Seashells by Adam Dorsheimer

Adam Dorsheimer's character falls in love at first sight with a woman sitting on the boardwalk, but there is more than one obstacle between them.

On days like this, when the sun is lazily tucked away behind a sheet of dull, unmoving clouds and the voice of the sea is little more than a hushed whisper, I can't help but reminisce. I used to hate this kind of weather. I didn't think about God so much back then, but I couldn't shake the feeling that these days were some kind of punishment - He was ruining my day before it even began, condemning me to waste my precious youth indoors! But see, I've gotten to know Him much better in my old age, and I've come to realize that gray skies are His way of stopping time, of forcing us to reflect, to meditate, to overcome. And if He wants to go around stopping and starting time, who am I to argue?

Yes, I suppose I was impatient then, too much so for my own good. But time has a funny way of fixing that, even for me. I can look back on the folly of youth, both in myself and the people around me, with a gentle smile - never mocking, of course. I couldn't live with myself if I were to mock something so pure. From the very beginning, even when I was in the thick of it myself, I knew there was something sacred about being young, about us. And though I didn't always have a name for it, I felt it there all the same.

I'd imagine that's also why I enjoy spending so much time with Joseph. He's as close to a grandson as I'm going to get, and I've informally adopted him as such. His paternal grandparents, both old friends of mine, passed away before his birth, and his mother is more or less estranged from the rest of her family, never giving him much of an opportunity to have a relationship with anyone on her side of the family. Naturally, he doesn't know this yet - to him, I'm just another grownup, one of the endless parade of family members who comes around every once in a while to shower him with affection.

As I watch him chasing seagulls, stumbling across the sand with his wild, uncontrolled gait, I find it hard to believe that he took his first steps only a few short years ago. He edges closer to the water, and I call out to him.

"Don't go too far out now," I say. "You know it's dangerous."

In response, he begins giggling uncontrollably. His eyes betray an innocent mischief, a peculiar quality that manages to be both adorable and maddening. I sigh and gaze back out across the water, marveling at the subtle pallet of blues and grays swirling on the horizon. My mind drifts back to that day, all those years and decades ago, when I first saw her on the boardwalk - like I said, I can't help but reminisce.

I couldn't have been a day over twenty-five. As I recall, I was nervous. I'd just moved in a few days ago, leaving my hometown behind, striking out on my own - and to take my first teaching position no less! Yes, I must've been terrified. But I suppose I was also in awe; only a few hours prior, I'd never seen the ocean before, yet there I was, leaning on the wooden railing, marveling at the most profound swath of emptiness I'd ever experienced.

I shivered in spite of the afternoon sun and turned to look at the boardwalk itself, searching for some sort of a distraction. It was busy that day, as people walked side by side, talking and laughing. The walkway was lined with kitschy shops and attractions, all begging for attention amid the dense crowd. I relished in the ignorance of it all, delighted by the prospect of escaping the weight of the future bearing down on me. I must've envied them, so I got a small bag of popcorn and walked along, pretending to be like everybody else.

I carried on like that for a while, deceiving myself into thinking I was having fun, savoring the company of all the happy people. That's when I saw her.

She was sitting on a bench at the far end of the boardwalk, where it juts out over the water. Even with the distance between us, I could immediately see how gorgeous she was. She was pale, though not quite pasty, and covered by a flamboyant cloak of freckles. Her light brown hair formed meticulously shaped curls that rested upon her neck and shoulders. She glanced over her shoulder then, catching me staring at her, but I couldn't bring myself to look away. Her verdant, almost feline eyes shone like beacons against the tranquil sea.

She gave a distracted half-smile before turning back. I was too stunned to respond, spellbound by her gentle beauty. I'd seen beautiful women before, of course, but never before had I fallen so deeply and absolutely in love at a mere glance. Yet there was something about her eyes - so provocative, so fierce - that I couldn't dare to resist.

I had to talk to her; I knew I would be kicking myself forever if I let such an opportunity go to waste. I'm at a loss as to how I managed to convince myself to walk from one side of the boardwalk to the other. I was much more confident then - brash, perhaps. In fact, I'd go as far as to say that I might've been quite a nuisance at times. Despite this fact, I'd imagine that on that day my knees were a tad wobbly, my steps uncertain as I approached her.

Finally, after an indeterminate yet no doubt excruciating amount of time I stood before her. I stood silently for a moment, working up the nerve to say hello, but before I had the chance, she became aware of my presence with a slight flinch.

