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Field Goal Attempt

September 17, 2010

Whoops. Just found out I somehow missed the prompt to write a pirate story. My apologies, fellow #fridayflashers! I may have to try that, though, another time… 🙂

Your diamonds have edges, Yet
Inside their ring,
A perfect semi-circle
Measures the circumference
Of your soul.
There is nothing


She studied what she’d written and frowned.

“Annie?” She squinted. It was Danny, silhouetted against the sky. The last person she wanted to see right now. She managed a smile.

His weight rocked the bench slightly as he sat down. “Still haven’t tightened the bolts, have they?” He laughed. It was their joke every time they sat at the apartment’s bus stop. Danny’s eyes rested, then passed over her notebook.

“So, where you off to?” She squirmed inside.

“Just to Emory.”

“You don’t have class.”

“No, I couldn’t study here and decided to try the library.”

He looked at her with the mock incredulity and deepened his voice. “The Library? Folks, the situation is desperate. Fourth down, thirty yards to go. What? She’s going to go for it?!”

Annie smiled. “Nope, I’m kicking the field goal. Safer.”

“Oh noooooo, knowing you, the library is definitely a risky maneuver. You hate the library.”

As the bus pulled away, Annie watched him wave from the bench. She wasn’t exactly lying. She was going to the library.


Black hair, pale skin, hazel eyes with dark circles. Not her usual type.

She leaped over the counter, threw him against the wall, ripped open his black shirt, and kissed him—hard. He spun her around, pinned her arms back, and—

Involuntary, that image. It’d flashed when she’d spied him behind the counter at Barnes & Noble for the first time.

“Hi there.” Doug smiled and tossed his cigarette to the ground. He passed Annie her old writing notebook. “Pretty good stuff there, Ann.” They crossed through the library doors together.

Really, their meetings were innocent. They went to the top floor and shared their writing. Discussed Werner Herzog. Read Artaud aloud. They’d just finished reading Beckett. Silence hung in the air.

“Do you really think the world is that bleak?” Beckett depressed her.

“I do.” He lounged back on the floor cushion. “But…what matters is that you struggle to be real. Authentic.”

She remembered the utterly affected conversations of fellow grad students. Thought ruined by theory. And there was Danny’s total lack of self-reflection. Was anyone real? Suddenly, she wanted to cry.

Doug reached for her hand. She looked at him with surprise. “Is this okay?”

She nodded, mutely.

She got home late that night. Danny had waited up, worried. Once in bed, he spooned behind her and fell instantly to sleep.


Condom aisle. Rite Aid. Annie couldn’t decide what type to get. She finally guessed and giggled, grabbing a box of Trojans, size large. She walked out in the best mood she’d been in for years.

At 7:45 that night Doug texted, “Hey, I’m here. It was 7:30, right?” Annie didn’t text him back. Instead, she sat on her bed and tumbled the box of condoms over and over in her hands. Tossed them into her backpack. Erased Doug’s number.

Three months later she brought the dented box back out. “I saw those before,” Danny said as she began to open it. “Your backpack fell off the counter a couple weeks ago and they tumbled out.”

She stopped opening the box.

“You were already rethinking our decision to have a baby, weren’t you?” They’d finally decided together the day before not to try anymore. “Trojan’s not the brand we use.” He glanced at the box, then looked directly into her eyes. The air became full. “I’ve always known I could trust you, though.” He sat back and smiled.

“Of course.” Annie, deflated, looked out the window.

12 Comments leave one →
  1. lauraeno permalink
    September 17, 2010 11:43 am

    There are so many layers to this, but the overall yearning to break out of herself screams at me. Very poignant and thought-provoking.

  2. September 17, 2010 10:31 pm

    You’ve written several flash stories about relationships. I enjoy reading them. They are so different. This relationship is complex-at least for me-and the layers give me plenty to think about. Annie seems torn trying to decide between what she wants and what she believes she wants.

    “guessed and giggled” – I like that.

    • September 18, 2010 4:40 pm

      I think the relationship is complex as well and I’d wanted the layers to express the complexity. 🙂 I also think that’s very true, about Annie. About “guess and giggled”-so glad you liked it. I think I laughed when I wrote the lines.

  3. September 18, 2010 12:16 am

    These characters feel very real to me. Nicely done.

    • September 18, 2010 4:42 pm

      Thank you, Tim. I was hoping they would feel real. You never quite know if they will “work” that way or not. 🙂

  4. September 18, 2010 12:29 am

    Complex and it felt true to life. I feel for both of them

    • September 18, 2010 4:45 pm

      Thank you! I think I feel for both of them as well. I wanted to express something of what I’ve seen of certain types of relationships in our society.

  5. September 20, 2010 2:05 pm

    I agree with the other comments. I also thought you captured what it’s like to be young, searching and unsure of who you are, and trying to define yourself within shifting relationships. I think it’s interesting that she doesn’t know what brand of condoms they use. That tells me that the relationship probably advanced physically before she was really ready to take on the responsibility for it. Great story Melissa!

    • September 21, 2010 4:46 pm

      Thanks! I find the whole issue around the condoms interesting as well. The part about not knowing which to buy came spontaneously when I was writing. I tried to leave it open, though, about who/what the condoms were for…

  6. itallmeanssomething permalink
    September 20, 2010 4:47 pm

    I love stories about relationships! Your story reminds me of one of my favorite lines from the movie Titanic- “A woman’s heart is a deep ocean of secrets.” Very well written. I look forward to reading more of your flash fiction.

    • September 21, 2010 4:47 pm

      Thank you! I feel like she’s full of secrets, too–many of which she may not even know.

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