Nancy : A Short Story

Nancy

It was a voice he’d heard long before calling his name that he faintly heard while working. Customers frequented the grocery store he worked en masse—so much that he grew accustomed to filtering out the cacophony of sounds and words in that they no longer sounded like voices or noises manufactured by people, but instead like fizzling static or the peculiar sound of a conch shell when placed upon one’s own ear. The only sounds he heard clearly while in this mode were those of his thoughts which leapt like frogs from one lily pad to the next, always in constant motion, as were his eyes, hands, and body that synchronized together whenever he was working.

“Brian? Is that you?” She said. Brian turned and looked and it was her. It was Nancy. Suddenly, the memories rushed back like a tide’s ebb and flow but much quicker and less subtle under a starry sky. She looked just as he remembered. Once he came back to the place where both he and Nancy worked he looked for her. And when he did not find her, he remembered to pretend that he wasn’t looking for her at all but instead, he didn’t care whether or not she was still working there. But after a while, it didn’t matter. After a while he realized that she had gone, moved on, and would not be coming back which left him alone.

But she wasn’t alone, no. She hung on his arm, this guy, her new beau she was now with who managed to do what he could not—win her heart. So this is what she did with her time after me, he thought. Her teeth when she smiled shone brightly, was helped by the light above the two, as was the sparkling white diamond upon the third finger of her left hand lay breathlessly still.

“Oh my God! It is you!” She said, except the word you came out sounding like true. “How are you?”

How am I? He thought to repeat the question back to her but didn’t. How am I? He asked himself and didn’t know just how to respond. There was in the time the two of them separated when he called and left her messages and was careful not to over do it and when he did leave a message he knew enough to know not to sound needy. He didn’t want to come across to her as a person who was still desperate for her and so didn’t want to move any closer to her because that would mean that he forgave her. The urge did not exist inside him to do so and so held his distance. He didn’t feel the need to be held in that same cold embrace the way friends who never were really friends usually do and worst of all, he did not want an apology from her…Or her sympathy…Or her smile. He didn’t want any of those things. After all, he was in the workplace the two of them were once trying to get away from at one time and though unspoken, had both agreed to move on and move up in the world because there were other things—much better things—in this world than working in a grocery store for minimum wage. Maximum effort for minimum pay…Isn’t that what he used to say jokingly? In his mind, he traveled back to where it all started—at the same place but at a different time when the both of them were neither older nor the wiser. He brought her flowers and bought her new books—the ones he thought she should read—all in the name of friendship and thought to himself in his infinite wisdomthat this is what friends do that she would do the same too if she was indeed his friend, and that it was all together agreeable to do such things because at the time it made perfect sense to him. When she was feeling down or needed his sympathy, he would be the one to listen to her pour out to him her travels of so many miles, as it was much easier for her to do so than it was for him; she would talk and he would listen as was always the way. And then one starry night she took hold of his hands and looked clearly into his eyes and said to him,

“You won’t fall for me, will you?” Looking back into her eyes he didn’t blink nor budge but responded after a pause. He caught a glimpse of heaven and so was wondering whether or not he wanted to come inside.

“No, I won’t,” he lied. Except the word he heard out of his own mouth wasn’t won’t, but don’t.

“You promise?” She asked him. She was sincere. He nodded his head, still locked in her gaze, not ever wanting to look away.

“I promise,” he said to her. He was lying to her again and so was in essence betraying her.

So, How am I? He asked himself and she was looking at him again in that downtrodden, almost condescending way with her clear eyes and her winning smile.

“I’m fine,” he said to her and to himself: lying to her again and to himself. He was unblinking and afforded her a smile of false reconciliation, giving her a slight nod. She paused and returned him a smile of her own. She hesitated, then turned and looked at her beau standing beside her who she almost forgot was there.

“Oh, this is Giovanni,” she said. Giovanni gave him that same slight nod and a Hi, how are you, in which he didn’t respond because he already did that. Once was enough. He readied his hand just in case this Giovanni was to offer it to him which he would have done so grudgingly if it came to that. Nancy then looked at Brian again and this time her face softened.

“So, what are you doing here?” She asked him in her familiar sing-song voice. The hairs on the back of his neck suddenly stood up and though it was well air-conditioned in the climate controlled store, he suddenly felt feverish. It was a loaded question at the very least. He well could have gotten angry—a lesser man would have. He thought her inquiry a trap in which she was trying to lure him into in an attempt to hurt him some more. He didn’t want to give in. He wanted to be honest with her. Summoning all the courage he had inside he spoke.

