Voices: A Short Story

A little while back, I was fooling around with formatting and stumbled across an idea for a short scene between a man and a woman. This is what I came up with. Be sure to read through the explanation at the end to see my thoughts behind my writing

******

“Do you think I look nice?”

Why are you asking?  

I just want to make sure I look nice when we go out. 

“You look fine, honey.”

He’s lying. Did he even look up from his cellphone?

No, he’s not lying. I really do look nice. Look at how pretty my makeup looks.

Look at that smudge of mascara under your eye. It’s making those bags under your eyes look even worse.

“Come away from the mirror, Jessica. You look beautiful.”

Look what you’ve done. Now he thinks you’re vain.

I wasn’t being vain. I was just . . .

Just what?

“I’m sorry. I just want to make sure I look nice when I meet your parents.”

Now watch. He’s going to say —

“They’re going to love you.”

See? He just repeats that same line over and over again, as if it will make you feel better. 

What if they don’t? I know he likes me, but what if I give a bad first impression?

Then all of this will be for nothing and it’ll be another lover gone forever.

No, that’s not true. That’s an over-reaction.

Is it?

“Is something wrong?”

Yes.

No.

“No. I’m just nervous.”

But that’s not all . . .

“That’s not everything, is it?”

Thank you.

You look wimpy. Back out, now.

“Really, I’m fine. I’m just — tired.”

That’s every girl’s excuse. You’re just drawing attention to yourself.

“No, I can tell it’s something else.”

Shut up. You’ll just make is worse.

No. I have to speak up.

“Michael?”

Good.

No, not good.

“Yes, Jessica?”

This is your last chance. Stop, now.

” . . . Jessica?”

“I like that tie on you.”

“Oh . . . thanks.”

Good. Wouldn’t want you to look weak, now would we?

Now would we?

No. We wouldn’t.

******

Author’s Note: The title of Voices is in reference to the voices that plague everyone’s minds at one time or another, good and bad. In this particular piece, a girlfriend is having self-doubt before visiting her boyfriend’s parents. The voices in her head are at war, optimist and pessimist. I was inspired by my own self-doubts and used it as inspiration. I wanted to convey the difficulties teenagers face when accepting themselves and incorporating a simplistic writing style to convey feelings, actions, and emotions. Take note that the italicized voice (optimist) always refers to the girl as ‘I,’ ‘me,’ or ‘we.’ The bolded voice (pessimist) refers to the girl as ‘you.’ I wanted to convey the feeling that the italicized is siding with the girl and her feelings, attempting to protect her. The bolded voice is on the offensive, attacking her self-esteem and attempting to isolate her. The ending is sadly how many of these inner-voice battles end with people today, concealing their inner emotions rather than allowing them to be revealed and asking for help. 

Little bit of a different post today, but hope you enjoyed all the same!

— J. L. Willow

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