Short Stories

One day, a twenty-four-year-old girl-woman found herself backed into a foggy, quiet corner (that still had more room to back into still) with dead ends all about her, especially when it came to people and the terrifying relationships they always came with.

The easiest direction to go seemed further backward. Because if she were to go walk forward, let’s say reach a careful hand out in friendship, this potential friend may reject and thus hurt her. But an even more alarming outcome is if this other person accepts. More alarming still, what if this friendship should grow and resonate deeply in the girl-woman’s soul?

Growing more and more fond of this person, she would ask to spend more time with them. She would want to talk again. Laugh together again. Go and watch the next blockbuster. Then without realizing, she would be so delighted and happy at the friendship that she would cross a boundary and the friend would say that there are personal limits to all relationships and to “back away from the line.”

The girl-woman would sober up.

I wonder what friendships are for? she would ask herself. Getting good at toeing around a fine line made of eggshells, I suppose.

But outwardly, she would nod her head and lament, “I did cross a line, but I swear I respect you. Never again, my friend!” and the two would remain happily and safely acquainted with boundaries intact.

Longing for intimacy would worsen. The more you want to be near someone, the more they will back away. The more you back away, the more likely someone will lean in and ask you why you’re being distant and rude.

There is no winning. There is no fulfillment of longing for intimacy. To be frank, the girl-woman was cowardice. Only cowards think and behave this way. More girl than woman, she could not give time and affection without the hope of receiving them both in return. So she stood still in her cold corner. Sometimes, she shifted her foot a little forward when she felt safe enough and told someone the truth – that she felt lonely – quickly stepping back after.

One inch forward, one inch quickly back. No plunging in. No passionate embraces. She might have well been encased in a glass prison.

She sure looked like she was.