WINNER of the Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest 2/14/2020

Roses are red, violets are purple, and first loves are a reason to give up on poetry and wait for 50% off chocolates… But, who among these nostalgic poets deserves the first box?

This week’s winner is:

Playground

by Bryntin

I watch you at play time
good on the hopscotch or having a climb
I wonder if we could perhaps have a kiss?
although I’m not really ready for having kids

can you tell me why you girls wear skirts?
and why they call them a blouse and not shirts?
I have lots of questions for girls, you see
and you are one, so that’s alright for me

so I think, for you, I’ve got the hots
even though you have got lots of spots
would you like a share of my gum
that I’ve kept stuck up under my desk?

one thing I’d like to know about you
do you support Liverpool or Man U?
if it’s the Mancs we’ll have to part
I’ll ask Helen instead, she’s a right Scouse tart

Congratulations, Bryntin! You are the most terrible poet of the week!

As usual, everyone’s entries were painful to read. I groaned, cringed, and nearly cried. To help narrow results, I decided to be a stickler for the rules posted and consider those poems that seemed to come from a younger person writing to his/her first crush.

Bryntin’s poem, overall, kept this tone. It sounded like the sort of terrible composition one might put together for an early love. It speaks of hope, love, sports, and curiosity. Well done.

As to the rest, I sincerely hope your past crush never finds and reads these:

Awkward First Crush

by Deb Whittam

I saw you kissing her today,
Yup my best friends, but I know
I’ll forgive you, for you are it,
The one, my love, Ok you’ve
Never spoken to me but
When you do you’ll realize
We’re meant to be together like
Paper and pen,
Sneakers and chewing gum,
Young love and desire.
‘Til then I’ll wait and talk to my
Her, she loves to gossip.

—–

Love Sick

by Annette Rochelle Aben

They tell me not to fall for you
But you’re fine as wine and I wish you were two
My insides are so confused too
Kinda of like, but sorta not, having the stomach flu

©2020 Annette Rochelle Aben

—–

Is This Love?

by Lucy

Your eyes,
Your hair,
Your cheeks,
Your stare.
Fart jokes and burps,
Spitting and slurps,
What’s a girl to do
But sigh, and bury
All those touchy feelings
Those horrible feelings
Those—Oh, wait, another fart joke.
Marvelous, you. Oh, marvelous.
I laugh, we curse,
Smile, we converse
About everything and nothing
Five second rule,
Doesn’t matter. You watch your friend
Hit his head in the locker.
Not a shocker. You laugh,
I roll my eyes, my heart stutters,
Am I in love? Is that what this is?
You wiggle your fingers
You walk like a caveman
With his mouth busted in
By his stupid hands.
Why do boys do stupid things?
Well, they’re boys.
You talk to me,
I say something,
You say something,
Conversation—is that what that is?
Are we talking?
Is this real or a dream?
(Oh god I hope it’s real, please be real)
I remember when I came to your birthday party
and you invited me over to sit with you
and I died. Well it would be more memorable if I did die,
So, I guess I didn’t?
And you turn to me so often
Another fart joke
Diarrhea, the squirts, the squirts,
The worst, the worst. Why does my heart flutter?
Oh, and I returned a pencil that wasn’t yours,
You were confused about that
But I insisted.
I wanted to smack you in the head with my math book,
But that smile made me take another look.
Maybe I’d hit your friend.
And you’d be okay with that, I think,
Because why not, he needs it more than you do.
You flap your hands around
Make a diarrhea sound
From your lips
And then you farted,
Your friend farted,
We all died inside
As the teacher ran to get Febreze;
It was like tear gas, and eggs
In some jelly of horse farts
And sewage from a donkey. I like you, okay?
You’re so weird,
And then I don’t like you. It’s weird.
You’re weird. I’m weird.
So I say nothing and keep this to myself.
My heart sunk when you said you didn’t know what
To do if someone had a crush on you.
Well, I’m right here, darlin’.

But I wouldn’t say that,
So I just nod and agree,
Pretend we understand the world
When we can’t, and alright,
I just, I just like you
Even though your farts are often
And might make me dive in a coffin.

