Emoji Fiction Friday!!

I see that you guys were feeling a little shy about Emoji Fiction Friday. I totally get it.

We only had one entry, but that's alright. After you see mine and what our brave soul submitted, I know you'll want to do it next week!

Here's the story from "Sarah":

Stroke, two, three, four; Inhale; stroke, two, there, four.

It had been years, but the familiar smell of chlorine enveloped him like an old friend. His arms cut through the placid water like butter. Muscle memory is an amazing thing, he thought to himself, as his arms arched over his head, water cascading back into the pool. Ever since med school started, his days in the pool became fewer and farther between. This was what he wanted. He had worked hard to get here. The nights of studying, missing parties, working two or three jobs to afford his dream, all had been building up to this point.

But the money. It always seemed to come down to money. The threatening monthly letters, the bold red print, scolding him for not taking action sooner. How could he have known what Patrick would do? When he co-signed the small business loan for Patrick’s bake shop, he thought they were forever. 14 months later, when the business failed and Patrick spiraled into depression, Michael wasn't thinking about his signature on the bank papers. 

Maybe this was why he had stopped swimming, he thought. The busy schedule was a convenient excuse, but maybe what he had been avoiding was the time to think. The what ifs always harder to digest than the what was. 


Michael made his way back to the locker room to take a shower before heading to campus. He had put Patrick back in the recesses of his mind- as far back as he could, to prevent more unwanted memories from returning. 


The 1998 Honda Civic crawled into the student lot on campus. He was late, not that anyone would notice today. He found room 118 in Hammond Hall, and slipped into place, nervously twisting the ring on his right hand. The ring he and Patrick bought on their trip to Thailand, celebrating their 2 year anniversary. Patrick. 

No. Not today. This is my day, Michael thought. I worked hard for this, I earned this. 

“Michael Edward Davis, Jr” the loudspeaker bellowed, snapping Michael back into reality. He climbed the stage to collect his diploma to the sounds of proud family and friends clapping. 

What a touching little glance into the loss of a relationship - fabulous imagery at the beginning and I loved her creativity with the use of the lock emoji as the locker room. This line was my absolute favorite: "The what ifs always harder to digest than the what was." Aside from being pleasing to the ear, it's such a true statement!

And here's mine (also, I totally broke my own rule because this is 916 words! whoops!):

Also - can I say how crazy it is that we both ended up writing stories about gay guys??

Eric looked out at the room and straightened his tie before bringing the microphone up to his mouth. "I still remember the day I met this crazy surfer boy like it was yesterday." He smiled at Keith and grabbed his hand. 

* * *

"Dude. Dude. Dude." 

Eric tried to open his eyes, but it felt like there were little anvils sitting on top of them.

"Hey man, can you hear me?"

"Yes," he croaked out.

"What? Can you hear me, man?"

He concentrated on his mouth. "Yes, I can - "

"Oh dude, that's awesome. The paramedics are on their way."

Eric tried again to open his eyes. Who was this guy? How many times could someone say dude?

"What happened?" Eric's mouth was moving a little better now, thankfully, and he was starting to open his eyes.

"Oh man, dude, it was epic. You were up on the board, and the wave was coming, and you totally road the shit out of that thing. But then it just rammed you - I didn't know it was comin' that hard. You hit your head on your board, dude. It was crazy."

The guy was waving his arms around, acting out all the different movements as he talked. He had shoulder length, tangled, brown hair and looked like he'd spent ever single hour of his life in the sun. 

Eric suddenly remembered - surf lessons. He'd been taking surf lessons. Wait. He'd been taking them with that hunky surf instructor - where was that guy?

He pressed his hands against the sand and tried to push himself up, but his head was so heavy it felt like his neck couldn't hold it. 

"Woah, dude. Woah. Wait for the paramedics."

"Where's...? Where's....?" He'd laid back against the sand. He couldn't remember the guy's name?

"Where's who? Who are you looking for, dude?"

Eric closed his eyes and tried to remember the guy's name. 


"Another surfer? It was just you and me, man. And you were killing it, man. Killing it." 

Eric opened his eyes as the guy leaning over him ran his hands through the tangled hair and the sun gleamed on his bare chest.

Oh. This was the guy.

* * * 

"Of course, even though there was no question he was gorgeous, I was a little ridiculous back then." He looked around at the crowd and noticed a few nods from his friends. 

"I was so into money and making it to the top of the ladder - I thought I was going to make partner that year, and I didn't want anything to get in the way. I could hardly see a good thing in front of me. In fact, as a few of you will remember, I tried to run away from this particular good thing." He squeezed Keith's hand. 

* * * 

"I can't just move to California, Keith. I'm not a surfer dude. I can't just be all 'this is so awesome, man. Dude, life is good.' I have a real job with real responsibilities. People are counting on me." Eric looked right past Keith at his suitcase when he was saying it. He knew it was harsh, but he also knew it was what he had to do if he wanted that partnership. 

That partnership was the key to unlocking everything he'd ever wanted. He wouldn't have to kowtow to all those asses on the 8th floor anymore. He'd be the one in charge. He'd finally be able to pay his parents back for bailing him out when he couldn't pay his student loans. There wouldn't be anything hanging over his head anymore. He'd be free. 

The little fling with Keith had been fun - flying back and forth between Malibu and New York was a blast. And yes, they'd had some amazing late night talks and he felt passionate and understood and wanted in a way he never had before. But he was never supposed to end up with a surf instructor. Not for good. You don't move across the country for a surf instructor. A professor? An accountant? An architect? Yes. Maybe even a teacher or a carpenter or something. But a surf instructor?

He grabbed his suitcase. "I'm sorry," he muttered as he walked out.

Back at the office, he couldn't focus. He sat at his desk with papers strewn all around him, and all he could think about was Keith, about the way he made him laugh, the time they spent the whole night on the beach watching the stars, the things Keith had told him about how surfing made him feel and what it was like to watch a person ride a wave for the first time. He shook his head and looked back at the papers, but all the words ran together. 

* * * 

"Getting on that plane and coming back out here was the best decision I ever made. Well, second after choosing this guy for my surf instructor." He nudged Keith with his shoulder. "He did almost kill me with a surfboard, but I suspect that was just a ploy so he would have a reason to give me mouth to mouth."

The crowd laughed and clapped, and someone started clinking a glass. "Kiss kiss kiss!" they all cheered. 

Eric wrapped his arm around Keith and laid one on him. 

Then he leaned around and whispered in his ear, "Hey dude, thanks for becoming my husband."

"Back at ya, man."

Thanks for reading, and I hope you'll join us next week. As you can see, there's no right or wrong way to do this. It's just a fun opportunity to play around with words and pictures. I think of it as the ultimate "yes, and" exercise, like in improv. You start writing, and when you come to the next emoji, you have to say "yes, and" incorporate it into the story. And maybe next time we'll do titles.