"Oh hello," she said. "You startled me, my mind was elsewhere. Is there something I can help you with?"

I frantically searched my mind for a response, desperate for anything to prevent me from making a fool of myself. Only then did I notice what had held her attention so deeply, as she clutched what seemed to be a notebook and pencil to her chest.

"I, well, I just wanted to see what you were drawing," I said with a stammer.

"Let me show you," she said, and patted the open seat next to her. She tucked a pencil behind her ear and turned her book towards me, revealing a detailed picture of the horizon. Even as a pencil sketch, I might've mistaken the paper for a photograph. The sun sat at the center, an empty sphere of white across the dark waters, yet what immediately caught my eye was the sky. Its gray hue was curiously comforting, as though it knew that its beauty was a modest sort and was wholly disinterested in the dramatic waves below.

"I love to draw the ocean," she said. "I guess I find it relaxing. Plus, it's good practice. Anyway, what do you think?"

"I love it," I said without hesitation.

"Really," she said, beaming.

"Absolutely. I've never seen anything like it. It's just so lifelike."

She didn't say anything, she just blushed and looked at the ground. Fearing I'd embarrassed her, I tried to change the subject.

"My name is Charlie, by the way. What's yours?"

"Rosemary," she said. "Rosemary Davis."

"Pleasure to meet you, Ms. Davis," I said, trying and failing to conceal the smile creeping across my face. Once again, I was at a loss, unsure of how I might be able to communicate with someone so beautiful, how I could even dream of bridging the distance between us. But then I remembered the bag of popcorn I clutched in my hands.

"Where are my manners - would you like some popcorn?"

"I would love some, thanks," she said with a giggle. "You're very sweet."

She took a few kernels from the bag and smiled with appreciation. Right after she'd popped them in her mouth, however, a tall, blonde man approached with two cones of cotton candy.

"Sorry it took me so long," he said, handing her one of the cones. "The line was absurd."

He bent down and gave her a kiss before turning his attention on me. "Hello, I don't believe we've met."

"Oh, how terribly rude of me. Honey, this is Charlie. Charlie, this is my fiancé."

"Theodore Burke," he said, hand outstretched. "But everybody calls me Teddy."

His eyes were an icy blue, and try as they might, they couldn't seem to convey a hint of warmth. He stared with an intensity that made my palms sweat and my heart sink. He was handsome, no doubt (to describe him as only such would be a vast understatement); but moreover, he was regal, and when I took his hand in mine, I felt as though I were in the presence of a king. I squeaked out a nervous "nice to meet you" before moving aside so he could take his seat.

He said something in a low tone that I couldn't make out, and she smiled. I was awash with embarrassment, my cheeks flushed from discomfort. I knew I had to leave before I made a fool of myself.

"It was great to meet you both," I said, slinking away. "But I'd better be on my way."

Teddy gave a dismissive wave. "Take care, Charlie."

"It was lovely to meet you too," said Rosemary.

I flashed a quick smile and hurried off, silently devastated that I might never see her again. I knew it was time to go, to cast away my distractions and return... well, not home, I suppose - my apartment wasn't yet lived-in enough to be considered my home. But I was in pain, more so than I had any right to be. Everything feels so important when you're young. Every feeling, every impulse, every fleeting thing is the end of the world. And at that moment, Rosemary was the end of mine.

My attention returns to Joseph, who is now sitting cross-legged further down the beach. His tiny arms are covered in a sparkly layer of sand as he sculpts some sort of tower. He's no longer laughing like before; all his energy is focused on the repetition of skimming the sand from the surface of the beach and adding it to the sculpture. His face reveals an intense sense of purpose, a single-minded determination to complete the sandcastle.

I watch him like this for quite some time, hypnotized by the monotony of it all. I consider going over to help him, but I know I would be unwelcome. For me to interfere with such a powerful moment could only serve to threaten its integrity. So I sit back, gazing out at the sandcastle and the sea. With each crash of the waves, I think of Rosemary, and I'm awash with the melancholic happiness of nostalgia. Perhaps I wouldn't remember that day so fondly were it not for everything that came after - or, worse yet, I may not remember anything at all! I've made eye contact with plenty of gorgeous women over the years, and I couldn't pick out a single one these days. But Rosemary was always an exception.

