Pen

The Best of Times Short Story Competition


Spring 2016 Results




Brkup By Txt

Copyright © Liane Young 2016


Ur dumpt

DELETE DELETE DELETE

Nah, that’s a tad harsh.

We ned 2 tak

DELETE DELETE DELETE!!!

He’d much prefer not to talk to her at all. Far better to break up by text. Kinder and all that.

Its nt u is me

Better. Chicks dig that touchy-feely stuff. Especially her. Just last week she’d been onto him to read this book, 'Eat Sleep Breathe' or something. Apparently it was about an inner journey. About needing to ‘find yourself’… Hey, wait! That’s it! He can tell her he needs to find himself! You can only find yourself if you’re alone. She’ll dig that. She’ll think he’s deep and spiritual. She’ll respect his ‘journey’ and keep her distance. Man, this is gonna be the easiest breakup on record!

Tap, tap tap… Whoooshhh!

Ping!

I ned 2 mind mslf

She almost drops her phone in the middle of dialling his number. She’s about to break up with him. She’s had enough and it’s time to end their relationship for good. They need to stop this crazy break up/ make up cycle they’d been riding for far too long. It’s toxic and had begun almost as soon as they’d hooked up in the first place. It’s getting old. And so is she. She would like to find The One. A real man, a man who wants the same things as she does, a man with whom she can share her future, a man with whom she can see herself grow old.

She stops dialling and glances at the text. It’s from him. That’s strange in itself. He’s never initiated contact after a fight before, he being too wimpy to reopen the lines of communication and offer the olive branch. He’s always left that task to her. But here he is, admitting that he needs to mind himself. Has he finally realised that his behaviour is simply unacceptable? That he’s taken her for granted and treated her poorly all this time? And in future, he’ll mind what he says? This is a breakthrough! For once, she doesn’t even mind his ridiculous habit of illegibly abbreviating words, making atrocious spelling mistakes and, worst of all, accidentally mixing up words entirely in his rush to get a text across. Most of the time she fumes as she squints at her phone, suspecting that it’d be easier to decipher ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics than a message he’s sent. But this time, it’s rather endearing. She gets his meaning clearly. He’s sorry. She’ll tell him she understands.

Tap, tap, tap… Whoooshhh!

Ping!

I understand.

Yesss! This is going well. Best keep it moving fast. He wants to collect all the things he’s left strewn around her apartment. Especially his footy jersey. There’s a game on this weekend and he wants to wear it with pride as he cheers in the stands for his team. So there’s no time to beat around the bush. He’ll tell her he needs to get his stuff.

Tap, tap, tap…Whoooshhh!

Ping!

I ned 2 gt stuft

A grin spreads across her face. He’s really on a roll putting himself down! Clearly, he’s referring to the very last thing she yelled at him yesterday evening before storming out of the unit he shares with his two mates, who’d been right there to witness the whole thing. She can even remember their amused faces as she’d furiously confronted him about forgetting their movie date… yet again. She’d waited for half an hour in front of the cinema, calling him numerous times only to get his irritating voicemail message. She knew he’d have no good excuse anyway. And, true to form, he’d been right where she’d expected him to be; sitting on the couch drinking beer and watching footy with his slacker roommates. “You need to get stuffed,” had been her parting words. She’d been very angry, after all. But, with hindsight, perhaps she’d been a little melodramatic. Words are such powerful tools. They have the ability to alter the course of an entire relationship.

She’d assumed he hadn’t even heard her final insult, as cheers from the TV indicated his team had just scored a try. But, here he is, repeating it and agreeing with her! She’s beginning to soften towards him again. She’ll let him know.

Tap, tap, tap… Whoooshhh!

Ping!

I don’t think that’s necessary!

No, no, no! She’s backtracking! This is not good. Just when he thinks he’s made a clean break, she’s having a change of heart. She doesn’t want him to take back his personal property. He can see her now, probably clutching his jersey in her hands, putting it up to her face and breathing in his manly odour, longing for his touch. There’ll be tears involved. Definitely tears. And sobs. Messy, snotty sobs all over his jersey. This is very bad. He needs to be firm. He can’t get all soft now, she’ll try to manipulate him. No; he’ll tell her he wants to move on.