Also P.S.
Roses are red
Violets are blue
I really like you
You have tp on your shoe.

—–

My first crush

by Bruce Goodman

You came to help me milk the cows in the cow shed.
We were too busy so nothing much was said.
You called them “dingly-dangly bits”;
I called them “tits”.
(I’m talking about the cow).

My sister said it was unnecessary to do my hair
Before I milked the cows; the cows wouldn’t care.
But I told her there’s someone I’m trying to impress
And it wasn’t Bess.
(Bess was the name of one of the cows).

Anyway you went on to higher things and wealth
And I was left pulling the dingly-dangly bits by myself.
You’ll never know that I had a crush on you
Standing like a goddess amongst the cow poo.

—–

Before and After

by Michael B. Fishman

12/20/63
Dear Miss Peterson,
I love you. You are pretty and you are nice.
I like when you smile at me when I say something in class.
I don’t like when we get homework in school
but I don’t get mad when you give us homework because you are cool.
Thank you for being my teacher and for being pretty and for smiling a lot.
I hope you have a nice Christmas vacation.

01/07/64
Dear Mrs. Kinney,
I wasn’t really sure what it meant when you said you got married
or why your name was changed so when I got home from school
yesterday I asked my mom. She told me all about it and I don’t think
you are very nice. I wouldn’t do that to someone. I don’t love you
anymore and please do not give us kids any more homework.

—–

Brut and Bali Hai

by The Abject Muse

Sometimes when I miss you bad

and I’m feeling really sad

I hitch a ride and go downtown

to the drugstore.

I wander the aisles

until I find, the scent of Brut

so sweet, so fine.

I take a sniff & close my eyes.

I remember your lips

the way they feel

so hot and so unreal

I get a sort of contact high

Cuz you’ve been sipping Bali Hai.

The magical wine

that’s yours & mine

and makes me feel not shy.

I pray to God for me you’ll wait

for the day your friends can’t call me jailbait.

Do you love me, or love me not?

I hope you do because you’re hot.

—–

The Girl With the Cat-eyed Glasses

by Trent McDonald

The girl with the cat-eyed glasses
Stopped by today
Ancient beauty!
Her friend played a folk song
On a guitar
They all sang along
She smiled
Her teenage smile
Full of age and grace
At me
She laughed
At my stuttered joke
For a minute I held her huge hand
In my tiny one
I wished I could leave
On a jetplane
With the girl
With the cat-eyed glasses
*
True story. I always liked older girls. I was 5 and she was 17, you know what I mean? Strangely enough, teenage kids from my parents church would stop by, play a few folk songs and then leave. The girl with the cat-eyed glasses stopped over on her way to the prom and told me she was dressed up because we were getting married. “But I’m too young to marry!” the 4 or 5 Trent protested. She actually wrote an essay about me for her English class. And received an A. My mom still has it. Ah, the girl with the cat-eyed glasses….

—–

i was 5 and she was 6

by Matt Snyder

shall we ?
i grabbed wendy’s hand
we whistfully whisked ourselves down to the nighborhood school playground
look the monkey bars meant for monkeying around
so we did

kiss her, they yelled
kiss her on the lips, they teased
wendy and i just wanted play
play on the monkey bars that day

i was pushed and goaded
go on they said and do the deed
so i pressed both lips boldly against her cheek

they just laughed
no, on the lips the older girl yelled
a real kiss they all squeeled
so we did
then ran home crying as fast as we could
because not all first kisses are always
so good

—–

Downstairs

by Matt Snyder

Wendy i love thee let me count the ways
one, i have liked you since i was 5 maybe even before
we played and played house and with fisher price little people
till we couldn’t play no more
two your bunny thumper is cool thanks for letting me pet him
if we could try some of our own heavy petting (whatever that means)
3 i love your smile and the way you move
and then when we were in the playroom playing lights off lights on
you show me yours I’ll show you mine
till you mom told us to stop turning the lights on and off
but it’s those three
Wendy
in how i love thee

—–

Dear Miss Flanagan

by Doug Jacquier

I love your sunburnt brown pretty freckles

And your shiny beautiful cute red hair

And your green eyes (sorry if their there not green)

You look just like that film star (can’t remember her name but she’s really pretty, like Doris Day but not her)

I know you catch me staring

And I can’t help going red

Please don’t marry drippy Mr. Smith

Wait for me to catch up.

