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E - Everyone

Blue or Grey

by JenTep

I once had a problem lying for fun. Just to create a web of illusions to see how far I could take things. It brought me a lot of trouble, a lot of unnecessary anguish. It took a while before I could remind myself not to tell these silly lies. But I still could not help it sometimes, and it pained me more and more when I did. It used to be a running joke that I would need to be asked three times to get the truthful answer. My friends are a great help though, they came up with ideas to keep me honest. Such as telling them when I did lie so I could be honest with myself and others, then there were silly ideas such as I could not tell a lie when it was raining. It was a fun spin on getting my issue under control.

So far it is a success and things are great.

I’m happy everyone is smiling and having a good time tonight, the night feels like it’ll last forever. We are gathered on a weekend playing videogames in a cramped room, enough sugar to last another night. I laugh trying to keep the boys from being too loud but they’re so upset I keep winning. They always try to team up on me but I enjoy a challenge, it only makes me better. I win twice more before they call it quits. Ryan contemplates never playing a game again, Jeremy throws in the idea of just never playing with me again. Adam on the other hand refused to give up, his smirk tells me he wants another round and I oblige him. It’s a close round, Adam is perhaps the better of the three, especially at shooters but I come out on top.

“Welp, I don’t know about you, but I’m going home in shame.” Adam laughs off the defeat while the others howl and I pat his knee.

“There, there, at least you managed to do better than those two.” The howling ceases. Ryan reminds me I have work in the morning and we share a laugh.

Jeremy hassles Adam about losing to a girl but he’s all smiles. It’s always fun teasing each other. I take my victories in stride and get my stuff ready. Going home would be the smart idea, it was not too late yet but we had spent the day together and my bed sounds so inviting. Adam was my ride to and fro until I finished school when my family promises to get me a car of my own. I didn’t mind waiting though, Adam was a great person to ride with and to know in general. Everyone asks how long we have been dating and we sheepishly explain we are not dating. The last two boyfriends could not stand him but we are a package deal, we’ve been best friends since middle school. I’m not getting rid of him over a boy I just met. This friendship was not worth giving up for anything, he is the world to me and that was worth keeping.

The ride was unusually quiet tonight though, the clouds overhead a dark grey in the night sky. The truck comes to a stop at a light, his eyes meet mine in the soft red glow and I half smile.

“I know something’s on your mind.” I give his hand a squeeze on the gear shift, holding it while we resume moving.

“Nothing, just disappointed the weather man lied about it raining tonight.” His full smile reassures me it’s nothing until I remember Adam hates the rain.

“Did you want to ask me something?” My hand shifts to his forearm and I turn fully towards him, fighting the seat belt. He has my full attention. “Tell me.”

He shrugs it off with a joke and regardless of my persistence, he redirects the conversation long enough to get me home. A heaviness in my shoulders because Adam was hiding something from me. That was unlike him, he was never serious or dismissive. Especially when it came to me.

It’s a quiet walk up the steps to the porch and we hug tight, one of those longing hugs. I want him to tell me what was really on his mind so I don’t let go. His laugh bellows in my ear as he realizes I’m not letting go and I hear the distinctive sound of sprinklers switching on. Grabbing his hand, I practically drag him into the front yard soaking ourselves from the waist down. Holding both his hands between mine, looking up at him I could not tell if his eyes were blue or grey. He hides his gaze from me and I turn it back to mine, one hand holding his now.

“You can ask me anything, Adam, I won’t lie to you but look, it’s raining in this spot just for us.” I coo, wondering what could have him so pensive. He takes both my hands in his now, taking a deep enough breathe to remind me to breath for myself.

The sprinklers start to stutter, about to shut off when he closes his eyes and dips his head.

“Do you love me more than a friend?”

I pull him into the tightest hug I could muster without thought, my shoulders buckling as I fight back the barrage of tears threatening to soak the rest of my body. For some reason the question hit me harder than I could have anticipated. I could not lie, for one reason or another, but I did not want to break what we had. It felt like our entire lives built up to this moment, the long nights together, the adventures, the long pauses when we would lock eyes but break apart with a laugh just before that urge to kiss became too strong.