“I’m pursuing my dream,” he told her honestly.

He remembered it: Summertime three years ago. On their night together then, the moonlight shone brightly upon the two of them as they took their time walking the length of the shore. The foam tide rushed forward towards them kissing their bare feet as they walked and then retreated back towards the source—the ocean—back and forth. Brian saw himself, saw his hands secured inside the pant pockets of his jeans that were rolled up ankle-high and Nancy in her summer dress whose hem fluttered with the cool night air. Never had he felt so young and so shy. Everything was now in motion. He made a joke he remembered, and the joke wasn’t even all that funny but it gave Nancy reason enough to lay her head atop his shoulder which in turn gave him enough reason to take his right hand out the pocket of his jeans wrap his arm around her so not to lose his balance. She didn’t object to his doing this and in fact she told him that it was getting cold and so gave him reason to keep his hand right where it was, rubbing it up and down so as to warm her up. It felt good that she felt good.

“I can feel your heart beating,” she said to him while lying on top of him on a bed made of sand and a pillow that was the wrist of his left arm. Looking at her, he could see the glimmer of moonlight in her eyes when she tilted her head which seemed to be floating freely in a sea of stars.

“Me too,” he said. “I can feel your heart beating.”

“Yeah?” She said smiling. “But your heart is beating way too fast.” She made him blush, that was what he remembered. But before he would speak again, he bit down on his bottom lip to ready himself.

“It’s probably because I want to kiss you.” He then reached up with both his hands and touched her soft face. Still smiling, she closed her eyes and leaned towards his touch while feeling the rise and fall of his chest. She smelled of sweet lilacs. That was what he remembered.

And then both their hands were clenched into fists—four hands creating two fists—spread eagle against the sand, the rush of wind trying desperately to swoop down and claim the two of them to ride them into the starry night sky while the tide rose high nearing their feet again and again while rising up the moist shoreline and so erased all the footsteps they made in the sand. Everything was going fast, maybe too fast. And when the tide that night finally did reach the two of them, nothing stopped. It wasn’t until she decided to stop that it would stop and that was fine by him even if it was that he was about to drown, because sometimes some things were worth going through and worth dying for. Damn everything else.

Isn’t that what he told himself then?

Isn’t that how the story went?

He woke up just as wet as he was that first and last night with her. But this time, all of it was his sweat, all of it was his excretion, his source. When he reached up to rub his eyes he found the debris of tears, already too dry to be dried. They were a lot like grains of sand--small and insignificant. Nothing ever comes to those who don’t believe, he thought. But it was all a dream, really. Where he heard that before he hadn’t a clue. But from the pain he felt, he wished that he could give it all up, that all of it would just end. It was either that or that he’d never met her and that she never existed in the first place, so in that way the pain he felt would finally subside. He wanted the dream to stop, wanted all of it to end for the both of them. Let’s face it he thought, the dream is finally over. Then, salty tears surfaced his eyes. He could still see her so clearly then, so vividly without having to try. After all this time he still remembered what she smelled like, but knew it had to end. All things die after all, even lilacs. She was inside of him once again, maybe forever. Cyanide he thought over and over again as the world around him grew darker and darker still in a fury…Cyanide…Cyanide…Cyanide…And then there were no more stars in the sky.

© Copyright O. Dohn Paditsone, September 2008

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Comments 30 comments

Dheeraji profile image

Dheeraji 7 years ago from Leicestershire

Such a great read,

Excellent work dohn!


\Brenda Scully 7 years ago

nicely written i enjoyed that


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York Author

Thank you guys both for commenting on this piece. I've been awaiting a comment on this story since its induction as a hub. Congratulations to both of you guys for being the very first to comment on this story. I actually have two more pieces that need some hub love too, but...


Useful Knowledge 7 years ago

Excellent! I was drawn in therough the whole story. I could see the scene on the beach as I read it. You are a fantastic writer. Great hub my friend.


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York Author

Thank you, UK. I really do appreciate your comment. I'm so excited to see you and some of my other friends around! I won't ever forget you guys for all of your support.

Oh, Congrats to you for making it to the first page of Hottest Hubs! (Facebook Farm Town Review) I see that it scored a 98! Awesome!


Useful Knowledge 7 years ago

Thanks. That's why I have not been writing so much. I have been distracted by that game. (lol). I still want you to be my neighbor. I already have a few from hubpages. Keep in touch. I will be reading more of your writings as I have time.


