My professor finished writing his “rules for writing” on the dry erase board. Advice and tips that he assured us would strengthen our writing skills. Many students were scribbling his pointers word for word, as for me; I was tapping my pen on my notebook.

1. Never start your story with the time.

2. Rely on dialogue more than exposition.

3. Use complete sentences. NO fragments.

4. Have an internal and external conflict.

5. Too much description is simply too much.

I lost interest by the fifth “rule.”

When you fail to become a published writer you teach. The man standing before us was just that, a failed writer, and a man with a terrible set of rules. You’d think he’d rethink his idea of how to write. Simply stated; the man had no style.

He continued with his list of rules, the students still scribbled away, and I sat uncomfortably in my seat.

Write a story about a couple in a destructive relationship.

I’ll write the story, but with my own rules. Breaking his rules might become a factual destructive relationship.

“She Left Late Last Night”

It’s 4:36am and her side of the bed is vacant but still warm. It took some time for my eyes to adjust, the bedroom has only one window; even during the day sunlight rarely brightened up the room. I lay awake, mind racing, throat strained. I rub my hand over the bed sheets. Still warm. She left recently. She’s gone.

For two weeks I was walking on egg shells. The change in our relationship was more than apparent. We would eat in silence, argue over menial things, and avoid each other whenever possible. I would shower an hour earlier than usual before work. If I was avoiding confrontations I was also going to avoid cold showers.

We grew up with each other. Always friends. Our families were close and joked of us being meant for each other. They were right. We grew older, grew closer, and understood each other. All of those little idiosyncratic moments were never judged because what we had together was beyond any friendship, it was love.

Her chestnut colored hair kept blowing in her face. The temperature was dropping, trees covered in frost; as cold as her demeanor. We walked up the bricked driveway and I was holding a bottle of wine. She had her arms folded. I took a breath, steam escaping, heart pounding. She had already ringed the doorbell. When I looked up her father was beaming, wearing his festive argyle sweater, holding a glass of white wine (I was sure the bottle we brought would be finished off by the end of the night), his as outstretched to greet his daughter. We shake hands. We go inside. I pour a glass of wine.

Her father tells us to get settled while he continues getting ready. Her mother isn’t around. I’m glad for the time being.

“How are you still feeling?” I ask.

“Just a migraine still,” she said tirelessly.

“Do you want some aspirin?” I ask quietly.

“No, I’d rather just be left alone right now, okay?”

“Are you sure?”

“Yeah, just for a little, alright,” she responded awkwardly.

I pour another glass of wine.”Okay, go rest.” I sip my wine.”See you when you wake up.”

She gives a slight smile, “Okay.”

She rests up until dinner was ready. I stayed in the kitchen clenching my wine glass while her mother prepared the food and utensils. She walks by her mother, gliding her hand across her shoulder, turns her face and smiles. She just awoke and still looks beautiful. We glance at each other. She turns away and returns her attention to her mother. I watch her and time slows, everything seems simpler; easier to deal with. She makes me a better person. I’m proud to call her my best friend.

Inevitability (Afterthought)

There are always signs. People don’t always see them because they are afraid of being vulnerable. They know assumptions always come with the worst confrontations, but curiosity will eventually eat at you until your perception on people will change. You start to think trust has as much value as a fixed mortgage. The problem is that you can’t always restart in life. Nothing is as simple as it might seem. Human connection and companionship might be the hardest expedition you have in life. It is only something you can learn over time. If you haven’t felt a million emotions at once you haven’t been in love. If you’ve never opened your soul to a person you haven’t been in love. If you don’t know the color of her eyes you haven’t been in love.

Her eyes are green.

I stare out the bay window in the kitchen. I look out at evergreens covered in white. The snow lightly falling is serene. The wine glass touches my lips. Her hands touch my shoulders. I turn my head and stare into her eyes. Eyes as emerald that open my soul.

It snows throughout the night.

We didn’t sleep in the same room that night. We stayed the night at her parents. The snow continued as we talked through the night. Sitting across from each other, we opened up; philosophy on life, and our personal growth. We laughed over childhood memories, awkward teenage years, how easy life was. Our versions of love were discussed, in detail, about young love and what it feels like as you mature; when becoming a better person can sometimes be selfish. It is done with the best intentions, but it still creates tensions that become even the more overwhelming.

The conversation was very honest.

That’s what a friendship brings.

Closure (Civility)

Dinner that night was welcoming. Her father and I shared glasses of scotch and discussed your average dining discussions; politics, sports, the weather. Her mother was straightening up in the kitchen. After some time I left the table to rest. We were leaving early in the morning and making our way back home. We did not talk about the previous evening or about anything on that matter. I’m guessing we both needed time to reflect.

I packed our luggage earlier in the day. Now only the bed was waiting. I got undressed and put on night clothes, slipped into bed, and cleared my mind.

Lilly didn’t tell me what time she was leaving, but she assured me that we would spend this night together.

It’s 4:36am and her side of the bed is vacant but still warm. She’s gone.

She left a letter on the night stand. I rubbed my eyes and held the paper. I sat motionless and collected my thoughts.

That was two years ago. I’ll never forget what was in the letter. I’ll never forget her emerald eyes.

Andrew, the hardest moments in life are the ones that are unpredictable. Sometimes to love someone you have to let them go. I am very glad we talked through our problems, and I was very appreciative of you being with me during the holiday. My love for you is the deepest I’ve ever known. I’ve always seen myself walking down the aisle in the most beautiful white dress. You know me better than I know myself. You are my soul mate, however, we both know that we have changed a lot over the years and are now very different. Last night I was staring at you from across the room, the smile on your face, your energy, I knew once again how I fell in love with you to begin with. I know both of our minds were on the same page concerning our breakup, but who knows, only time will tell. Until then we can let fate take its course.

Love, Lilly

I will always love her and I will always remember those emerald eyes that brought me so many fulfillments. And I agree with Lilly, fate has to take its course.

Professor, you asked for a story of a destructive relationship. I thought about that idea and wrote what I saw as something with much more meaning. The topic was too vague and I believe it can be interpreted in many ways. There are always parts in relationships that can become destructive. Emotion is not a black and white topic. Relationships require full commitment and total honesty, and that is why I wrote this paper. Even when all feels lost or emotions run high there will still be love. Sometimes something may be seen as destructive, but it is slightly more complicated, it’s more passionate. I hope this meets your requirements; it is only how I saw the topic needed to be addressed.

Sincerely, Andrew Townsend


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