Flash Fiction Challenge – One really great sentence
Chuck Wendig challenged his blog readers to post “a really great sentence” last week, and this week he’s challenged us to pick someone else’s sentence and write a ~1000 story around it. I was inspired by the following sentence by Sweetsoleah (whose real name I don’t know, unfortunately) – In the aftermath he knew he had done the right thing, even though it made him the worst person on the planet. Regular readers of my blog will recognize some of the following tale from a snippet I published here last year, but when I read Sweetsoleah’s sentence, I knew my snippet had finally found a home.
“Jesus, what the hell do you want?!?!?”
He slammed on the brakes, bringing the car to a violent stop in the middle of the street and turning to glare at her in frustration. They were having the same, old, tired fight that they always had, the one where she’d disagreed with something he’d said or some decision he’d made, or some opinion he’d shared. But rather than discuss their differences calmly and rationally, it always devolved into a passionate, high-volume argument with neither side willing to budge.
Today, however, was different. It became suddenly, painfully obvious that it was never going to get any better and that their relationship was never going to get past this obstacle, this needing to be right and prove the other wrong, this refusal to “agree to disagree.” As he sat there, red-faced and impatient, waiting for her to escalate the fight, she realized with perfect crystal clarity that this was the defining moment of their relationship. A sense of palpable relief flooded over her, and she smiled to herself. Now, there was nothing to lose.
“What I want is a man who is crazy about me and isn’t afraid to say it or show it. I want a man who thinks I’m beautiful and sexy, and who tells me so. I want a man who isn’t afraid to hold my hand or put his arm around me or kiss me in public. I want a man who knew when we met that I was the one for him. I want a man who will have my back in a fight, who will defend my honor, who would take a bullet for me. I want a man who appreciates me for who I am and what I do. I want a man who doesn’t openly ogle other women in front of me. I want a man who wants to help, but doesn’t need to fix it for me. And I don’t think that’s too much to ask.” Her voice was low, perfectly even and icy calm, and it scared him worse than any of her screeched threats or hurtful insults ever had.
They stared at each other then, the latest twangy country-pop hit blaring away on his expensive after-market car stereo. An impatient toot from the elderly driver of the sensible taupe Cadillac behind them brought him back to his senses, and he gave an apologetic wave before steering the car over the curb and killing the engine. He turned to face her again, but her smug expression confirmed his suspicions. Their relationship was over. Hell, it had never really been a relationship, in any real sense of the word.
He swung open the car door and stood up, taking a moment to turn his ball cap around on his head before walking away. He wasn’t sure where he was headed, but wherever it was, it would be away from her.
In the aftermath he knew he had done the right thing, even though it made him the worst person on the planet.