Sined
You Know Who

PS – There really was a Miss Flanagan upon whom I had the biggest crush imaginable and, yes, she was always catching me staring and she really did marry drippy Mr. Smith and broke my heart. Of course I would never have delivered this fawning missive but I would have re-read and ‘edited’ it a lot and hoped she wouldn’t find it in the back of my exercise book.

—–

being known

by kriti

the world keeps spinning
but what are we searching for
are you the answer?

—–

Oh, Jackie

by Wordifull Melanie

Oh, Jackie
You make me happy
you don’t even have to try
i just look at you and sigh
and I really thought I’d die
when you sat across from me in the lunch room
even though you really only stopped to talk to your sister who is in my home room
when you grabbed my sandwich and took a big bite
I have to say it just felt Right
Oh, Jackie
if you’d only see
You and I are meant to be!

Jackie + Melanie = ❤

—–

To You

by Ruth Scribbles

Petunias are pink
Your brother stinks
My nose twitches
When it itches
You smell good
Be mine
Valentine

From me

—–

Untitled piece

by Gary

There’s a girl in my class so shy and so cute
She’s so clever as she can work out a cube root
She the star of athletics team and her name is Anita
Runs for the county as she is as fast as a Cheetah
One day at lunch she came over to talk
I fumbled my words and started to squawk
One hot summers day I found my voice and asked her out in the end
We became good pals but never lovers as she already had a lovely girlfriend

—–

My First Love!

by Morpethroad

Sue Dorn was more than a thorn,

Across the playground she demanded

My stare, my mouth hanging open

My best gormless look

A magnet to every boy,

Like bees round a honey pot

Like maggots hanging on her every smile.

I dreamt of her at night

My first wet dream

My first scream

What is this girl doing to me?

How to get onto her team.

—–

Thank you for entering! Happy (belated) V-Day, and an even happier Half-Priced Chocolate Day on the 15th!

Please return tomorrow, around 10:00 a.m. MST for next week’s topic.

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Bryntin: D. Wallace Peach created this graphic that you can use (if you want) for a badge of honor as the winner:

©2020 The poets and their respective poems

The Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest 2/8-2/14

Love is (still) in the air, for our 58th Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest! -For nothing says “terrible” quite like the pain and embarrassment of our very first crushes.

That’s right! I’d like every one of you to remember your First Love. What did he or she look like, smell like, eat his/her boogers like? MOST IMPORTANTLY: if you were to write that person a poem, in exactly the advanced writing abilities you had at the time, what would that poem look like?

Specifically:

  1. The Topic is an awkward first poem to your awkward first crush.
  2. I don’t know how prosaic you were then, but I’ll assume the Length will be on the shorter side. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if, like me, all of your poems took on the form Rose are red, Violets are blue…
  3. Rhyming? Maybe, maybe not. How poetic were you?
  4. Naturally, without trying, make it terrible. I want the younger version of you to read over your composition, sigh in romantic ecstasy, and imagine the love of your life rewarding your efforts with that elusive First Kiss.
  5. I’ll give Past You the benefit of the doubt and assume you’ll keep the Rating at PG or cleaner.

You have till 8:00 a.m. MST next Friday (February 14!) to submit a poem.

Use the form below if you want to be anonymous for a week.

If not, and for a more social experience, include your poem or a link to it in the comments.

Have fun!

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Photo credit: Anna Kolosyuk

Wilhelmina Winters, Ninety

At first quite nervous, Wil found a surprising level of obscurity behind the words of her story. Her audience helped as well; gasping at Carl’s stupidity, glaring at the incompetent office secretary, leaning forward when she told of reading the internet story, then bursting out in laughter at poor Carl’s panic and intentional pants-dropping.

Even Hope giggled, a sweet chirping noise that Wil suspected Hope rarely voiced.