For some time after, my recollection is warped and sepia-colored. Even as I settled in to my new apartment and began preparing some initial lesson plans, I couldn't shake the image of her eyes. The very thought of it was scar tissue, seared into my subconscious. I thought about the day over and over, feeling her eyes beckoning me. Every now and then, Teddy would interject, a winter wind skimming the surface of my memory, and I'd try to put the whole affair out of my mind. And yet, time and again, it crept back, and I'd be standing on the boardwalk, full of butterflies and hope.

To look back on it now, it must've been debilitating and exciting, but real life pressed on without sympathy, and soon enough I was starting my teaching position. The first day was nightmarish. I never wish to relive the feeling of being the new kid in class, particularly not while also being responsible for a room full of third graders. The school, unfortunately, was little help. They gave me only a fresh copy of the daily schedule and some vague words of encouragement before showing me to my classroom. It took just about all I had not to run back home, but one bottle of wine and twelve hours of sleep later I had managed to convince myself to give it another go.

The second day was a little bit less chaotic, though I was still far from establishing any semblance of a routine. I fumbled through my lesson plans, praying that my students couldn't read the exasperation on my face. By the end of the day, I was, once again, exhausted. Luckily, on Tuesdays, the last forty minutes were dedicated to art class, so I could finally take a break. When the time came, I led my students over, worn out and impatient. Though I had a vague idea of where the art room was, I'd never been there before that day. And as soon as I walked in, I saw her.

"Ms. Davis," I said, completely taken aback.

She smiled, though she didn't address me at first, instead turning her attention to my class.

"Hi there, everyone. It's so great to see you again. Who's excited to do some painting? Let's all take our seats and we can get started."

I stood there, dumbfounded, amazed by the wonderful coincidence of it all. I was so entranced that I momentarily forgot where I was. There was no classroom, there were no students, it was just her and I, gazing at each other from opposite ends of an uncrossable gulf. Then I was filled with dread. I knew I must look like an absolute wreck, what with all the stresses of the past couple of days. I began to fidget with my hair and the buttons on my clothes, hoping to make myself at least somewhat presentable.

I'm not sure how long I stood there like that, but as soon as she managed to get all the students to work, she approached me.

"You seem like you're adjusting well."

"Oh yes, erm, thank you. I'm sorry if I seem out of sorts, I just wasn't expecting to see you here."

"I could say the same about you," she said with a soft giggle. "I'd heard we'd hired a new homeroom teacher, but I didn't know the details. It's very nice to see you again."

"Likewise," I said, returning her laugh.

The two of us stood there, looking into each other's eyes, enjoying each other's presence, and in that brief moment I felt something odd. Up until then, Rosemary had existed as more of a concept than a woman, like an impossible, unattainable dream. Even if she loved me like I loved her, she was already with a man - I'd be breaking just about every rule in the book. Yet as I stared past that freckled face, deep into those endlessly green eyes, I felt that she wanted me. I decided right then that nothing was going to stop us. If she wanted me as much as I wanted her, then rules be damned, we would make it work.

She broke eye contact first, the residue of a coy smile visible on her lips. Fearing I might come across as desperate if I lingered any longer, I took my exit.

"Well, I should be going. I certainly don't want to interrupt art class. You have a great day, Ms. Davis."

"You too, Charlie."

I left her classroom, trying (and failing, I suspect) to conceal my rosy grin as I walked down the hallway. Even today, all these years later, I can feel myself blushing at the memory. The flavor of the air at the top of the world never really leaves your mouth, no matter how much time has gone by or how much distance has been covered since. I wonder what Joseph will think about, long after I'm gone, once he's the one staring out at the vast expanse of ocean before him. What will his air taste like? Will he still smile like he did when he was young?

I hate to ask such dreadful questions on a day as nice as this, but there's not much to be done. It's impossible to keep my mind from wandering when recalling a story so bittersweet. But I deserve the suffering; it's greedy to remember only the pleasant parts of a memory. No, I've made my bed, so I suppose I ought to lie down in it.

I wish I could say that I quickly adjusted to teaching, that I came to enjoy going to work and found fulfillment at the end of every day, but I'm afraid that was not the case. No, those initial months were agony. My only bright spot was Rosemary. Every time I felt like giving up, like running back home, the thought of losing her was enough to change my mind. We began spending time together outside of art class, making a daily tradition of eating lunch in her classroom. As time went by, she started opening up to me. I learned about her childhood and her family, and how hard it was to grow up as the youngest in her family. I learned about her aspirations, her dreams of opening a gallery downtown and buying a cottage that overlooks the sea. She sang the praises of cherry pie over peach cobbler but recalled that apple pie was still her favorite. We never met outside of school - I assumed she didn't want Teddy to find out - but I felt like I knew her better than anyone.

