“Caroline, what should I do?”
“I think that when you get home you should sit down, and write down everything that’s good and bad in your relationship. Once you’ve done that, I want you to decide if it’s worth staying or going. If you intend to stay, great! Now, you need to figure out how you’re going to make it work better. If you’re going, also great! However, you need to plan how you’re going to break things off easily. Figure out the timing, and how you’re going to let her know. And for Christ’s sake, break up with her in person.
“Wow… um, okay then.”
“It’s a lot, but it needs to be done.”
We left that issue there and continued to talk about anything. Anything to ease the pain I was experiencing in that moment. It didn’t work.
I got home that night and did what Caroline said. I wrote down everything good, which took 2 minutes, and everything bad, which took 10.
I found every item in my house that was her’s and put it into a bag. I found every photo of her on my phone and put it in one album. Anything that could trigger a heartache was moved to one place for easy removal. I went and bought a large tub of ice-cream, and stole some wine from my parent’s cellar.
I was ready.
The story placed 2nd in the competition and will be published in my school’s end of year magazine