Not everyone laughed; to her side, Stephen appeared shocked. He almost looked as though he had been the one who spilled chemicals on half his group and then exposed himself in mistake.

Reagan noticed his discomfort. “Relax, Stevie,” she drawled. She wiped at her eyes.

“Stephen,” Stephen mumbled in correction as he glanced down at his chocolate cupcake wrapper.

She laughed a snort. “No shit, Sherlock.”

“Reagan,” Hope said.

The outspoken girl turned to the much smaller, meeker one. Their eyes met before Reagan lowered hers. “Sorry, Stephen.”

Wil nearly choked. Again.

“Thanks, Reagan,” Derek said. “Hope.” He smiled. Wil realized Derek smiled to help others calm down; she wished it had that effect on her.

“So…” Art began. Most shifted to face his direction. “Why’re we meeting today?”

All eyes flitted to Derek. “Welll,” their leader answered, “Stephen and I have been talking more about our group-‘

And the name, I hope,” Reagan interjected.

“Sure,” Derek acknowledged, blinking. His confusion cleared, and he continued, “Um, so we’ve talked about why we got together as a group anyway….” His voice cracked a bit and he swallowed. His gaze shifted around the group. Reagan made a rude gesture, which startled him into a shocked expression, then a genuine smile. “Ha! Thanks, Reagan. Thing is, I think we ought to actually do something with this group.”

Stephen nodded but the others’ expressions ranged from wary to (in Wil’s case) blank.

“You mean….” his main heckler said, “…like the Girl Scouts?”

This time, even Stephen laughed.

“Actually, Reagan,” Derek said, “That’s not so far off…”

 

Continued from Eighty-Nine.
Keep reading to Ninety-One.

 

Want to start at the very beginning? It’s a very good place to start.

Wilhelmina Winters, Eighty-Nine

“Well,” Reagan greeted Wil, “It’s about time!”

Wil glanced around the blue table’s occupants in confusion but realized none of them seemed upset. In fact, several were smiling. Art laughed outright. Compared to Reagan’s laugh of earlier, his sounded from a well of authentic joy. “Relax, Wil,” he said. “No one’s mad.”

Wil tried to relax, but Reagan looked the way she’d sounded: mad at her. To Reagan’s right, Hope still smiled kindly. To Hope‘s right, Derek also smiled. Wil felt something flutter inside her and glanced in the safer direction of her clutched tray of food.

“Sorry,” she mumbled. She couldn’t help it.

Art rose and headed to another table. “You’re fine.” He grabbed a yellow chair. Carrying it and setting it between his chair and Stephen’s, he turned to Reagan and mouthed, Knock it off! Reagan rolled her eyes in response and continued the serious study of consuming her sack lunch. To Wil, Art turned halfway and gestured for her to sit. She did, sliding her food carefully onto the crowded surface.

“Maybe we’ll send Hope next time,” Derek teased.

Reagan snorted.

“You already had Hope deliver the note,” Stephen stated. His lunch was finished and he was in process of eating his dessert. Bits of chocolate cake clung to his fingertips and lip. “Did that fail?”

Reagan snorted again. “Didn’t you hear?”

“No. Hear what?”

The dramatic girl fixed him with a look. “About this morning?”

Stephen glanced around the table. The rest of his friends appeared bemused, though Wil appeared very interested in her chicken-like gravy. He shook his head in the negative, the gesture making him look like a nervous owl.

“Well!” Reagan began, in a tone of conspiracy, “This morning, right after Wil discovered her note, Ol’ Dr. L. decided to change things up in class.” She took a drink from her water bottle. Swallowed. She leaned forward a bit, then sat back up. “Actually, I think Wil should tell it.”

Wil gagged on her soggy green beans. Startled, Stephen observed Wil’s coughing and then smacked her on the back. Wil managed to wave him off and regain composure. “I…” she began, “I know Hope was there.”

The shy girl gave Wil a half-smile. “I was.” Wil sighed in relief. “But,” Hope added, “Dr. L. was in front of my view when I heard the yell.” Wil’s former optimism died.

“Yell?” Stephen asked. “Who yelled? Wil yelled?”