All my misery and toil came to a head in November, when I fell ill. My principal granted me a month of sick leave, but by the time I was able to return to work the school had closed for Christmastime. I didn't hear from Rosemary for quite some time after getting sick, though she was surely quite busy with her own holiday stresses. Initially, I'd planned to go home, but by the time I felt better it was too late. So it was that I spent my first Christmas away from home feeling alone and utterly despondent.

I received her letter a couple days later, right in the middle of that brief, awkward span between Christmas and New Year's. It was an invitation to her and Teddy's annual New Year's Eve party. She'd mentioned these parties before, regaling me with amusing stories and witty anecdotes from years past. I'd all but given up on the prospect of being invited, as it seemed like an affair reserved exclusively for family and the closest of friends. Needless to say, I was ecstatic.

The next few days are a blur to me. I can hardly recall any of their events, and what does spring to mind are feelings of childish anticipation and meticulous preparation for the big night. I distinctly remember that on the day of, mere hours before the party, I spent an embarrassing amount of time in front of my bathroom mirror rehearsing what I might say to Rosemary when I saw her again. Despite all my attempts at preparation, however, there was nothing that could've served to adequately prepare me for the evening ahead.

Though it took just about every ounce of willpower I had, I arrived at the house an hour after the party started. (I suppose that even then I knew the importance of hiding my desperation.) Determined not to let my nerves get the better of me, I grabbed the brass knocker in my sweaty palm and announced myself with three tentative knocks. I then stepped back politely and waited for her to open the door. Perhaps it's because I was so lost in my thoughts before, but it was only then that I really looked at the house.

To her credit, Rosemary did mention that Teddy was employed by a rather successful firm, and I myself was aware of the influence that the Burke family held over the region, but as I stood at the entrance of their imposing, palatial estate, I couldn't help but feel that she might've downplayed their wealth somewhat. The building exuded class. I briefly felt as though I was drowning, for everything from the enormous white columns lining the porch to the elegant fountain that I'd passed on my way in illustrated a lifestyle that I could not even begin to comprehend.

Before I could agitate myself any further, the door opened halfway and I was greeted by an older gentleman. He was old - not terribly so, but enough to be almost completely bald - and was dressed in a smart blue suit.

"Hello, my name is Charlie. I'm a friend of-"

"Oh, you must be Rosemary's friend," he said, cutting me off. "Come in, come in. We've all been expecting you."

Without waiting for a response, he swung the door completely open and waved me in. The inside was just as breathtaking as outside. I tried not to allow myself to be transfixed by the grand chandelier in the foyer, nor the Persian rug that was most likely worth more than my apartment. Instead, I focused my attention on finding Rosemary. Luckily, this proved to be a rather simple task, for almost immediately after the door closed behind me, I could hear her voice towering above the others, echoing through the hall.

I wove my way through a sea of bodies, ignoring the frenzy of the party unfolding around me. The conversations were a white noise to me - all I could hear was Rosemary. I finally made my way into a sort of parlor, where I found her loudly telling a story to a small audience. Teddy was conspicuously absent from the group, and I wondered uneasily where he might be. I tried to put him out of my mind; I refused to let him stand between Rosemary and I. The second she saw me, she interrupted herself.

"Oh, Charlie. It's so nice you could make it. I hope you're well. Everyone, this is Charlie, that new third grade teacher I was telling you about."

Her voice was uncharacteristically loud, and I could smell the alcohol on her breath from a significant distance. Nevertheless, I'd forgotten how much I'd missed the sound of her voice, how wonderful it was to see my name formed on her lips.

"Hello, nice to meet you all," I said, giving a slight wave to the indifferent crowd. "And yes, I'm doing quite well. Feeling much better now."

"Yes, yes, I'd heard about that. Absolutely terrible. Well, it's great to have you back. Now, let's get you a drink."

As if on cue, a waiter in a tuxedo appeared with a glass of champagne. I took one and thanked him before turning my attention back on Rosemary. She'd launched back into her previous story, yet try as I might, I couldn't seem to focus on a word she said. I was too elated to see her again after so long.

