Friday, May 10, 2013

Better Than Yesterday--a short(ish) story (GBE2 #103 Topic: Photo Prompt)

 This week's GBE2 topic was a photo prompt.  I wrote a short(ish) story.  Enjoy!!
The sun was just starting to peek over the horizon. Elsa could hear the birds singing and the waves lapping softly at the shoreline. The blazing colors in the distance would soon be full fledged daylight, bathing her in the first rays of early morning. Her house was slowly fading behind her as she gradually made her way up the beach, her bare feet sinking just slightly into the damp sand with each step she took.

She still had on her dress from yesterday-- A long, white, flowing, peasant-style dress that she has owned for years. She hadn't been to bed...hadn't thought much about changing into something more comfortable either. The old dress was just fine. Its hem kissed the sand every now and then as she walked along--bottle firmly in hand. Her long, wavy blonde hair was pulled back from her face and fastened with an ornate silver clip. Strands of hair had escaped hours ago and now framed her face with loose ringlets. Her eyes were rimmed with smudges of black and gray—remnants of makeup that had been destroyed by hours of weeping.

The champagne was finished hours's affects no longer noticeable. She didn't often drink but last night that bottle was her new best friend. A night that was supposed to be a loving celebration with her special someone, somehow turned into an almost endless session of replaying old memories and crying in the dark. Around four o'clock in the morning...her new friend persuaded her to write the letter.

Nobody writes letters anymore, a small voice in the back of her mind scolded her. Certainly not with a pen and paper. What would she do with it? Send it? Pouring her heart out on tear stained paper-- no matter how fancy it was with it's pretty flowered borders--wouldn't make things right. It wouldn't get her what she wanted.

You can't get back what was never yours in the first place.

But the tears kept flowing and her glass seemed to refill itself without her even trying. Numbness and clarity walked hand in hand as she rose up from her seat by the fireplace and made her way to the desk. She chose her favorite pen—the one her grandmother had given her on her 18th birthday—and a few pages of that fancy stationary. Then, she sliced herself wide open and her words bled onto the page.

I think love you. Not the forever kind. Not the kind that makes people take life altering risks. Maybe it's not even love...who knows...but I feel something. Something strong and deep and real. No matter how long we've been doing...well, whatever it is that we do... I never feel enough. I get so nervous when I'm around you and I feel like everything I say is the wrong thing. This letter is probably the wrong thing...but it's late...and my inhibitions are rather diminished. I've always been perfectly happy to love you from a distance and I told myself that it didn't matter if you ever loved me back. As long as I put my love for you out into the universe, good things were bound to happen. I kept waiting. Waiting for the universe to reward my patience. Waiting for you to throw me scraps of attention. “Rejection is the greatest aphrodisiac”...I heard that in a song once. I guess people really do want what they know they can't have.  I've spent what feels like an eternity in this endless loop of rejection and reward. I would ride on the high of a single kiss for days...only to crash to rock bottom...humiliated...time and time again. And no matter how many times I talked myself out of this insanity, I keep coming back. You didn't even have the decency to tell me you weren't coming tonight and yet, I know that if you asked me right now-- I'd drop everything and come to you. And I don't know what hurts more: knowing that I am really that weak or knowing that you're not going to ask me.

Elsa stared off towards the ocean. The morning sun warmed her face and the soft breeze lightly tousled her hair and caused her skirt to wind around her ankles. She tucked a few stray strands of hair behind her ears and fished the letter from her skirt pocket. She felt changed. Determined. It had been a rough night but the morning seemed full of promises.

She looked it over quickly, then rolled it up and slid it into the bottle.

She took a deep breath and haphazardly wiped a few tears away with the back of her free hand.

With all of her might, she threw the bottle into the sea. It bobbed and swayed with the current until, eventually, it disappeared from Elsa's sight. It was only then—after she could no longer see it—that she turned around and began to head home.

As she retraced her steps along the shore, a smile started to make its way across her pretty face.

Today would be better than yesterday.

The next day would be better than today.

She was finally free.


  1. I love the positive ending in this story. Nice to see your words Stephanie.

  2. stephanie cardinaleMay 11, 2013 at 6:07 AM

    Thank you! My husband asked me what my gut said when I saw the picture and I told him most of this story. He said, "Wow, that's depressing!!" So, I second guessed myself and wasn't going to write it. Then, I was driving around at work and thinking about it and the whole idea suddenly became clear. I really liked that it had a positive ending as well.


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