“No,” Wil said. “Well -maybe yes.” Everyone stared at her. She blushed. She didn’t know how she’d been talked into this but saw she couldn’t back out now. “Carl Hurn yelled. His frien- Harry yelled. That girl probably did, too.” She stirred at her stale rice with a bandaged hand. “You see: she’d just gotten our supplies from the closet and set them on her desk. Carl said something like, ‘I know what to do,’ before heading over and tripping or something and crashing right into her…”

 

Continued from Eighty-Eight.
Keep reading to Ninety.

Wilhelmina Winters, Eighty-Seven

As Reagan near-dragged Wil out of the art room and down the hallway of classrooms and lockers, Wil couldn’t help but recall Art’s tease that their helpful friend was “domineering.” She tried to get a word in, or at least a trailing sneaker. “Reagan, I-”

Drag.

“But, wait! I-”

“No time, Wil!” Yank.

Wil might have found herself in a helpless twist of clothes and backpack at the lunchroom door if, at the exact moment they passed the office, her captor had not looked back to reprimand Wil’s sluggishness. As such, neither girl anticipated the collision with the exiting boy.

“Ouch!” he said. “What the- Wil!

Wil saw Reagan’s impending curse die on her lips. “Harrison?” she said instead.

Harrison’s face clouded into a scowl. He turned to face Reagan; both she and Wil noticed his bandaged hands.

“Oh,” Reagan said. “Sorry.”

He shrugged a bit, and then had to readjust the folder and book in his arms. His face still scowled. “I don’t mind the burn.” He glanced at Wil, especially at her own, small bandages. “It’s the name.” As he saw understanding cross Reagan’s face, he said, “I’m ‘Harry.’

He turned back to Wil without waiting for a response. He smiled at her. “Hey! D’ya have my phone?”

Wil blinked to recover from his abrupt manner. She was still processing that they’d crashed and that she was not still being pulled. Her eyes focused on the white, bandaged hands before her; traveled up to Harrison’s -Harry’s- face. He had an expectant expression. He’d asked her a question, something about a phone…

“Oh!” Wil said, blushing. “Yeah! I just realized I still had it, but couldn’t remember your name-”

“Harry,” Harry said.

Wil blushed more, if possible. “Right; yeah.”

He stood, still expectant.

“Oh! The phone!” Wil tried to grab for it with her bandaged hand, causing Harry to try to help her, but they both stopped when they realized neither could grasp it.

“Erm, Reagan?” Wil asked. She looked at her friend, but Reagan seemed a little lost. She seemed to be watching something near Harry’s face, or near his startlingly-blue eyes. Wil tried again. “Reagan!”

“Hm- Yeah?” her former captor turned to Wil.

“Uh.” Wil wasn’t accustomed to a speechless Reagan, though she didn’t know the girl very well yet. Maybe her carpool neighbor was sarcastic and talkative with their lunchtime group but not anywhere else. “Could you get Harry’s phone out of my pocket and give it to him?”

Reagan blinked.

“Please?” Harry asked. His tone sounded nicer than before, but still impatient.

Reagan looked back at his eyes; nodded. She reached forward, extracted the cell phone, then gingerly slid it into the side pocket he offered.

“Thanks.” he told her. Smiling a white flash of teeth at Wil, he added, “And thank you, Wil.” He laughed. “Now, I’m gonna try to eat. See ya!” He pushed past the gaping Reagan and a few other teenagers milling around the area and headed down the stairs to the lunchroom.

Wil sighed in relief. “Well, I’m glad I got his phone back. I didn’t even know his name!” She started walking toward the stairs as well; Reagan followed. “He seems like kind of a jerk, though,” she observed.

“Who, Harriso- Harry?” Reagan sounded surprised.

 

Continued from Eighty-Six.
Keep reading to Eighty-Eight.

Wilhelmina Winters, Sixty-Nine

Wil shuffled her grilled cheese sandwich in a circle of its own dark crumbs. The action piled even more bread bits on the plate, due to how long Jakob had overcooked it. All of the sandwiches were blacker than the family preferred, but they couldn’t afford to buy another meal in replacement.

