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Listen to our latest podcast: An interview with Sunday Writers’ Club member Holly Girling. Enjoy also listening to Holly reading her short story “I Never Said You Were Stupid”
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Writing inspired by a SWC creative writing prompt
I Never Said You Were Stupid
I Never Said You Were Stupid
By Holly Girling
“I never said you were stupid.” Florian shook his head at his feet despite his eyes floating up to Mount Olympus. He thought he was a god among men. Why so many people in his life should misunderstand so much, and so often, was beyond him. The time it took for others to discover what he’d felt he was born knowing infuriated him. Florian had a life motto and that was: do not wait.
“Then why is it any time I do anything, it’s wrong, huh?” Bianca fired back. Florian struggled to bring his gaze back to Earth, back to the creature before him whose hair–tight and curly and dark as the night’s sea–adorned her petite head like a million question marks. Her temples hardened, adding corners to her otherwise round face. Her cheeks were no longer the pink of early love, they were pale, so pale her yellow complexion pellucid. She continued, “You always have something to say!”
Florian looked to their microwave clock and found the red right angles combined to construct numbers that constructed time, and that time read; “too late.” Behind the door beside it, lingered the smell of burnt popcorn. Bianca burned popcorn, more than once. Florian could almost see its residual exhaust squeezing through the crack in the door, slowly reaching towards him, ready to fill his nostrils, to attach to the hair inside that he trimmed meticulously. Bianca, she always waits too long, Florian thought.
Slowly, Bianca raised her arms just enough for her flattened palms to frame her face and shivered in frustration, “And now…of course, you say nothing!” Florian had nothing to say until she slammed her palms on the table with a slap.
“Can you get to the point?” he popped his plosive p and with it Bianca seemed to levitate from her seat across from him. The framed maps of the French Riviera, the Fiji islands, the streets of Prague and Budapest and Istanbul and all the cities she took him to were slowly obscured on the wall behind her by her rising shoulders. Florian wrapped his hand around his imported bottle of Trappist beer. It was no longer cold.
Florian reminded himself, do not wait. He unleashed the words, “All I’m saying is… if you’d just listen and not talk the whole goddamn time maybe you would understand–”
“So I can’t understand anything without my boyfriend’s explanation? Oh yes, you’ve always got the right thing to say! Mr. Ivy League always knows it all. When was the last time you had a job?”
“You’re feeling insecure,” Florian said matter-of-factly.
“That’s an interesting word to throw around,” Bianca scoffed. “Tell me, Florian, are you feeling confident right now?”
“Can we just resolve this?” The red cornered 5 on the clock reshaped itself to a 6.
“Look at me.” Bianca had her hands on her hips, the sign this night would be a long one.
“I’m looking,” Florian said behind blue-green eyes–the eyes his mother had given him, though not much else. Bianca looked at them long enough for Florian to want to scream, want to yell and hit and do something terrible, really terrible, something worth this night, worth their end. He was done. Done with her, done with this world, done with the absurdity and the humanity that trapped him. Florian blinked, only once, for he only had one blink left. Do not wait. He rose to her level, or rather, six inches above her level, and he took one step towards her. Her bare shoulders seemed to shutter, and when they did, Florian turned away and grabbed his coat.
“I don’t have time for this,” he said. And he shut the burnt popcorn air behind him, closed his life on Bianca and took his stride in twos.
Until, years later, after countless slammed doors, each time in his face, each time the woman leaving him, Florian, alone and far from the clouds, felt the tickle of a rogue nose hair and finally, he wondered, “Am I stupid?”
Sunday Writers' Club Member
Holly Girling is Vice President of the Uni-Verse Creative Writing Society in Vienna. She is currently studying Creative Writing with Open University. Her work is published in three Uni-Verse anthologies and on her blog, ranging from prose to poetry. She has also written and directed an audioplay, “An Outcast’s Christmas” and is currently co-host of the Uni-Verse Podcast. Her latest work includes her comedy novel “Chewy Hair.”
You can read here blog Wanderlust and Soggy Pages here
You can find out more about Uni Verse Creative Writing Society in Vienna here