The evening persisted in much the same fashion, with Rosemary rambling, only pausing to sip her drink. I'll admit that I also indulged a bit more than I usually do, even with it being a special occasion. The later it got, the more her audience waned, and eventually the only people around were myself and two other guests. Her words ran together more and more as the evening went on, though this could likely be attributed to my increasing drunkenness. I began to see her speech as an ornate tapestry, like one you might see in an art museum. That is to say, her voice was silky beautiful, but I couldn't derive any sort of meaning from it. Even so, my heart felt swollen in my chest, and I knew that I had to tell her how I felt.

Despite our inebriated state, I remember the rest of the evening with startling clarity. Not long before midnight, I asked Rosemary if I could speak to her in private. She agreed, taking me by the hand and leading me to a bedroom. I glanced around, keeping an eye out for any sign of Teddy, but he was nowhere to be found, and we made it into the room without interruption. My head was spinning, and I was overpowered by the scent of perfume and various types of liquor. Rather than say anything, she simply looked at me, head cocked to the side.

"Rosemary, I know this might not be the best place to do this, but I'll be kicking myself forever if I don't."

She remained silent, but her head slowly began to dip as I continued.

"I'm afraid I've fallen hopelessly in love with you. I know that you're engaged, and I can't offer you nearly what Teddy can, but from the moment I met you, I haven't been able to stop thinking about you."

Her form was now completely slumped, her shoulders bowed forward like she was trying to disappear. I thought I could hear her muttering "no, no, no" quietly to herself. But by this point, it was far too late to consider stopping.

"Not being able to see you for so long has been torturous for me, and every minute I spend away from you is painful. I want to be with you - no, I need to be with you. And I know this is terrible timing, but I needed to tell you. If I didn't, I think I might've burst."

For an awful moment, no one said anything. Finally, I broke the silence.

"Is there any chance that you feel the same?"

"Feel the same," she said, looking incredulous. "I can't... I can't believe you're doing this."

I sat back, instantly feeling a deep, burning regret penetrating my soul.

"You're in love with me? Wake up, Charlie. There's no way we could ever be together."

Her green eyes suddenly looked sharp and menacing, as though they'd contorted into a pair of emerald daggers.

"Even if Teddy and I weren't happy together, no, even if Teddy wasn't in the picture at all, I could never..."

She trailed off and I put my head in my hands. I wanted nothing more than to erase the past few minutes. But alas, Rosemary continued.

"I could never do something so... disgusting. I knew this would happen. I knew there was something wrong with the way you looked at me. But Teddy insisted on inviting you. Well, I'm done pitying you. It's time for you to get out."

I opened my mouth to respond, but found that no words would come out.

"I'm so sorry," I said finally, my voice hoarse and raspy.

"Get out," she said again, louder now.

I stood to leave, acutely aware of the weight of my decision. If I couldn't be with Rosemary, and I could no longer even consider her a friend, I knew that I would be consumed with a loneliness unlike anything I had ever experienced. Even as drunk as I was, (or, perhaps, precisely because of this) I felt like I was dying. I looked back at her one last time, and I saw tears running down her face. I sighed and left as quickly as I could, but as I opened the door I almost barreled into Teddy.

For a moment, the two of us just stood there. His face was inscrutable, and, much like the first time we met, his eyes were frigid and intense. Under other, nicer circumstances, I would've tried to meet his gaze, to show him that I would refuse to buckle under his pressure. But that night, in that culmination of my months of pain and heartbreak, I kept my eyes down, slinking past him and closing the door behind me.

I thought he would let me get away at first, let me escape the party, anguished and ashamed. I thought I could just pretend the whole thing never happened, hope that she was drunk enough for the most mortifying details to be lost. But right as I made it to the end of the hallway, he called out to me.

"We need to talk."

I stopped dead in my tracks, suddenly overcome by a sharp terror. I knew I'd made a terrible mistake, and to this day, I'm not sure how I found the strength to turn around. Yet despite all my fear, all my most basic instincts telling me to run, I turned and faced him.

"Did you hear everything," I said, practically choking on my words.

"I did."

He said nothing then, allowing his words to hang over the space between the two of us like a dense fog. After what seemed like an eternity, he continued.

"Wait for me on the porch. I'm going to call you a cab, and then we'll talk."

At first, I was confused, I felt as though I might be misunderstanding - I was still rather drunk, after all - but I didn't sense any anger from him. If anything, he struck me more as being weary. I was perplexed, but I felt my unease begin to melt away. I gave a small nod and proceeded to do as I was told.