“Next time, put your phone down,” Rob had said after finding the small kitchen full of stink and smoke. Wil had just walked in and started coughing in surprise. They all heard Cynthia echo the noise from her bedroom.

“Sorry,” Jakob had provided, thus ending another of their lengthy exchanges.

Wil had then been tasked with brushing the burnt parts into the garbage. She’d only dropped one of the sandwiches in, and had managed to retrieve it before anyone noticed. To be fair, she’d then placed that sandwich on her own plate.

Perhaps that was why she wasn’t interested in eating. Then again, maybe she was worried about her mother and Dr. Sullivan’s recommendations. Or, Wil might be tired after their long day.

Her lack of appetite certainly had nothing to do with a little exchange at the playground a half hour before dinner.

“Oh!” Wil exclaimed into the silence. Her family stared at her, all raised eyebrows and questioning expressions. “Erm… I remembered some homework I had.” She looked down, blushing. Wil couldn’t lie and they all knew it. She took a hasty bite of her sandwich to avoid further questions.

Jakob drained his glass of water and wiped a sleeve across his mouth. “Welp, I do have homework. ‘Night.” He cleared his place settings and rinsed them in the sink before stacking them on the counter. His pace was quicker than Wil usually saw him move as he headed down the hall to his room.

She swallowed her stale food. “He must have a lot to get done,” she observed. Her parents shared a look she didn’t understand, then turned away from each other smiling. “What?”

Her mother’s beautiful, loving eyes met Wil’s confused pair. “Oh, Wil. I love you.”

“Well, I love you, too, but that doesn’t explain why -” Wil’s thinking finally caught up with her speaking. The way Eric had looked at her in the dark had reminded her of something, and that something had been how Jakob had stared after Reagan as they were leaving the hospital. Two and two added to four in Wil’s mind; her brother was going to chat with her older school friend, just as she’d guessed before her hasty departure from the family car.

She saw her parents exchange another amused expression.

“But… that’s not homework, either!” she managed.

Her mother turned to Wil again. “‘Either,’ hmm? So, Wil, what were you lying about?”

 

Continued from Sixty-Eight.
Keep reading to Seventy.

Wilhelmina Winters, Sixty-Eight

Wil’s tenacious grip on the slide bar slipped, as did her treadless boots on the platform. With all the grace of a surprised, screeching sloth, she tripped, fell, and slid the length of the metal slide. She landed quite solidly on the frosted wood chips and closed her eyes against the cold night sky. Perhaps, if she squeezed her lids tightly enough, Eric and the world would go away. A portal into another world might open beneath her, or a wizard would appear and –

From a distance, she thought she heard running feet. “God; are you okay?” Eric said from quite close, his concern a tad more evident in his tone than his amusement.

Wil cracked one eye open, then the other. He stood over her. What she could see of his features seemed to resolve into an anxious curiosity. His mouth appeared to twitch at the corners, but she couldn’t be sure in the dim lighting of the apartment complex.

That lighting was never luminous, and tended to turn off at important times. Her mother had said the owners were conserving energy; her father said they wanted to conserve money.

As if on cue, the lamp overhead blinked off. Wil, Eric, and the playground were plunged into darkness. Wil attempted an evasive rolling maneuver to rise, and succeeded in smacking her head against the bottom of the slide. The slide reverberated in the chill, empty air like a gong.

Shit, Wil! What -” Eric began, but broke off at the sound of Wil laughing.

She laughed and laughed. Then she cried. She laughed and cried and didn’t know why. Sitting up, she stopped at the shadowy sight of Eric standing nearby. Did he need something? She attempted to stand, and made it upright with minimal wavering. Bits of dirt and pieces of wood clung to her scarf and backside; she brushed at herself accordingly.

Eric was still there when she finished, within the reach of her arm. She’d never realized how tall he was. “What do you want?” she demanded.

He stepped back. “I, er…” His face moved in the dark, seeking an answer from his feet, the playground, and the sky. Finally settling on his gloved hands, he mumbled, “Nothing, I guess.” She watched his shoulders lift as he sighed. He shuffled his feet.

