Short Story – When Our Old Stories Hold Us Back

She doesn’t often look you in the eyes. Instead, she fixes her gaze on the floor because being on the ground is safer. Because, unlike individuals, it has no expectations of reciprocation. She doesn’t have to feel bad about her past. Simply said, the planet welcomes her as she is at this moment. 

She sits at the bar next to me and looks down at her vodka tonic before looking at the ground and then back at her drink. Most people don’t understand me, she claims. “They question me about my problems or whether I was beaten as a child. But I never respond. I don’t feel like explaining myself right now. And to be completely honest, I don’t think they care.

A young man then sits down at the bar on the other side of her. A little tipsy, he remarks, “You’re pretty.” Would it be okay if I bought you a drink? She doesn’t say anything as her eyes drift back to the ground. After a painful time, he accepts the rejection, stands up, and leaves. 

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Would you like me to leave with you? I question. She doesn’t glance up as she replies, “No.” However, I really need to get some fresh air. You aren’t required to go, but you can if you want to. I go outside after her and join her as we sit on a curb in front of the bar.

It’s a freezing night!” She adds, her gaze dipping below as usual, “Tell me about it. 

A warm vapour from her breath pierces the chilly air and rebounds off the ground in front of her. Wouldn’t you rather be inside, in the warmth, talking to ordinary people about everyday things? “What brings you out here with me?””

“I’m out here because I want to do this,” I’m not like everyone else, so that’s why. Additionally, we are in San Diego, and you can see my breath. Additionally unusual is what you said. Oh, and while wearing Airwalk sneakers in 1994 could have been fine, it’s not appropriate now. She smiles and exhales into the moonlight as she looks up at me. “I saw a ring on your finger,” the person said. I ask, “Are you married?”

I respond, “It is true. “My wife, Angel, just got off work and is coming over to meet me for dinner,” I said. 

She nods before directing her attention back to the ground. You’re no longer for sale, therefore I think you’re safe. So, mind if I tell you a story about a storey? 

“I’m paying attention.” 

While she speaks, her expressive gaze shifts from the ground to my eyes, the moonlit sky, back to the earth, and finally back to my eyes once again. This cycle continues throughout the duration of her storey. She maintains eye contact with me for a few extra seconds each time than the one before.

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I remain silent at all times. I listen carefully to each word. 

And I can see how deeply affected she is from the intensity of her stare and the tone of her voice. 

Now that you are aware of my story, she concludes by saying. “Do you believe I’m crazy?” 

She must place her right hand on her chest, I advise her. She counts among them. I ask, “Do you feel anything?” 

She claims, “I can feel my heartbeat.” 

Now, carefully move both of your hands around your face while closing your eyes. She counts among them. I ask, “How do you feel right now?”

She explains, “Well, I feel my eyes, nose, lips… I perceive my face. 

I reply, “You’re right. “But unlike you, stories don’t have faces or hearts. Stories aren’t living since they’re not real people. Basically, it’s a compilation of stories. 

She continues after gazing deeply into my eyes for a while, “Just stories we live through. 

“Yeah… And it’s from these tales that we get knowledge.”

Third Story

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