If you are anything like me, you will have known nights like these. Thoughts keep you awake, your body is begging you to sleep, exhaustion is taking you down but your obstinate mind refuses to blink. Your brain will ignore the pleas of your body and calmly proceed to rip up and shred every incident and every conversation you have had during the day into tiny, tiny pieces and then surgically slice each piece into particles and quarks that can be obsessed over for the rest of the night.

I have been questioning whether I am forcing myself to be alone or if I am truly enjoying the feeling. Do I pretend I don’t care, or do I really not care? Am I cold and prickly, or warm and gooey in the middle? Am I the asshole I think I am, or am I simply pretending to be an asshole?

I take pride in my rationality. It has been my compass in every decision I have taken, and yet I have found a way to stop obsessing which had nothing to do with rationality. The only way to seek who you truly are is to look within yourself. Your subconscious mind will provide you with clarity.

When I forgot to be mindful of how I appear to other people when I sit alone in cafés for hours, I knew I was truly comfortable being alone. When I became oblivious to people’s stares and judgments instead of merely ignoring them, I knew I no longer cared. When I could walk away with tears in my eyes, I knew I was strong enough to be vulnerable.

I saw myself without a mirror. And then I closed my eyes and slept.


Denise opened her eyes, collected her thoughts for a moment, and then flung up from her bed, suddenly remembering what day it was. She hit her leg against the leg of the nightstand with a loud thump, and ignoring the all-too familiar pain, too excited to wince, she proceeded to get ready for work.

She had been waiting almost all of her 24 years to fall in love. Waiting for someone she would fall for who would then pull her right back to her feet. All her crushes had lasted only like a week till she lost interest and gave up. And then she met Neil. Handsome, charming, and sharp to think on his feet. She had seen his quick wit smartly lashing out at the client during a presentation, and she had almost drooled all over her notes. It had now been a month of shameless staring at him from behind her folder, and it was time to make a move.

She believed people only get one chance to make a good first impression, and she desperately wanted that to be a long-lasting one in his mind. She was a harsh self-critic, and she had planned down to the last detail what she would say, what kind of jokes she would tell so he’d find her funny and sexy at the same time. Tonight after work, a bunch of them had decided to go clubbing, and she politely invited him to come along. She checked herself in the full length mirror before work, and smiling, clicked a full length picture to send to her girlfriends, with the caption, “Decided to go with the black dress. Can’t go wrong with this one, right?”

She never saw him all day at work, and had begun to think he wasn’t going to turn up. She joined her colleagues and was seated comfortably at the bar with a beer in her hand, when he showed up at her side. She looked at him and smiled, and he settled into an explanation of where he was all day, which went on to his pitch to a new client. She found herself focusing on his features thinking, “He does talk a lot. I wonder if he is a romantic sensitive guy, or the type who never talks about feelings and stuff.”

At this point he seemed to look inquiringly at her so Denise gathered herself and gave an appropriate response, such as, “That’s so true.”

He looked confused and asked her again, “I’m sorry, I was asking if you wanted a drink?”

Denise blushed and answered, “Oh, I meant, yes please, thank you.” Then turned furiously red in the face and sternly told herself, “That’s strike one, not paying attention! What’s he going to think of me? And he did not even tell me how beautiful I’m looking. Strike two is it?”

He returned with her drinks and, and as rehearsed she turned the conversation to a hilarious excessive-drinking bachelorette party incident that had ended with her jumping up and running out of the club screaming as soon as the stripper started dancing. She was herself in peals of laughter with little snorts, regaling him with her ‘wild’ tale, but he barely twitched a muscle, and looked a little shocked.

Finally he smiled, and she relaxed.

“You don’t go out much, do you?” he asked, amused.

“Strike three”, her despondent brain told her as she said, “Well, I’ve been out with a lot of guys. Theoretically.”

“Theoretically? What does that even mean?”

“I’m very good at reading people and analyzing them, you see. So even though technically I’ve never been out with a guy, I can predict exactly the kind of  relationship I could have had with him!”

At this point he was staring at her like she was mad or something. Wanting to explain, she tried a different track.

“But I also read you, and I can already tell, that you and I will be very happy together. It is already the beginning of a very happy future!” She told him, smiling lovingly at him.

He stared at her, aghast, saying, “I just came here for a drink, not a date. You might have let your intent known.” Shaking his head at her, got up and left.

Dejected, she thought about her ruined evening and her date plan theory. Through the clarity of retrospect, the obvious conclusion surfaced: things don’t always turn out as planned. 


This is my response to Speakeasy’s weekly prompt, which is to write a piece in 750 words or less

(1) with some kind of reference to the media prompt, a short film by Tanmay Shah, entitled Intent, AND

(2) use the last sentence of:  “Through the clarity of retrospect, the obvious conclusion surfaced: things don’t always turn out as planned.”

This is my very first time participating in this speakeasy prompt, though I’ve read entries from the many talented writers here. Now that even Trifecta‘s closing, if I don’t start now, I may never get inspiration enough, so here I am! Decided to do a light romance-y thing for my first entry here!