“Wellllll….” Wil couldn’t think of anything to say. She didn’t even know Eric; she just rode in his car because his mom had a vehicle everyone could fit in. None of them liked Mrs. Crandall, either; but, Wil realized, that didn’t necessarily mean Eric was anything like her.

The light a few yards down the sidewalk turned on. Her eyes flicked to it, distracted, then back to Eric. She was able to make out more of Eric’s face. He was staring down at her, and he no longer looked amused. In fact, his expression reminded Wil of someone’s she’d seen recently. She felt a light, fluttering feeling somewhere near her stomach.

“Um,” Eric raised a gloved hand and coughed a bit into it. “So -are you okay, Wil?”

She couldn’t seem to pull her eyes away from his gaze. She nodded.

“Good.” He did the cough again. “Erm. Great.”

“Miiiinaaa!” came an echoing call from down the walkways. The voice sounded like her father’s, not to mention his use of her second-most detested name.

Wil blinked, the spell broken. “I need to go.”

Eric took a turn nodding. Then he smiled a small, shy, simple smile. He looked nice in a smile, even in the semi-dark. Wil smiled in return, then pivoted and ran to her father’s voice and to their building.

Her scarf fluttered behind her, waving goodbye in the night.

 

Continued from Sixty-Seven.
Keep reading to Sixty-Nine.

Wilhelmina Winters: Thirty-Five

Wil walked slowly, her soft brown hair framing a small, pensive face. Her dark eyes, so full of the depth of life, scanned the crowd. Her slim yet graceful body moved ever forward as her peers stared in awe.

Boys watched and wanted from the corners of their eyes, as girls shot looks of envy. That purple cloak was stunning. Those boots were the height of fashion. The scarf was an expensive weave of black on black. The young woman who wore them was so naturally beautiful.

Although she tried to ignore them, Wil was conscious of the attention. Anyone would have to be. She pretended she wasn’t, however. She needed to reach her ride, and couldn’t afford distractions.

“I purchased these flowers for you,” spoke a timid young man with black, wavy hair. He offered them in a shaking hand. Wil brushed them aside, dusting petals to the floor.

A confident boy with blond hair and smoldering eyes tried to block her path. “Let’s catch a movie tonight, Wil.” He was sure to be accepted, but she dodged around his Letterman-jacketed arm.

“You’re coming to my birthday, right?” The Class President begged Wil. She approached with an anxious, artificially white smile; and left with a spoiled frown.

They sought her like hypnotized moths to a tempting flame. But, Wil’s heart-shaped face turned only one way. Her deep glance rested on only one person. Her body was drawn to only one other body.

He would be waiting, she knew, with more than flowers. He would take her somewhere better than a theater. He didn’t have birthday parties filled with fake people.

Wil whispered his name. “Derek.”

She reached the doors to outside, and pushed through them. A disappointed trail of admirers was behind her and the afternoon was before her. The shy sun illuminated her path to the idling minivan at the curb.

Even her neighbors stared as she approached, every other distraction forgotten in Wil’s presence. They shifted to give her the best seat as Wil ducked and entered the vehicle.

“How are you today, Wil?” Mrs. Crandall attempted. Wil didn’t respond, but no one expected she would.

Mrs. Crandall faced forward, appeared to watch surrounding traffic, and pulled into the familiar queue of cars heading home.

Reagan, pulling an earbud from her right ear, turned to Wil and whispered, “So, you’re part of our group now, right?”

Wil didn’t hear at first, as she slid in her seat at the sudden movement of Mrs. Crandall braking and honking.

She realized Reagan had spoken to her, and brilliantly responded, “Huh?”

“Our group,” Reagan persisted. “You got the notes. Derek said you’d find out about it after school today.” She looked at Wil’s face and raised her eyebrows expectantly.

“Oh,” Wil replied. “Um. Yeah.”

“So,” Reagan said, “Welcome.” She sat back, pushing her ear bud back in place and looking at her phone again. She had been reading it since first climbing in the van.

Wil blinked in the reality of the small cabin around her, and realized she ought to actually read what Derek had given her.

 

Continued from Thirty-Four.
Keep reading to Thirty-Six.