Best Friends. A Challenge?

Anthony Lee Collins posted a blog post the other day titled, “curiously difficult (a writing prompt).”   It’s about writing a platonic relationship between a straight male and a straight female.  The challenge was this:

In the next thing you write (or in your work-in-progress), have a friendship between a straight man and a straight woman that does not end up in romance. And if you find it difficult, ask yourself if it is actually difficult, in life, or is it just that you’ve been told again and again how difficult it is?

I had never written a platonic relationship between a female and male.  I am conditioned to believe that best friends who are male and female should end up together.  But, I don’t think that in real life situations.  One of my good friends was a male.  We never saw each other as anything but a best friend.  Kind of like an sister/brother relationship.

So, I took the challenge posed by Anthony and wrote a flash fiction piece the same night.  (I needed something to write anyway since I have challenged myself to write 100 words a day, and since I’m in between works at the moment.)  It was oddly easy to write once the idea was planted.  Who knows?  Maybe it’s not so difficult after all?  Then again, this is flash fiction.  Not a novel-length story or movie.

So here it is.

A Different Street

It’s not the street I usually go down, but for some reason, I turned down a different road.  I wanted to quicker way home.  My day had been torturous at best.  I had slipped in a mud puddle at school, been dumped, and now, I was driving home with a tire that clunk, clunk, clunked.  I was sure my day could only get worst from here.

My phone rang on the seat beside me.  I grabbed it and answered it without thinking to look at the caller ID.

“Petey,” she cried into the phone.

Crap.  “What?”

“I’m so sorry.”

“Not now, Em.”

“But I screwed up.”

“It’s too late.”

I ended the call and tossed it on the seat beside me.   She was sobbing she was sorry when I hung up on her.   I didn’t want to hear it.  She’d made her decision.

I slammed on the brakes when a deer ran in front of my truck.  I barely missed it.  “Crap.”  I slammed my hand on the horn.  Luckily, no one was around.  Luckily, no one was around.  The road was deserted, and I was nearly home.  But dang, that’s it.  Screw it.  I turned the car around and drove back the way I came.  The tire could blow at any moment, but I didn’t care.  I had to see her.

I turned on the radio but quickly shut it off when I heard Taylor Swift.  The last thing I needed to hear was that girl singing about love or revenge.  The cluck clunk clunk was better than that.  My phone rang again, but I ignored it.  I was sure it was Emma calling to say she had screwed up in one way or another.

The drive was a quiet one, and unfortunately, I had plenty of time to think.  Finally, I pulled into Kara’s driveway.  She was lying on the ground, staring at the sky.  Her Scottie dog was perched beside and barked furiously at me as I walked towards them.  I laughed.

“Peter.”  She doesn’t even look at me.

“Kara.”

I lay down beside her.  “Heard about Emma.  Told ya.”  She laughed.

“Shut up.”

“Seriously, dude.  One week.”

“She called me and told me she screwed up.”

“Understatement of the year.”

“Whatcha lookin’ at?”

“The clouds.”

“You’re weird.”  She smiled, and I turned to face the sky.  It was a vibrant blue, and the sun shone brightly in the west as the white, marshmallow clouds wafted slowly across the sky.  Georgia, the Scottie, licked my face.  “Geez!”  I cried, and Kara laughed hysterically.

“Georgia,” she said.  After one more lick, she ran back to Kara and perched beside her again when Kara proceeded to pet her.

“What’re you gonna do now?” she asked.

“Dunno.  Got any advice?”

“Don’t go crawlin’ back like you did last time.”

“I didn’t crawl.”

“It’s unbecomin’.”

“I didn’t crawl.”

“Uh-huh.”

She was right.  I crawled back.  Didn’t know why I did it, but I couldn’t stop myself.  The girl was bad news.  Had been from the start.  But she was hot.  No denying that.

Her ponytail swung back and forth as she walked.  She had all the right curves in all the right places.  I was lucky she even gave me a second glance.  I stared and drooled for about a month before building up enough courage to ask her on a date.  I never believed there would be a second, let alone her putting the “In a relationship with Peter Grant” on facebook.   I was shocked to say the least.  Then again, I was shocked when I caught her making out with the captain of the football team three weekends later.  Yet, I forgave that, and when she wanted me back, I ran back to her, tail tucked and all.  Now, she’s dumped me again.  I don’t know who for this time.

“You’re nuts if you go back to her,” she said.

“I’m not plannin’ on it.”

“Whatever.”

I didn’t know what I was planning on, honestly.  I guessed I’d figure it out when the time came.  Kara’s phone rang, and she answered it.

After a few minutes of listening to someone, she laughed and hung up the phone.

I looked at her confused.  She was smiling.  “Who was that?”

“Your girlfriend.  She just called me a skank.”

“Lovely.”

I stared back at the sky.  “She thinks you’re cheatin’ on her with me.”  We both laughed at the absurdity of that statement.

“Can’t cheat on an ex,” I said.

“Like you even have a shot with me.”

“Shut up.”

We stared at the clouds again, as Georgia barked at a bird in the tree.  I was finally at peace.  I didn’t need Emma.  I just needed my best friend.

4 thoughts on “Best Friends. A Challenge?

  1. Cool. I’m glad you decided to run with it.

    I like the way the story emphasizes the importance of friendship. Another pet peeve of mine is the phrase “more than friends.” Being lovers is not more than friends. It _can_ be, but it can also be a lot less.

    Like

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