Posted by on February 15, 2019

MB Dahl - Deep Water Short Story - WarriorTears splashed onto the fingerprints covering Jolie’s iphone. “What have I done?” The phone shook in her trembling hand as reality washed across her. “What was I thinking?”

Bing. A Trevor text. “What in the world are you thinking? Delete it. Delete it now before the whole school hears about it.”

Thirty seconds ago, Jolie wrote the bravest tweet she’d ever written. “Skip Warner, I love you, and it’s time for you to know.” And now, almost a minute after, regret and fear replaced bravery and bashed her self-respect to pieces.

The Lord of the RingsYou shall not pass” ringtone sounded, and Trevor’s scared hobbit face popped onto her screen. Why does he always have to call when I don’t answer his texts?

She tapped the screen, “What?” He would know she had been crying, no sense in trying to hide it.

“You’re not deleting it? You need to delete it.” She didn’t answer. He couldn’t tell her what to do. His tone softened, “Listen Jolie, I know you like the guy.”

She cleared her throat to correct him.

“Oh, excuse me. Love the guy. And besides the FACT that he’s not worthy of you. I mean, he doesn’t even know your name—”

“We were in the same study group. We did a whole project together,” she interrupted.

“Which makes the fact that he doesn’t know your name twice as bad. But besides that, let’s just put his character completely aside and assume that he has ALL those qualities on that list you made, and you’re not overlooking anything, even then declaring your love across twitter is NOT the way to go. You know that. So what’s going on?”

Jolie wiped her nose on her sleeve. Trevor waited. She could almost hear him tapping his foot. Ugh. “I just had to make a move.” The words crawled past the lump in her throat.

He stayed silent. That kind of loosened the lump. Why couldn’t he understand?

“I’m tired of sitting home alone every Saturday night and waiting for him. You said it yourself, YOLO, right? So why not? At least this way, it’s out there.”

“Yeah, it’s out there.” His voice trailed off. “I don’t know. Maybe it’s good if you don’t care what people think of you.”

“That’s right. I don’t care what they think. They’re all just too scared to stand up and be honest.”

Silence, and then he spoke again. “There is someone’s opinion you should care about, though.”

“Yours?” Her voice had more of a bite to it than she meant.

“No,” he whispered. “Yours.”

“What do you mean? I wrote it. It is my opinion.”

It took him an entire minute to respond. She watched as the numbers clicked by. “Jolie, can you honestly tell me you feel good about this? That this is you? That all you want right now is for this guy to notice you?”

“You know that’s not true.” She looked at her wall of newspaper cutouts chronicling Skip Warner’s stellar season as the Bulldog’s semi-brilliant quarterback. There was something stalkerish about it. “I want other things too.”

“What? What other things do you want?”

Nothing came immediately to mind. For the past four and a half weeks, she’d spent most of her time at football games or at places she thought he might show up. She’d even missed the special screening of The Hobbit with Trevor at the Granden.

“Did you ever even send off the application for an internship at Houghton-Mifflin?” Her silence answered him. “There’s more to you than this. That’s all I’m saying. You’re smart, pretty, funny, and have an excellent grasp of the Elvish language. And I’m pretty sure if we mentioned elves to Skip Warner, he’d only be thinking about Santa’s workshop.”

That made her smile. Trevor was right. And her life’s ambition wasn’t just to be Skip Warner’s girlfriend. But what’s been done is done. Just deleting the tweet wasn’t going to fix this. “You know deleting it isn’t going to fix this,” she muttered her thoughts.

MB Dahl - Warrior“Yeah, I’ve been thinking about that.” He switched to facetiming. “I wanted to tell you this face to face.” He kept his eyes on the camera. “I’m only hard on you because I know, I know,” he repeated, “you are deep water, fresh and swirling with life, and I hate it when you think of yourself as nothing more than Stillman’s Lake.”

“I hate that place.” She knew what he meant. Stillman’s was the perfect example of how commercialism can kill nature. Nothing but a bunch of condo’s and rich motor boats now. Sold out and used up.

“Deep water, Jolie. Don’t sell yourself short. Someone who doesn’t know your name, does not deserve you. And some impulsive tweet doesn’t define you either.”

Jolie propped the phone up and pulled her laptop over. It took three seconds to get to her Twitter feed. Ten people had already retweeted her mistake. She tapped the keys gently and pressed enter then turned the computer toward her phone and her friend.

“Check this out.” Her new tweet read, “Skip Warner, it’s time for you to know that just because you didn’t take us to state this year, it’s okay. Bulldogs got spirit.”

Trevor nodded. “That might do it. That might just do it,” he grinned. “But maybe you should add something about how not throwing interceptions and crying when you lose can build character and help Bulldogs, too.”

“Don’t be mean, now. I still like him, but you’re right, until he knows my name, he’s never going to be anything more than another motor boat skimming the surface and never seeing the treasure.”


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