A short story: we as in us. (Part 1)

I’ve never really written fictional stories before, maybe because I believe all stories should have an element of truth. This is part fiction, mostly true, make of it what you will. :) 

It’s inspired by cold winter nights, the amazing combination of whiskey + apple juice, and a whole bunch of bittersweet memories. It’s a story I never thought I’d write; that I’ve written and abandoned one too many times. 

Here it is, in bits and pieces. Let me know what you think. x 

This is not a love story.

You once told me that I’m a writer of cliches. That much may be true, but there’s nothing cliche about heartbreak – because even though it is universal, it is unique to the person walking through it.

There is nothing cliche about waking up every morning aching for a place and a person you can no longer call home. And there is also nothing cliche about our story, the one I’m finally ready to tell. You’ll have your version, and that’s okay, too.

Here’s the story I’ve replayed a million times in my head, that I’m tired of telling, that will be immortalised online.

Here’s to the us that never made it to the light.

I opened my eyes and it’s not unit 7, 230 Elgin Street. For a moment, I panic – and then I realised I’m in the right place.

It was a big day; my first day as a journalist. I hopped into a cab, hoping I wouldn’t be late, and your name popped up on my phone. I got so used to seeing it.

“Have a great first day, Di.”

No one else ever calls me that. Close friends call me “Dee”, others call me “Diane”, but only you called me Di.

I sat at my desk and got through the day. Mum picked me up and I reached home with a hollow feeling in my gut.

This is what it’s like to miss someone till it hurts. This is what it’s like to want to be in two places at once.

I just didn’t know that would be the first of 365 days I’d feel that way.

We met at a very strange time of my life.

I remember moments. You were just sitting there, your outline silhouetted against the lights. I don’t know why, but I went up to say “hi”. Nothing changed, yet everything did, too.

I don’t know when it happened, but I started laughing at your jokes and looking forward to your messages. I woke up to them, and fell asleep with them. I was never sure if you were a part of my dreams because you were just, there. Every step of the way.

Friends started teasing. I always brushed it off because, well, what was I supposed to say? We were friends, nothing more, and I wanted it to stay that way.

I remember moments.

I hadn’t been that angry in ages. My typing got progressively more violent – I couldn’t understand why you were being so wishy-washy about the movies later that night. If I hadn’t already paid $40, I would’ve just not turned up.

We caught two movies back-to-back. Zach Braff’s ‘Wish I Was Here’ kicked off the evening, putting us both in a contemplative mod. One line in particular stood out:

On the other side of heartbreak is wisdom. 

I never forgot it, especially in the days after. But it was Scottish film ‘God Help the Girl’ that got us both. Beautifully shot and cleverly written, we found ourselves glued to the screen. Your favourite character didn’t have a name, she wore a blazer and a beret. The plotline was fantastic, as was the music.

Funnily enough, ‘God Help the Girl’ was about a girl and a boy who became friends and had some sort of connection, but the girl eventually decided to leave to pursue her dreams. Ha, coincidence? I wasn’t sure.

After the lights came back on, you sank back into the seat and said, “I’m so heartbroken.” I was too, even though we were feeling the ache for entirely different reasons.

We left the cinema in silence, both hunkering down in our coats to avoid feeling the chill, and to avoid the thick silence between us.

We hugged goodbye at the junction of Flinders and Swanston Streets. It wasn’t like our usual hugs; we held onto each other like we didn’t want the moment to pass while the crowds surged past us.

I walked away with tears in my eyes, wondering what the hell we were going to do.

God help the girl, indeed.


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