The chilled seaside air permeated through me as I waited. I thought about everything in the world at once, although in my current state, it was all sort of fuzzy. My mind was racing, but it was racing slowly, as though upon a track made of molasses. Leaving the house made me feel a sense of detachment from it all, as though some stranger had said those things to Rosemary. When I thought about it again, it felt more like a rumor I'd been told in passing than reality.

I didn't hear Teddy coming until he was already beside me, at which point he took a seat on the porch next to me.

"It's wrong what you did, you know," he said.

I nodded, staring at the yard before me.

"Rosemary and I are in love. We're engaged to be married in the spring, and everyone is looking forward to it."

I still said nothing.

"But she didn't have to say what she did."

I looked at him now, completely taken aback by his words, and though he never looked at me directly, I saw emotion in his eyes. He appeared sad, as though he were just as sorry as I was for everything that had happened.

"She gets that way when she drinks sometimes, says some rather nasty stuff. I feel awful that you were subjected to that, and you have my sincerest apologies."

He paused and glanced up at me, but before I could respond he looked away and continued.

"Rosemary isn't always the best at making friends. She has a way with children, obviously. But when it comes to adults... well, she's never quite learned how to deal with them. She's always telling me how dull she finds my friends and my family, and she really doesn't have many friends of her own."

Finally, he looked me in the eye and took my hands in his.

"The way she talks about you is incredible. I know she loves you too, Charlie. I promise you, she does. Just not like that."

He appeared to have more to say, but the cab pulled up before he could. I still couldn't bring myself to speak to him as I climbed in. He slipped the driver a small wad of money and told him to take me back to my apartment. He closed the door behind me, not saying another word about it, but in the brief seconds before the car took me away, as he stood in the yard, a figure outlined in front of a large fountain, I could've sworn I heard him say, "I forgive you."

I close my eyes again, feeling a pain deep in my heart at the thought of it all. I still think about Teddy and Rosemary, about how they ended up. I know that Rosemary gave up teaching shortly after the wedding, instead choosing to focus on her art and, in the process, becoming an unwitting socialite. Last I'd heard, though, she'd grown tired of life in high society, and she and Teddy had moved out to the country. I was sad to see them leave. It's rare to come across such magnificent people.

I suppose Rosemary must've remembered what happened that night, but she never said anything else about it. The two of us more or less returned to business-as-usual once school resumed, albeit with a few subtle changes. We stopped upholding our tradition of eating lunch together, for instance, and our conversations had shortened more or less into mere pleasantries. I wasn't bothered by this; some awkwardness was to be expected, of course. I was comforted by the knowledge that things could've turned out so much worse. And, in fact, not all of these changes were unpleasant. Whenever Teddy and I happened to cross paths after that night, his impenetrable eyes would soften somewhat, briefly welcoming me in for a warm smile before allowing his expression to settle back into a more familiar display of cool confidence. I missed them both after they left. It's a real shame we didn't stay in touch.

I open my eyes, and I see that the sun has begun to peek through the clouds. I love the way its rays are shimmering on the surface of the sea, as though they're dipping their toes in the water, testing to see if it's safe to come out. I'm certainly happy to see it; after all, it was polite enough to wait until I'd finished telling my story!

The scene before me reminds me of Rosemary's drawing, and I feel a pleasant wave of serenity wash over my mind. As I gaze out across the ocean, I become aware that Joseph is calling for me.

"Grandma! Grandma!"

He's running towards me, cupping something in his hands.

"Look at my shesells," he says, revealing an enormous collection of seashells.

I'm immediately filled with a powerful, all-consuming warmth. I adore this boy more than I could ever hope to express.

"Wow, those are really beautiful," I say.

"Can you help me put them on my castle?"

"Absolutely," I say. "I would love nothing more."


  1. Beautiful imagery. I was surprised at how much the ending caught me off guard. Completely changes the context of the story!

  2. Great ending! I was in limbo until the ending, wondering why Teddy would treat him that way, but I didn't suspect the ending at all. Nicely done. Also, I liked the imagery, and the idea that God could stop time.

  3. I guessed it (but only because I read the comments and knew there was a surprise at the end). Well written story. Excellent job of describing and setting up some very difficult emotions like attraction and love. Thanks for sharing your story with us.

  4. What a charmingly unexpected ending. I usually sense these twists coming on but had no idea this time. Great story, well-written and powerfully emotional.

  5. Thank you all so much for your comments! I'm really glad that you liked the story!