This is the piece I submitted for my final story in my writer’s workshop. I wanted to do something completely new and totally different for me. I wanted to challenge myself. I hope everyone enjoys!
Courage in Words
Aiyana closed her eyes listening to the sound of people clinking glasses, and it was beautiful. It was as if windchimes began to slowly sound around her. As she opened her dark green eyes a sadness washed over her. Looking around the table at her best friends and their significant others she could only think back about how everything continued to fall apart every time she tried. If she was honest with herself she thought she would’ve ended up with Thayer. He was sitting across from her with his goofy grin and captivating eyes that looked like the ocean. He was the boy next door. He was everything she wanted in a guy, but she could never be what he deserved. Then there was Roselen, beautiful, smart, talented at anything she tried to accomplish.
“Hey, you okay?” Thayer’s voice pulled her back to reality. He had his hand on Natasha’s shoulder and was leaning over the table trying to talk. Natasha turned her head slightly and gave a small smile in Aiyana’s direction.
“Yeah.” Aiyana gave a little shake of her head and stood upquickly jarring the other’s at the table. “I just need to go for a walk. I will be right back.” She pushed her chair in before giving a small nod of apology to everyone and turned away. Her heart tugged at her. She could never let go of the lingering feeling he knew how she felt. She never found the courage to ask. She could never talk about it. She always told everyone he was always the one to go to if they needed to know about her. He knew everything. He knew her darkest days. He knew her happiest days. All of it. Her arms wrapped around herself as she left the warmth of the barn. The beautiful twinkle lights decorated the edge of the field and the path back to the houselike small fireflies. The music faded into the background as she walked further and further away.
A few minutes later she got to the furthest edge of the field and away from the lights. As she sat watching and waiting for the easiness to wash back over her memories pulled from every corner of her mind. Her parents fighting, her sisters never keeping her close because of the age difference they treated her like a child, the phone call when her parents passed away on the back road in an accident caused by the black ice from a winter storm, and her sisters abandoning her when they realized she was old enough to take care of herself. Aiyana was never one to truly be surrounded by people after that. The bills got to be too much for upkeep so she had to sell her parent’s house. She bought a smaller one on the outskirts of town. It was much more suited to her as her own person. Small white house with dark blue shutters, decent yard with a small fence, and enough space in the driveway for her car since the garage was shoved full of memories. Every relationship to walk through her life seemed to progressively get worse until she just decided that being alone was safer. As all of these thoughts kept looping around she didn’t hear the footsteps approaching.
“So, what does a woman say to her best friend who ran off like a thief in the night at a wedding. I thought you were having a good day.” Aiyana felt her anxiety pull back into its original place tucked back in the deepest depths her mind could find. She shifted uncomfortably.
“She says, ‘Here I brought the tequila.’” Roselen laughed and pulled a cup out from under the pale blue scarf that wrapped around her. “Snow White delivers tequila. Now that is a gift all princesses should behold.”
“I figured you were having a tough time seeing him with Nat.” Aiyana choked on the booze and the burn lingered in her throat.
“I am completely fine with Nat.” She coughed a few more times trying to regain her composer. Her friend watched her closely and raised an eyebrow in suspicion.
“You might be fine with Nat, but are you fine seeing him with Nat?” The cup went back and forth a few times before it was empty and there weren’t anymore physical distractions that would work.
“He is happy.” Roselen let out a chuckle and shook her head.
“He is content. There is a difference.” Aiyana shook her head and stared back at the lights. “If you could put on your big girl panties and just tell him, we might lose Nat, but you would both be happier.”
“No.” Aiyana was dead set against any part of feelings being brought from the dark and into the light. She had tried again and again to muster the courage up and tell him the truth. She wanted him to be happy, and she wanted it to be with her. How broken she was, that wouldn’t be good for him. He might know about all of the cracks in her armor but those weren’t his cracks to fill and to try and repair.
“I told him you needed to talk. He is coming over now. I will go get us more of this.” Roselen walked away tapping her finger on the side of the cup. She leaned in close to whisper, “Just get it over with would you?” She gave a small bow and waved the cup around as she passed Thayer. His hands were in his pockets and he gave a small bow back and a chuckle along with it.