“I should go inside before I get sick.” My dismissing was ineffective but Adam led me back up, opening the door with the key I’d given him years ago. I felt heavy, I want to go inside, I want to stay in his arms, and I’m so uncertain. Only two steps in, I turn to see him smile with pain in his eyes, mirroring mine.

“Me too, Felicity. Goodnight.” Then he drove home.

The answer to his question lost in the night as I watch his truck disappear down the street to come back to take me to work in the morning.

“Yes.” Felicity said to herself.

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18 Reviews

Points: 21
Reviews: 18

Mon Apr 27, 2020 3:36 pm
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Draculus wrote a review...

I've always been interested in things like love relationships in literature. It's a funny thing to explore: how people behave near those who they care for, or what they say, what they keep quiet about. This story seems pretty simple, nothing unique - just a short moment of young people's life when both of them feel something more than a friendly sympathy but neither dares to start talking about it for a long time. Not a special situation, isn't it? But the author managed to draw everything in such a vivid paint that a simple life situation has become a deep and philosophical piece of literature. Feelings of the main character, combined with boy's feelings, create anticipation inside readers and make them wait for what would happen next. And if you ask me, I'll say I liked the ending very much.
I appreciate the name that has been chosen for this story. As I understood its meaning, when a person is overwhelmed by their emotions, thoughts and feelings, their mind starts noticing small details all around them, detail that they would never think of in any other situation. For example, when the main character - Felicity - notices that her good is not okay, when they both come to standing together holding their hands, it makes her feel something unusual, but at the same time familiar - love to Adam that she would suppress inside her own mind. It is an interesting and important exploration of the human psychology.
Keep on writing, dear author! I liked this story very much!

Sincerely yours,

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26 Reviews

Points: 3388
Reviews: 26

Mon Apr 27, 2020 3:09 am
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mckaylaam wrote a review...

Hi there JenTep! I'm popping in for a quick review of your short story, which I thought was overall an adorable piece and definitely something that I'm sure many people (including myself) can relate to.

I like how you started out the story with Felicity's admission of her problem of lying, as I think it was interesting and makes the ending of the story that much more profound when she answers Adam's question.

There are some slight suggestions I'd like to make about some of the wording, just so that things are more clearer and flow better.

It took a while before I could remind myself not to tell these silly lies, I still could not help it sometimes but it pains me more and more when I do.

I'd maybe change this to say "It took a while before I could remind myself not to tell these silly lies. But I still could not help it sometimes, and it pained me more and more when I did."

Adam was my ride to and fro until I finished school when my family promises to get me one.

I'd change the word "one" to "a car of my own", since it might be unclear to some readers what you might be referring to.

The only other thing I think I should mention is that in part of the story, she says Ryan reminds her she has work in the morning, but the next morning is when Adam is supposed to be picking her up for school - this was the only inconsistency I noticed, and I'm sure it was just a small mistake so no worries!

I loved the part where Felicity says she couldn't lie because of the rain and the sprinklers in the lawn, referencing the beginning of the story where she mentions the silly rules she and her friends had made up to help her stop lying. The ending was bittersweet, when she watches his truck disappear into the night when we can see that she knew the answer all along. I'm curious to know if her answer, "yes", was simply something she had said to herself once she went inside (which I'm leaning towards), or if it was something she had said to him the next morning when he came back to take her to school. I don't think the latter is what happened, but both make for interesting endings.

Keep up the great work, JenTep! :)

JenTep says...

I appreciate the feedback! Looking back, your corrections do set a more solid foundation and I'll need to keep an eye out for these type of mistakes! It really helps me when specific issues are identified, I didn't pay a great deal of attention when I in school so I'm playing catch up. I like to think I make up for it with the depth of my writing, I'm happy to learn more technical understanding though.

The inconsistency between Felicity having work and school was rightly called out, corrected and sent her to work the next morning and established she answered the question to nobody but herself.

I try to give a reason for my character's behavior this is probably the 5th draft of this short in the years I've been writing. It's one of my favorites! Especially this version. I'm happy to be able to put something out that's relatable, certainly reassures me I'm not alone in what I feel.

Thank you again, peace and blessings!

I want to do with you what spring does with the cherry trees.
— Pablo Neruda