“Am I really this shallow?”


Valerie and I were introduced through common friends.
I had tried the mingles and the harmonies and the matches but despite their claims, no one really caught my eye. There were nice girls. There were women wrapped in their own lives. And there was me not really sure what I was looking for.
We chose a restaurant on a crowded street; a restaurant we knew would be busy, loud, and could afford us a chance to disappear should the night go south. I got there first and sat at the bar scanning the people who came in watching for the girl my friend described. Great, she’s twenty minutes late, I bitched to myself.
She sat at the other end of the bar doing and thinking the same thing.
Awkwardly, our eyes caught one another and then we had a long distance laugh.


That was three dates ago.
“Valerie might just be the one,” I cheerfully told our friends. Encouraging smiles and comments followed.


I knew about her accident.
She didn’t talk about it, but I knew from friends it had been bad. It had been foggy, the traffic had slowed approaching a crest on the freeway, and the semi behind her didn’t see it. Weeks were spent in rehab. It was a hurt she’d rather not relive.


“You animal,” she purred as we kissed.
When she invited me to her apartment, I’ll admit I was surprised. She’d seemed so distant. I couldn’t figure out if it was me, her, or her accident. When she leaned over and kissed my lips, surprise became elation.
“I want to make love to you,” she said as she set my hand on her thigh.
And then I had to excuse myself.
Now, I find myself standing in front of the mirror questioning my own expectations.
“Seriously, Valerie is a great girl,” I tell myself in the mirror.
A fucking amputee great girl, the animal in me replies.


word count: 328

Studio 30+: hurt



Trifecta: “animal” 3rd definition: a human being considered chiefly physical or nonrational; also this nature


28 thoughts on “Expectations

    • Oddly enough, this story was inspired by my initial reaction to an amputee on a local commercial… I was wounded by my initial reaction, especially since I too am “handicapped”. Time for some personal growth…

    • For me, that’s the point of these little pieces (except the ones where I go to my happy place… teaching history). Introduce the reader to a moment in life and then let them sort out the ending based on their life experiences. Thank You!

  1. Love where you take the reader and how it completes full circle. Yes, you really are that shallow! Just wonder if Valerie would say “make love” right after purring “animal” at him? Something that struck, that’s all. Nice write and don’t forget to come back and vote!

  2. Whoa. That was unexpected. Bad time to be wondering if he’s really that shallow…
    I always like a story that circles back, too.

    I was a bit taken aback by her purring “animal”. Especially as you used the prompt perfectly in the last sentence.

    • Her purring “animal” kinda threw me too because they hadn’t really gotten down and dirty yet it seems. Like Kymm said, the prompt word works perfectly at the end. Gives it a very nice wrap up. The previous usage takes away some of the impact of the word, in my opinion.

      • I tried to imagine my self as an amputee… I was thinking that when a person loses a sense, others compensate. Would this be the same for a person who lost something physical? I figured she might be trying to compensate by being “aggressive” herself, but I didn’t see her as the kind of woman who would shout out “Screw Me Now!”, at least I hoped there’d be a bit of reticence there too. Thank you for the constructive read. It helps me become a better writer!

    • I know that the “cliff hanging” ending is poor form in writing, but, darn it, I just like leaving things up to the reader to sort out. Trying to put the reader in that place and then have them decide how they would handle the situation.

  3. Great punch in that last line butt true to life-most of us,though we may not like to admit,do cringe at “differently-abled” people-more so out of conditioning than insensitivity,.Well done!

    • I am thankful each day that my “difference” isn’t something that can be easily seen (I have a genetic disorder that is calcifying my body) but I tried to think about life with a very visible one.Thank you for your kind words

      • Oh,am so sorry to hear about your ailment-best wishes for a pain free life.You did a wonderful job of imagining -it seemed real,Bryan:-)

  4. Very nice, well-constructed story here. I like your explanation for why you had Valerie purr “You animal.” It shows an intentionality to your word choices that I really appreciate.

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