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York Author

You know I will, UK :)


Drew Breezzy profile image

Drew Breezzy 7 years ago from somewhere in my mind

Dohn you need to stop writing such great stories ;)


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York Author

Thanks, Big Guy! I hope I'll still see you around once the NFL season starts! Why is it such a long wait? Hey, congrats again, bro, on reaching 100! You deserve it.


Tia Durrett profile image

Tia Durrett 7 years ago from Caldwell

Wow... I'm sorry it was a short story lol. You are awesome at describing everything and I too could see the beach, and almost smell the lilacs.

I'm curious if you would read the beginning of a story of mine and tell me what you think. Honestly, it's very very much a beginners story. http://hubpages.com/literature/Fictional-stories-b


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York Author

Thanks, Tia. I really appreciate the comment. This story was based on (not wholly mind you) on something that happened to me. The part about the beach was entirely fictional and I won't expose anything else! I'll be sure to check out your story.


A. Sakz profile image

A. Sakz 7 years ago from 92869

Beautifully written.


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York Author

Thanks, A. Sakz. I appreciate it.


prettydarkhorse profile image

prettydarkhorse 7 years ago from US

I love this story DOHN it is really hard to move on, the memories always linger, and you cant blame the person if it wont let go, thats true love for you!

The lovemaking part was so full of emotioms but I got carried away LOL! teh intensity of love lost can be felt too,

you are really a good writer because you can affect a rebellious person like me LOL,

have a good day always, Maita


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York Author

Thank you so much, Maita. I really enjoyed writing this story as most of it really happened. Love certainly makes us do things we normally don't and when love is lost, hearts are torn and the elegance diminishes. That's exactly what I set out to do when writing this piece. Thank you for the feedback as always, my friend.


BEAUTYBABE profile image

BEAUTYBABE 7 years ago from QUEENSLAND AUSTRALIA.

I really loved this story. You could feel the love between Nancy and Bruce. I love lilacs too, and they smell devine. You are such a gifted writer, the stories you write seem to just write themselves. You have given much pleasure to many readers. I am not a writer but I am a singer and I know what it feels like to succeed at something and you certainly have done that Dohn. just wonderful story loved it from beginning to the end, wish you had written more . Its not a nice feeling to lose the one you love, but we all have to move on and leave the past behind and find peace in ourselves once again. BB


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York Author

Thank you for that, BB. I really appreciate your encouragement and support. Your only a writer if you write, and you, my friend, have written a lot so far! Thank you for your empathy in the matter. Nancy at one time really meant a lot to me, but she is my past and so I have moved on. I believe that more oceans and beaches are on my horizon. Thanks again.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

That is a wonderful way to look at it...more oceans and beaches on the horizon. Another great short story, Dohn!


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York Author

Thank you Peggy. Many of friends liked this one. Yes, many more beaches on the horizon! I'm pleased that you liked it.


Truth From Truth profile image

Truth From Truth 7 years ago from Michigan

Great story Dohn, I am sorry I did not read it sooner.


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York Author

Not at all, TFT. I'm thankful that you read it and enjoyed it. Thanks for doing so.


Run Down Battery profile image

Run Down Battery 6 years ago from UK

An incredibly moving and evocative piece. I didnt read it so much as feel it. Thank you.


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 6 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York Author

Thank you, RDB! It's flattering to hear you say that. I'm glad that you enjoyed it.


Moulik Mistry profile image

Moulik Mistry 6 years ago from Burdwan, West Bengal, India

Loved your beautiful story, Dohn - keep writing more...


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 6 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York Author

Thank you so much, Moulik Mistry. I really appreciate it.


sophs 6 years ago

Love it! Your use of words is brilliant and so descriptive.

And a great story. Beautifully written Dohn, as usual :)


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 6 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York Author

Thank you for reading this, sophs. I appreciate your kind words and encouraging words. I means a lot to me that people read this story.


agaglia profile image

agaglia 5 years ago

great, great, great story - keep writing. you are really good.


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 5 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York Author

Thank you, agaglia. Your words in particular are urging me forward.


Becky 3 years ago

Hi I would like to see,1) More online comps that need X aumont of online tournament wins to enter. So you spend more games against youre level opposition rather than too poor or too strong. And with each harder tournament better prize money so it would look like:No tournament wins 2k Prize3 Tournament wins 3k Prize5 Tournament wins 5k prize10 Tournament Wins 7k prize20 Tournament wins 10k prize40 Tournament Wins 15k prize2) League creater for ultimate team so you can set one up with youre mates3) A greater change of formation specific to the player. So you cant change every position but messi could do striker, attacking mid and winger.

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