“I see the tequila fairy came early tonight.” Aiyana shrugged and glared at the “fairies” back. She was still dancing her way to the barn.
“I wouldn’t call her a fairy. She is more like a trickster. One who gives tequila to make people talk about things.” Thayer cleared his throat and she finally looked up at him. His facial features seemed even more amazing in the moonlight.
“And what things would people need to talk about.” Aiyana shrugged and couldn’t pull her gaze from his.
“Things we can’t say. Things that shouldn’t be said. All of that. The dark stuff.” Thayer moved to sit next to her and she had to move quickly so he wouldn’t sit on her dress.
“Things that we both know or things that you haven’t told me about.” Aiyana laughed and bumped her shoulder to his. The tequila kept warming her more and more as the time went on and the alcohol settled in. She felt her walls crumbling slightly and she tried to put them back, but she couldn’t.
“You know everything.” He stilled and it sent a chill through her.
“I think I do, but you never say it. So, I tend to think I am wrong.” Aiyana felt her anxiety creeping back up through the tequila. Is this her opening? Should she just say what everyone supposedly thinks? Should she prove them right? Everything about her told her to get up and walk away, but the buzz kept her in her place.
“I don’t even know where to start.” He reached for her hand and stared ahead. The touch left her skin tingling and an excitement ignited within her.
“Then let me.” She squeezed his hand giving the go ahead for him to say what he needed to. “I love Nat. I do, but there is something you need to hear. Not just listen to but hear.” They looked at each other now and she nodded waiting. It was the only movement she could make. “I remember the first day of senior year. You came outside in that light blue sundress and I felt my heart stop. I thought that was it. I mean if your heart stops you die.” They both chuckled at his nervous humor. “I knew right then it was you. I thought it would always be you. Then you never showed me anything back. I thought something would happen but it didn’t.”
“I was scared.” He held his hand up making her words stop and catch in her throat.
“I am not done.” She nodded and smirked at his set tone. “You started seeing guys who were nothing like me. I thought I was wrong. Until five years later when I went on a trip for work and came back for this wedding a week ago when Roselenpulled me aside. She started telling me everything I missed and every sign that was right in front of me.” Aiyana felt the confusion slip onto her face. “I ended things with Nat.” Aiyana pulled back in shock. “She is here to keep up appearances for now. She doesn’t know why, but when she does it won’t be pretty.” Aiyana could see Nat walking up to her and winding up her arm for a good swing. She knew this wouldn’t end well, and she knew that if she stopped herself from talking maybe this whole ordeal would shove itself back into the corners. Before she knew it her voice was soft and seemed to come from somewhere else.
“I don’t know what to say.” He squeezed her hand and let her know it was okay to take her time. “Thayer, I am not the right woman for you. I could’ve been a long time ago, but…”
“You don’t get to tell me what is right for me, but what you do get to tell me is the truth.” Silence held for the longest time and while she tried it was more than she could ever attempt to count. In those seconds she saw him. His old car. Dancing in the front seat. Them sitting in the woods on the hiking trail as she cried over lost loved ones. Them dancing at prom because neither one had a date. Saying goodbye and refusing to cry until she was alone in the car after she left him just inside the glass doors. Then it registered.
“You had a date for the prom, but you went with me didn’t you?” He smiled and looked up at the starlit sky. Her heart swelled and the rest of the tequila crashed through those walls.
“I didn’t want to go with anyone else, and I sure as hell wasn’t leaving you home alone in that house after your sisters so kindly left you behind.” She lunged at him catching him off guard. There wasn’t a weight anymore pulling her back. The words needed to be said. He needed to know. No one deserved to hear them more than the guy who picked her up and never left her on her own to fight life.
“It’s you, Thayer.”
“You’re the one who has picked me up every single time I hit bottom. You are the one who I can’t go a day without thinking about. You. I am pretty sure I love you.” He kissed her forehead and set his back against hers.
“Well, Aiyana Belle Vitalle, I am pretty sure I love you too.” Their eyes met and it seemed as if they could see where life would be taking them from that moment on. Happiness she felt pure happiness because she finally felt that she could speak the words her heart and mind needed her to express.