Alphabet Challenge / Writing

Alphabet Challenge: I is for Intimacy

Another entry to my Alphabet challenge completely thought up in the moment. Who’s surprised that I’m kinda unhappy with it? It’s actually an interesting premise, which I came up with at work and I’m sort of happy with the guys voice narrating it, though I’ve noticed I tend to make narrating characters so exceptionally bland and emotionless. I also worried that I was taking too long to set the scene again so when the reveal comes, I tried describing nothing! I gave the bare bones of what was the main hinge of the story and I’m panicking about whether that was a good thing or made this whole short redundant. Some people may even miss why this is about intimacy and I’ll only have myself to blame. Any advice is always appreciated and I live for critique. Suggestions for future letters would also be good….

The fact that this short is set in the gym is also a testament to how much time I’ve been spending in there and my friend who is also getting exceptionally buff. It was a fun environment to write about and I’ll aim to do more soon!

Here’s the transcript:

It had been one of those break ups. Screaming, yelling, picking fights and dredging up everything about each other that could possibly hurt. An arms race of words that wanted to damage and reduce the other to a sopping mess. Not my proudest moment, to be sure. I went to the gym a week or so after it really was over, licking my wounds and wanting to feel like I could do something. 

“Hey, Steve.”

I turned and saw a friend of Sarah’s, sports shirt and jogging bottoms. 

“You’re a dick” she said immediately and squeezed water from her bottle straight into my face before stalking off. If I’d already started working out, it might have been refreshing. 

I didn’t see her again until a few weeks later, she glared and I backed away from the cross-trainer. She also did weights, sometimes I’d be on a treadmill for over an hour before I could start my sets. I hate cardio.

Over the next month we essentially danced around each other. She stopped glaring at me and strangely enough a truce was formed. I knew she wouldn’t tell Sarah she was seeing me at the gym and she had no desire to move on herself so occasionally I risked a nod and sometimes I got one back. 

One day we ended up alongside each other on the treadmills, another I’d notice her working on her squats. She took longer to go up in weight than I did but she didn’t glare when I finally passed her. I started to feel sad if I didn’t see her, started to go at times when she was more likely to be there. I told myself this was a coincidence and that I wasn’t that crazy. She was struggling with her bench presses one day so I went to help. 

“Want me to spot you?” I asked

She was uncomfortable and flushed but she also glanced at the weights and nodded. She wanted to finish her set. I complimented her form during the breaks, she corrected me on my technique she’d seen the day before. We smiled. 

On her last set, the final push was a real struggle but she managed to set the bar back eventually with a grin. Sitting up, red with exertion, she panted quietly and looked amazing. I placed my hand on her shoulder to congratulate her. 

A shudder range through her and she flinched at my touch. She twisted in one motion, ripping my hand off her and facing me. She didn’t look angry though. 

She didn’t come back to the gym after that. 

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One thought on “Alphabet Challenge: I is for Intimacy

  1. Facebook was annoyingly difficult to log in so I could leave a comment.

    I like this. You do a lot with just a little. I suppose a silly comment to make as that is the whole point of these challenges. But in this one it works. You always manage to write a good last sentence. But there are also a lot of good lines that say a lot as well. “We smiled” Is my favourite.

    Starting with a fight, something emotional, brings a hint of depth to the character even if you never fully portray or explain it.

    As for next letter ideas, while J for Jealousy is a obvious cliché I’d recommend J for Juvenile.

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