The Island by Karen Schindler

I used to believe in the fairy tale romance. The happy ever after ending. But not anymore. Too many of my love affairs have ended in flames. And time after time as I sat ruminating in the hot lava and cooling magma of my hopes and dreams of true love I would vow never again to allow my heart to be turned to broken shards.

Three months ago I decided to buck the system and leave the dating pool. I decided I would turn myself to ice. I would be above it all. I would be like the Queen of England and surround myself with doting subjects so I could be FOR the people, but not need to be OF the people. I would wrap my dusty heart in a cocoon of independence and show the world that this chick didn’t need anything from anybody. She could roam the world free and be perfectly content.

So at the ripe old age of seventeen I hung up my lips.

I became stone, an island.

Now I spend my Saturday nights in the library researching mushroom forests and fairy rings.

It’s very rewarding.

And I’m learning a lot.

I just wish I could learn to be catlike. I read that in ancient Egypt they worshipped cats. Cat worship actually looks like fun. And it gives you a role model to aspire to. Cats are aloof and independent and they don’t need you for anything other than to open the can of tuna that they desire, but they’ll never thank you for doing it.

If I could just get to that feline perspective when it comes to love. The take it or leave it attitude that cats have.

But who am I kidding?

I’m a puppy. I like to have my belly rubbed. I like to be petted. I like to give and receive unconditional love and I want to jump up and lick my puppy friends on the face or anywhere else my fancy desires. I want warmth. I want that intangible something that when you feel it you know it.

You feel the juice connecting you to another being and you’re jazzed.

When you lay outside on a blanket with a new boyfriend and connect the dots on his arms with a pen, or make a wish with one of his stray eyelashes.

The rush of warmth when he tenderly pushes a lock of hair out of your eyes.

The flutter in your tummy when he looks at you and licks his lips just before he kisses you.

I want all that crap dammit.

And I don’t understand how to get it.

Maybe I just pick the wrong guys.

Or maybe it doesn’t come til later in life.

Or maybe it doesn’t exist. Maybe it’s an illusion, a slight of hand trick that the universe plays on us to keep us trying so the human race doesn’t die off.

I sat there on my cold hard chair in the nearly empty library thinking these thoughts.

That love doesn’t exist.

That romance is dead.

That good things only happen in hokey movies.

That all romance writers should die fiery deaths of horrible agony.

A single tear plopped onto the page in front of me.

“Are you ok?”

I looked up into the warm blue eyes of Jeremy. My best friend since second grade. He handed me a tissue and sat down next to me and wrapped his arm around my waist pulling me tight to his side.

“I’ve been worried about you Cal, you haven’t been yourself lately.”

I blew my nose loudly and said nothing.

“I um, that is, I mean to say…..”

I looked at Jeremy and saw that he was flushed and sweating. His hair was matted onto his forehead and I could see the pulse point in his temple throbbing.

I wondered why the heck my normally animated talkative friend was so tongue tied.

Then I had a jolt of fear.

What if something was wrong with Jeremy?

“Jeremy? Are you all right? You don’t look good and you’re stammering and sweating. Is everything all right at home?”

“Yeah, fine. Just fine. It’s just that well….um….”

He dug around in his pocket for a minute and came up with an envelope. It was creased and bedraggled and had the initials BMG scrawled in his familiar handwriting in blue felt tip across the face.

“I wanted to ask you something.”

He squirmed around in his chair for a bit and then pulled away from me.

He stood up, paced around a minute and then came back and sat down.

“Cal, I know I’m not handsome and slick like the guys you usually date, and I know that what I’m about to do might wreck our friendship, but Cal, I have to do it cause I’m crazy about you and what I wanted to ask you is will you go to the blue man group with me tonight? I’ve had the tickets for a month but was too scared to ask you. So Cal, will you? Will you go?”

“You mean like a date?”

“Yes, I mean like a date. With hand holding and maybe a kiss goodnight at the end. Like that. Like a date like that.”

I looked at my friend.

I looked into his warm hopeful eyes.

I looked at his trembling hands as they crushed the envelope with the tickets.

“Jeremy, that’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.”

His eyes welled, he looked down at his hands, his hopes dashed, his dreams shattered.

I reached out with a trembling hand and tenderly lifted his chin so I could look at his sweet familiar face.

“That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard because I’m going to kiss you right now. You don’t have to wait til we say goodnight.”

As he smiled a blazing smile, brushed the hair out of my eyes, licked his lips and leaned in to meet my kiss a tiny voice in my head said

“Well, ok, maybe some of the romance writers can live another day.”

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7 Comments to “The Island by Karen Schindler”

  1. Karen’s short story came at a good time since I didn’t feel like posting anything from my drafts…
    This is an amazing story so I thought I’d share it with you (also it’s so beautiful on it’s own, I couldn’t write this next to it).
    Hope you’ve enjoyed it, have a great weekend everyone!

    For more short stories and all the amazing content on Karen Schindler’s blog, visit:
    http://miscellaneousyammering.blogspot.com/

  2. Very very beautiful! I love romance :)

  3. Such a nice and close to life story!

  4. I could relate to it quite a bit, feels like my life is a romantic story and it’s written by Karen :)

  5. Thanks for (so sweetly) sharing my story with your readers Estrella, and thanks to Gillian, Fran and Victoria for saying they liked it.

    Hugs honey!
    Karen :0)

  6. really really nice Karen :) keep on the good work :D

  7. Thanks the author for the article, it’s great!

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