Tap, tap, tap…Whoooshhh!

Ping!

I wnt 2 mov in

Oh my God!!! He really has had a glimpse at a future without her and not liked what he’s seen! This is big; it’s huge! Moving in is a symbolic step. He’s spent plenty of time at her apartment, mainly because it’s far nicer than his tiny cell, and they don’t risk getting constant interruptions from his boofhead buddies (often sans clothing). However, actually moving in means he’s ready to progress to the next phase in their relationship. Is he really ready? Or has their fight just shaken him? She doesn’t want this to be a rash decision. She has to make sure he won’t regret it once it’s done. She has to give him a chance to back out.

Tap, tap, tap… Whoooshhh!

Ping!

Are you sure you want to do this now? It’s a very big decision.

Hmm, how to read that? It sounds pretty calm. No exclamation marks or angry capital letters. Man, he wishes she could use an emoji now and then. An emoji could tell him in an instant exactly how she’s feeling. But she hates them. The way she texts really gets on his nerves. Sometimes she goes on and on like some crusty old novel, all perfect spelling and punctuation. Texting is meant to be fast and to the point. Like he has to be right now. He’ll tell her he wants to get his things out of her apartment tomorrow… oh, wait. Tomorrow’s Tuesday. Laundry day. She always does the laundry. And the ironing. He’ll miss that. Nah, he’ll wait until Wednesday to pick up his stuff. Maybe after she does all his laundry, she might even think to pack his bag too. Okay then, let’s go with Wednesday.

Tap, tap, tap… Whoooshhh!

Ping!

Very sure lets gwt wed

Let’s gwt wed? What is that suppos… Oh. My. GOD!!! Let’s get wed??? He really is serious! He really does love her! She stares at his romantic proposal, grinning again at the mistakes. He certainly is in a hurry to send this text off. He must be so desperate to begin their long and happy future together he can barely wait for his clumsy thumbs to catch up with his emotion-filled heart! Well, he’s definitely passed the test. She’s given him an out, and not only has he assured her he’s ready to move in with her, but now he wants their relationship to be official. He wants to prove that he’s committed. Still, a part of her needs to play devil’s advocate. It’s easy to get caught up in the moment. She’ll give him another chance to back out.

Tap, tap, tap… Whoooshhh!

Ping!

How do you know you won’t change your mind?

Agh! This isn’t working. She’ll keep begging and begging him to reconsider. She could keep up these texts for days. As much as he hates to do it, maybe it really is time to call her. He’ll have to be strong, though. He’ll have to stay calm and focused. He’ll try to ignore her pathetic pleading and stick to the plan. He takes a deep breath. Ugh; he seriously doesn’t wanna ring her. Maybe he should prepare her first in another text. Give her a chance to pull herself together. Yeah; good idea. He’ll tell her he’s gotta ring.

Tap, tap, tap… Whoooshhh!

Ping!

I gota ring

Oh. Wow. He’s already got a ring. He isn’t just shooting off his mouth. He’s had this worked out for some time. Perhaps it’s what caused him to forget their movie date! Yes; he’d been anxiously planning how to propose, and he’d had one beer to calm his nerves. Then his mates had joined him, plied him with another beer or two and, before you knew it, all thoughts of the movie had left his mind. She could forgive that. But, ooh an engagement ring! No, stop it! Before she starts to dream about wedding dress shopping and honeymoon locations, she’ll have to be the voice of reason. He mustn’t propose, not now. He mustn’t make declarations he’ll only want to take back. Although, would it be inappropriate to ask him to text over a pic of the ring? Just to see what cut of diamond he’s chosen… No, stop it!

Tap, tap, tap… Whoooshhh!

Ping!

Not now! It’s too soon!

