One morning Sally woke up with a piercing pain in the center of her chest. The epicenter was directly beneath her breastbone. She rubbed at the pain with one hand as she curled onto her side. She knew she wouldn’t be able to fall asleep again; it just took her longer to face the day on mornings like this.

Thousands of miles away, Liana sat in a cafe, notebook open, watching the world beyond the window transition from pale dusk to night. Glowing streetlamps burned brighter as the world turned dark. She looked down at the page she had just filled, grimacing as she sipped her espresso. Another damn page filled with this garbage.

Liana flipped back through her notebook, scanning over what she’d written in the weeks since she left Sally. This was an all-too familiar process, one that she knew she needed to undertake in order to move on, but no less infuriating. She knew that if she flipped back further, she would find flowery musings about the euphoria that had filled her while she and Sally were together.

During moments of weakness, she turned back to those pages. She could only read a few lines before an unbearable, gaping emptiness spread through her. She had to keep writing. She had to write until she understood, or until she was at peace with not understanding. This evening, the need was particularly strong, almost desperate. Lifting the pen with a sigh, she continued writing.

As Sally turned back her covers and began the slow process of leaving bed, another sharp pain struck.

4 thoughts on “traversal

  1. I like this idea because I think transformation of pain through expression doesn’t get enough credit. The parts where you say jump into her inner mind, “Another damn page filled with this garbage”, are more effective in portraying the pain that she feels than the descriptions like “She could only read a few lines before an unbearable, gaping emptiness spread through her.” Is the pain holding you back from saying it? Regardless, thank you for sharing.

  2. What I find incredible here is how it seems that at the same time Liana is writing, Sally is having these pains. Voodoo doll-like… the pen poking and prodding her body with each word scribbled.

    You also manage to capture the confusing emotions and pain experienced after a break up as well as the struggle of writing and continuing to write despite its brilliance. Thank you for sharing.

  3. You have a decent grasp of structure and form. You are able to utilize that grasp in a familiar way. You understand the basics of writing. You have a subdued way of writing. Unless someone was attentively paying attention, the story would be lost. There also seems to be a vagueness and and generality when it comes to the emotions you incorporate into your stories, leaving me with a surface investment. Not sure if it’s because of the subdued nature of your writing or if it’s because I, as a reader, personally like writing that digs.

    Therefore, I would suggest, as that kind of a reader, to add more specific detail about what is going on in the story. It would help me attach to things I would find uniquely familiar. And then engage with the story. The details would be very important to a reader like me.

    However, that would seem to undermine your subdued style of writing. So this is just something to consider if you want to write to a larger audience.

    Perhaps finding a happy medium between the subdued and the detailed.

    Word ’em up.

  4. The middle was a story all in itself, very well written and worthy of standing on its own.

    The beginning was intriguing, made even more so with the transition to “Thousands of miles away.”

    By the end, I have completely forgotten about Sally.

    Though Sally’s story makes nice book-ends, I wonder if interjecting Sally’s story two or more times in the middle would help juxtapose the two characters more.

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