Today’s daily prompt: Spinning Yarns
What makes a good storyteller, in your opinion? Are your favorite storytellers people you know or writers you admire?
Some of my favorite storytellers tell stories of their personal struggles: Holocaust survivors, residential school survivors, depression survivors, etc.
A good storyteller needs to experience pain. They need to let themselves feel pain but not let it control them in order to be able to let others experience the same feeling. I believe the sad stories are the ones that stay with us. Those are the ones that really get to us.
My short story series, inspired by NaNoWriMo/NaBloPoMo and the daily prompt.
December 4th. The first Monday of December. An empty library.
Connor was experiencing deja vu.
Sitting straight ahead of him was Samantha- green-eyed, brown ponytail, and white sweater. With a cup of coffee and a book peeping from her open bag, it was as if the last six years had never happened. It was like they didn’t skip a single day.
For some reason, Connor felt a burning sensation in his eyes. Samantha had given him her usual greeting. Why did it make him want to cry?
He could feel it deep down into his bones. Somewhere between coffee, work, and video games, there was a gaping hole that Samantha left. Those two little words seemed to fill that hole in a second.
He missed Samantha. He had been missing her for so many years and so very much.
It was like a cold water slap to the face. Samantha was the same but she looked different, prettier. Her eyes brighter, her skin glowing, her very existence blooming.
Connor tried to calm himself down, but thoughts were rushing into his head like a raging river.
Connor loved Samantha. He loved the way she sipped her coffee and typed on her laptop like the soft pitter-patter of rain. He loved the way she smirked when she knew she was right and the way her eyes would shift away awkwardly when she was wrong. He loved her ponytail, the way it flung left and right like the tail of a pony. He loved her green eyes.
He loved her before she met Eric. He loved her when they studied together at Princeton. He probably loved her back in high school when any sane seventeen-year-old boy would rather spend their mornings sleeping than sitting in an empty library. He probably loved her all the way back to elementary school when she recited that wildflower poem.
“How have you been?”
“Do you remember that poem? The one you recited back in fourth grade.”
Samantha opened her mouth and then closed it. “What?”
“You have to look at it closely to see that it is pretty. You have to look long to see that it is lovable. You are the same.”
Samantha blinked a few times before laughing. “How did you remember that?”
Connor loved the sound of her laugh. It twinkled. What kind of a person had a twinkling laugh? Only Samantha. It took him years before he could make her laugh with him.
“So, about my book-”
“Wait. I can’t do this right now. I think I’m going crazy.”
Connor actually thought he would lose his mind. He felt overwhelmed with emotions and the coffee didn’t help to control his adrenaline. He felt like he was pinched for time, like Samantha would vanish after a few more minutes. He couldn’t handle that. Samantha going away again.
Samantha reached across the table. “What’s wrong?”
Connor looked at her. He didn’t dare let her hand touch him. He just looked straight at her and he felt like he could just look at her forever.
“I love you.”
And Connor knew it right there- just from the way she scrunched up her nose- this was not going to go well.
“You love me. We haven’t talked in years, Connor.”
It was patronizing fourth grade Samantha all over again with her chin jutted upwards arrogantly and her unimpressed tone. She laid out the fact as if it was all the proof she needed to dispute this argument.
Connor still loved her. “I know. I missed you.”
She squinted at him. Connor could tell she was starting to feel uncomfortable. That observation killed him inside a little.
Samantha looked down at her coffee. “I’m with Eric.”
“He’s an asshole.”
Samantha rolled her eyes. “Just because you don’t get along with him-”
“So you love him?”
Connor remembered that time in the library when he asked her if she had substance. She sounded so certain of herself and today’s answer was no different. Samantha always answered so confidently.
But today, Connor was more certain.
“That’s bullshit. He proposed to you six years ago. Why aren’t you guys married yet?”
“We… I didn’t want to get married yet.”
Samantha had stuttered. Connor was bursting with words.
“Why not? What do you not like about him? Or actually, what do you like about him?”
“I don’t think I need to explain anything to you.”
“Really? Or do you mean you can’t explain anything to me?”
Connor could tell once again- just by the way she squinted at him- that Samantha was starting to get angry. He knew he should back off, but he couldn’t control his words from spilling out of his mouth.
“I can explain everything. I can write a whole fucking book right now about why I love you.”
Samantha stared at him as if he was crazy. He stared back at her fiercely, trying to channel all his emotions through his gaze. He wanted his feelings to reach her. He wished she would believe him.
She didn’t. “Connor, maybe you’re just feeling lonely.”
Connor felt like his eyes would bleed. “You think I’m saying this because I’m lonely?”
“Well what are you expecting me to do-”
She didn’t finish her sentence. She couldn’t.
Connor was already out the door.
He was outraged. He was furious. How dare she say that when he had taken the greatest leap of his life.
But most of all, he was sad.
To be continued…