Here is a bit of flash fiction I wrote for a writing challenge. I hope you enjoy it.
“Is that her?”
The whispers follow me everywhere now.
“Yeah, I think so.”
I can’t go to the mall, coffee shops or school without them.
“Did she really dare to ask Jaycee for a date?”
I did. I really did. Only because Daren said I didn’t have the balls to do it. He’s the one who wanted to go out with her. He and every other boy in the school, even Evan, who’s as bent as they come, would die for the chance to escort Jaycee to Mr. Johnson’s Honors Chemistry Final.
The problem: Jaycee never went with anyone. She didn’t even join in the girl thing of going to the bathroom together.
I told Daren to just walk up and ask her. I mean what’s the worst that could happen, right? She says “no”, maybe laughs a little? You become an urban legend?
“You’re kidding me. Her?”
That’s the one that always gets me. Today, I’m sitting in the corner table at the Eat Street Cafe, minding my own business just trying to get the summer reading done for Ms. Clarion’s College Lit, honors section. I thought it would be quieter here than home where my brothers were planning their latest escapade.
“Yes. Me.” I looked over the top of my book at the offending girls. “It was two years ago. I walked up to her and asked if she’d join me for coffee.”
They were young, still not fully grown into their bodies. My guess was freshmen. They looked at me with a mix of fear that they were overheard and contempt that someone like me would dare to talk to them.
I’m going to have to explain that now aren’t I?
You think these scars tell you I’ve had a hard life. I mean, what kind of life leaves a high school senior with old, jagged scars across her face. Three lines, like claw marks, from just above my left eye to my right jaw. It’s a miracle I can see. It’s a miracle I’m alive and I know it. I don’t know where these scars came from, and neither does anyone else. The wounds were there when they found me and everything before that moment is lost. So don’t believe anyone who tells you otherwise.
The important thing is that I was found and given to my parents, who love me, and I’ve been doing just fine ever since.
Some people seem to think I should be ashamed of these scars. I’m not. They remind me of just how tough I can be. As a baby, I survived the wounds they remember. They are exactly the reason I walked up to Jaycee that day and asked her to coffee.
What was the worst that could happen? She could laugh. I’d become an urban legend as the girl who dared to ask Jaycee Langston out on a date.
Well the urban legend part came true.
I am the girl who dared to ask Jaycee Langston out on a date.
Somehow, they’ve all managed to forget that she accepted. We spent a glorious afternoon right here, at this table in the corner laughing about all the silly things people say about us. Not just once either. We became something of an item, until she graduated.
Turns out, she was running an experiment to see how long it would take for someone to ask her to do something, anything. A year and a half from the day she decided to see if anyone would ask her out, or to the bathroom, or even just to walk to class. She said her family’s reputation was like a mask hiding her real self from the world. All she really wanted was for someone to see past her name.
That’s something these girls, gaping at me for having the courage to talk to them, will never understand. Not until they have to face life through the mask others force on them.
I turn back to my book and block out the rest of the whispers. Let them have their stories, if it makes them feel better.