Hello Arrowheads, and welcome back on this lovely Friday afternoon! I’m considering starting a tradition on Fridays, where I’ll post an original piece of Flash Fiction. So, without further ado, here’s “Versatile”, a story I wrote for my Creative Writing class two years ago:
Avett gave me that locket to celebrate our first year together as a couple. I remember the chain, how the clasp kept breaking every now and then, though I’d somehow managed to force the metal to bend back into shape. But, through all that weathering, Avett ended up breaking me instead. It’s funny, the one thing he promised was that he wouldn’t rush into moving on after we broke up in October. Here it is, New Year’s Eve, and I catch a glimpse of him and my replacement across the restaurant. Looks like he couldn’t even be trusted to buy a new chain for the locket after I threw it at him on our last night together. Still, that busted chain fits nicely on its new wearer: Leighton Mitchell.
You know, in an alternative universe, Leighton and I might have been friends. I didn’t know her well before all of this conspired, but by looking at her now, she still doesn’t seem like the kind of relationship wrecking skank I pictured. To be honest, she seems low maintenance-her brown hair is up in a simple bun, and she’s wearing little makeup. It would be easier to hate her if she were clinging by Avett’s side right now, but by observing them, she seems almost shy in his presence. Her legs are crossed as she peruses the menu, looking up and smiling at Avett every so often, who’s babbling on about something. Avett has always been a rambler; I heard more than my fair share of football stories in the two years we were together, though I barely understood anything he was talking about.
I stop staring long enough to take a sip of water and nibble on a breadstick, hoping that Avett’s notorious wondering eyes won’t pass in my direction. With my luck, he’ll assume I’m stalking him. To be on the safe side, as I’m here at Amici’s-notably the most romantic restaurant in town-by myself, I pull out my phone, pretending to be uninterested in the fact that the once “love of my life” has now adorned the first girl he could catch with my old locket. Good thing he didn’t have my name engraved on the locket. Instead, it reads, “A+L Forever.” Oh, how adorably versatile of him.
Out of the corner of my eye, I see a waitress return to the couple’s booth with their drinks and appetizer, which appears to be chili cheese fries. Avett’s palate has never been suited for Italian food, but he did take me here a couple of times while we were dating, for my sake. To compensate, we always ordered the fries as an appetizer, even if the gas-inducing concoction somewhat diminished the romantic atmosphere of the restaurant. Leighton doesn’t seem to mind that Avett has a tendency to smear chili on his chin. In fact, she folds her napkin and reaches across the table to delicately swipe it away. Biting my lip, I turn back to my phone.
That used to be my job. That used to by my locket. That used to be the guy I was in love with. My eyes shift downward, wanting to avoid any more flashbulb memories my ruthless mind can conjure up. Then I remember Avett taking me here for my birthday during our sophomore year of college, one of our first dates. Avett kissed me that night for the first time, across the booth, as he’s doing to Leighton right now. My peripheral vision blurs as tears of resentment fall onto the menu.
The thing is, I can’t look away. As much as I miss having those gray eyes trained on me whenever Avett and I were together, as much as I despise to admit it, he and Leighton have that glow about them, like they belong together. But… I thought we belonged together; people used to tell us as much. I watch the corners of Avett’s mouth form into a smile as he takes Leighton’s hand. Even from a distance, I recognize the formation of the words “I love you” on his lips. I’ve never known the malicious versatility of those three words until this moment.
Suddenly, I have no control of my limbs, finding myself grabbing my coat from the back of my chair and making my way toward the nearest exit. With teardrops descending down my cheeks, I train my eyes on the mahogany doors ahead of me, determined to retain what little composure I have left.
“Hey Lil, are you okay?”
Those gray eyes clash with mine on his way to the restroom. My stomach knots. I can’t even open my mouth to speak.
“Come on, Lillian. Smile. I know you still love me,” Avett offers, smirking.
He’s joking, of course. Everything’s a joke to him-a carefully thought out, comedic masterpiece that no one else anticipates. We’re always the punchline. Except now, when my fist takes control of itself again and changes the color of Avett’s right eye from gray to black. Who knew that the emotions that come with heartbreak could be so versatile?
©Allyson Kennedy, 2017. All rights reserved.
Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you enjoyed the story!