Acceptance. Short Story.

Happy St. Patrick’s day!

Hope everyone has an awesome (and safe) day!

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Haley walked slowly, lost in thought. The streets were covered in shadows distorted by the streetlights, the sky was covered with clouds, blocking the moon and stars. There was a faint chill in the air, but one that could be easily ignored. She had a lot to think about, so many decisions to make now. She wasn’t paying attention to where she was going, but she didn’t need to. She had made this journey hundreds of times throughout her life and her body knew where to go. She was completely alone on the street, but soon it would be flooded with drunks and revellers as they made their way home, she would be long gone when they arrived.

She stopped briefly at the park gate, having to pay attention as she climbed over the fence. To her left was an open gate, but that took some of the fun out of it. She landed smoothly on the other side and continued to walk, cutting through the grass, not bothering with the pathways.

The playground was as empty as she expected, she walked past the skeletal monkey bars, by the slide and finally she arrived at her destination. Haley sat on one of the swings and began to rock herself back and forth, gently swaying. Normally Brandon would meet her here, but not tonight, tonight was a night just for her. The swing creaked gently as she moved, but the sound was comforting rather than disconcerting. She had spent many nights rocking back and forth, talking to Brandon, talking to friends. It was funny how things could change so quickly.

She didn’t like the feeling in her stomach when she thought of Brandon now, hot and sick. She couldn’t believe that he proposed, what kind of idiot does that? They were only eighteen for Christ sake. She shook her head and continued to swing.

She had told him no, there was no other choice, they were far too young to be making such decisions and besides that, she knew it wouldn’t last. She was going to die soon and, a few weeks after that, so would Brandon. She didn’t know how she knew, she just did, she could sense it, ever since she was a child. It didn’t scare her or unnerve her, it was just how things were and how they’d always been.

Haley didn’t know how she was going to die and she was thankful for that, what was the point in living if everything you did was shrouded in fear? She hoped that what ever happened, it would be fast. If she hadn’t known of her impending death, she still would have turned him down. They weren’t right for each other. Sure, it was fun, but she didn’t want to spend her life with him. He had acted so hurt and surprised when she turned him down, as if it was some great shock. Perhaps that was his plan, break up with her through a failed proposal, he’d come off looking a bit off, but she’d be the bitch. That seemed slightly too devious for Brandon though, he was probably too lazy to bother with that kind of planning, hell he always left essays to the last minute. The ring looked real enough, though she knew he wouldn’t have been able to afford a real one, maybe it was just some kind of weird joke. He did have a strange sense of humour sometimes. Maybe she was supposed to just play along, but then what if he was serious? In the distance she could hear people cackling to one another, the drunks were out. It was later than she had thought. She didn’t bother standing. She didn’t want to be at home, where her parents treated her weirdly, like it was her fault that he proposed. She didn’t understand them. In some ways they were progressive, but they could be stiflingly old fashioned at times. Haley suspected that her mother regretted only having one child, that she was starting to get broody. Perhaps that was why she wanted Haley to get married, marriage equalled babies at some point. Not that that would ever happen either. She shook her head, it was silly, she should be out living, doing fun stuff and completing a bucket list or something, but she couldn’t. This all felt too important. Besides, there was always the chance she could live. It had happened once or twice. People didn’t die when she thought they would. Maybe she’d be an anomaly.

She felt strange, like she should be upset or crying or reacting in some grand way, but she didn’t feel like doing any of that. There had just been acceptance, almost instantly. Maybe she was in denial, or shock, she was just numb.

Haley stood from the swing and began the walk home, she was feeling tired now, this time she’d go through the gate.

The streets were as empty as she expected, she walked slowly, not wanting to return home, but feeling that she should. At least she wouldn’t have to face school for another few days, that would be fun. Though she could always just stop going, it wasn’t like it was going to negatively affect the rest of her life. She took a breath and smiled slightly, she could do what ever she wanted and there would be almost no consequences, at least none of importance. This was freedom, true freedom. She began to walk faster, she had little time left and there was a lot of things she wanted to do.

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About Alan James Keogh

I am a 26 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
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