Okay, I take it back, I won’t ring after all! Jeez, talk about sensitive! She’s probably too emotional right now to handle hearing his manly voice. But he can’t stop the breakup, or she’ll get her way as usual. Maybe it’s time to be a little bit cruel. Being gentle isn’t working. Maybe if she’s angry, she’ll stop pleading with him. He’ll tell her he’s already tired of her. That way, she’ll know the breakup has been coming for some time and he’s not just chucking a spew over their last fight. That oughta do the trick.

Tap, tap, tap… Whoooshhh!

Ping!

Im alrdy tied o u

He’s already tied to me! Oh, how sweet! It’s obvious what he’s implying: he’s already tied to her so tying the knot is the natural next step. What a poetic sentiment. And he’s never been one for romantic metaphors before. He’s really proving to her that he’s adamant, going out of his comfort zone. Perhaps it’s not too soon to think of marriage after all! Still, just to be safe, she’ll test him one more time.

Tap, tap, tap… Whoooshhh!

Ping!

This is all so fast. Please take a step back and reconsider. I need you to be sure before I believe it. I’m worried, darling. I know you may think you want to do this, but do you? Please ask yourself: do you really want to?

Oh, he wants to, all right! He wants to badly! You don’t know just how much I want to, babes!

Tap, tap, tap… Whoooshhh!

Ping!

I want 2 babees

She nearly faints. He wants to have her babies. Two; the same number she’d mentioned that time she’d brought up their future together. She’d told him she wanted a girl and a boy, her idea of a perfect little family unit. He’d just grunted at the time and quickly changed the subject. She’d thought he’d been scared off, that he wasn’t ready to start a family. It’s one of the reasons she wants to break up with him. But these few texts have shown how much he’s matured in what appears to be a single day. Just yesterday she’d slammed the door on him. And now… well, now they’re talking marriage and children. What more could she want?

But, hold on. Is she now the one who’s getting carried away? After all, just moments earlier, she’d had her phone in her hand ready to call him and tell him it’s over. That there’s no love left between them. These beautiful, heartfelt messages go a long way towards healing the rift that has driven them apart, but now it’s her turn to think things over carefully. If they’re to build a life together, they’ll have to start with strong foundations. They’ll have to make sure that this new determination to make it work will be successful, otherwise they’ll be regretting it before the ink on their marriage certificate is dry. And whilst it might not be very romantic to remind him of their past fights and frustrations, he needs to remember them to understand why she isn’t gushing over herself to immediately accept his proposal.

Tap, tap, tap… Whoooshhh!

Ping!

Please understand, honey. We’re great exactly the way we are. You and I know that. Can’t we stay the same for a little longer, just to make sure we don’t make a big mistake?

Remember all the things that have happened in the past.

Oh, he remembers everything, all right. How spoilt and demanding she is. Always wanting her own way. She’s a right little princess. His princess, though. His incredibly hot princess. He can still remember the very first time he set eyes on her. What a stunner. He’d never have worked up the courage to ask her out without that extra shot of tequila. Even so, he knew he was punching well above his weight. And, when she agreed! Man, that had to be one of the best days of his life. Right up there with his footy team winning the Grand Final last season. With her on his arm, he’s the envy of every man in the room. Plus, suddenly he becomes a far more attractive option to the ladies. Seeing him strutting around with her makes him hot by association. Everyone assumes there must be something special about him to be able to snag a babe like her. And the funny thing is, there isn’t. There really isn’t a thing! He isn’t rich or good looking or skilled in the bedroom. So why did she bother? Why is she bothering now? Maybe he needs to rethink this whole breakup. Give her one last chance. And, hey; if it doesn’t work out, at least he can score another girl more easily if that girl spots them together first. Once his princess goes, so does his chick magnet status. Better keep her sweet, then. Maybe tell her she’s The One. Girls dig that ‘The One’ rubbish. Okay you win, babes. You’re The One. I won’t leave you.

Tap, tap, tap… Whoooshhh!

Ping!

Ur the one I wnt lve u

Awww!!!

Tap, tap, tap… Whoooshhh!

Ping!

And you’re the one I want! Love you too!

Huhhh???