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Crumpled: My first short story

Tomorrow- 15 December, 2020. Tomorrow would be the day when it would all be alright. The day which would be embedded in my memory forever. The day I got married.

As soon as I got home, my best friend Tina called me. “Are the preparations all in place?” she asked, before I could even open my mouth to say hello. “Yes, don’t worry” I replied. Tina had been a sort of a best friend-mother combination for me ever since my parents died in a car crash 8 years ago, leaving me alone at the age of 17. Since then, I have had no one but Tina, who is just 3 years older than me but still acts like my mother. However, when Aaron walked into my life a couple of years ago, it felt as if I had been reborn into a new life. We got along well despite being polar opposites and he made me laugh all the time. He somehow knew my mood even before I opened my mouth. He was my kindred spirit, my Fae mate. And before I knew it I had fallen in love with him.
“Hello? Hello? Isla, are you there?” Tina spoke into my ear, pulling me out of my reverie. “Yes, yes I am there.” I replied. “Then why weren’t you answering me? Lost in thoughts of Aaron?” I blushed and changed the topic.

That night Aaron called me. I blushed (something I had been doing quite often for the past two weeks) and picked it up. “Hey Isla, I need to talk to you about something.” he said in a very solemn voice. “Yeah, what’s up?” “I cannot marry you.” I startled and spoke into the phone “What do you mean?” “There is someone else I met- Chloe and I think I love her more than I love you.” “What do you mean Aaron? When did you meet her?” “A couple of weeks ago…” “And you are just going to put those two weeks above our two years?!” “Isla… I am genuinely sorry. But I cannot commit the mistake of marrying you only to regret it later.” “Alright Aaron, I am done talking about this.” and I cut the phone before he could say anything else and burst into tears. The next chain of moments was a blur. I cannot begin to describe the shock and betrayal I had felt at his harsh, bitter words. I felt like strangling someone and the victim was a pillow that lay innocently on my bed. I dialed Tina’s number and slumped in my bed.
Thankfully, Tina picked the phone up immediately. She sounded sleepy but once I began to recount the incidents that had taken place she alerted. Once I finished, she was silent for a moment and then she said, “I am so sorry Isla. You were the last person to whom this should have happened. But right now, the first thing we should do is email the guests and let them know that the wedding is cancelled. ” “Yes, yes you are absolutely right. I will get to it straight away” “No, I am coming over and doing that.” I drafted the email and let all the guests know that the wedding was not happening anymore. There weren’t many people we had invited as both of us didn’t have any close relatives. This also served as the brutal yet realistic reminder that I wasn’t getting married anymore.

The next morning, Tina came to my home.
“How are you doing?” “I am fine… I honestly don’t want to talk about this anymore.” “You cannot shut me out Isla.” “I am not shutting you out! I just don’t want to talk about it anymore.” “Alright, but you have a back in case you want to talk about it to someone.” “Yeah I know Tina.” Tina continued working on something on her laptop meanwhile I sorted the mess that my house had become thanks to the wedding.

While I chipped away the now-useless stuff, I pondered upon what I would do now. I had submitted my resignation letter at the firm I used to work for two weeks ago and even though they had been reluctant to let me go, they had found a replacement for me. That was when I decided- I would start my own firm. I knew it wouldn’t be hard for me to find another job but I also knew that if I didn’t try my hand now, I wouldn’t be able to later. Moreover, my mind would be so preoccupied that I wouldn’t have time to think about my oh-so-miserable and crumpled-and-thrown-away-like-a-piece-of-paper life.
I told Tina my plan and she wasn’t convinced. “What would the firm be about?” she demanded. “Well, it would be a haven for readers- Authors put in so much money in publishing and advertising books but the best way to advertise them is by giving a lot of ARCs to readers and paying them to review it. This way, if the book is genuinely good, so many readers will advertise it.” “Well, what would the difference between you and any normal publishing house?” The fact that readers can make a living out of doing the thing they love.” “Huh, that is a good idea. Where would you gather the funds to start the firm?” “I have some savings and a little left of the college fund mum and dad left me.” “Alright, fine, go ahead.” “Thank you!” I squealed and hugged her.

The next few months were perhaps the busiest in my life. I worked day and night to make the firm work… and it did. Business was booming as the authors were loving this idea. Meanwhile, the pain subsided. There were hours, sometimes days when I would forget about Aaron. Maybe, my crumpled-like-a-paper life was finally straightening out.

It had been four years since Aaron dumped me. I had moved forward and my firm- Haven for Readers was progressing swiftly. Tina had married and was living with her extremely sweet husband- Dave. I had decided that dogs are much much better than humans and brought home a golden retriever Vincent. I had a little space made for him in the office of Haven for Readers and he used to be there with me the entire day.

On 17 January, 2025, I received a call from an unknown number. This was not uncommon and I picked it up. It was the next few words that tumbled out of the caller that astounded me- I had been awarded the Young Businesswoman of the Year award 2024.

The award ceremony was on 31 January. I was to give a speech and was allowed to bring two people with me to the award ceremony. Needless to say, I took Tina and Dave.

“Wow, you look gorgeous!” Tina exclaimed as soon as she laid eyes on me. I had taken to a full length purple gown and according to Tina and Dave I looked stunning.

When I arrived at the award ceremony, there were photographers waiting to take pictures of me. I was a little embarrassed but held my head high and walked to my allotted seat. Soon, the ceremony began and my name was announced- “Isla Woods- Young Businesswoman of the Year”. The crowd began clapping and Tina unabashedly began whistling. I went up to the stage and Mr. Collins, the announcer said, “If you would like to say two words, please.” I took the mic and began speaking into it- “Thank you Mr. Collins.
First off, I would like to thank a few people. Thank you Business Awards Committee for considering me worthy of this award. Thank you Tina for never giving up on me and spending those late nights with me, working for new strategies. Thank you Dave for being there with me as well.

Second off, I would like to mention the incident that led me here. 14 December 2020, one day before I was going to be married- I receive a call late at night from my fiance telling me he couldn’t marry me because reasons. Now, I had two options- either I could mourn for him or I could move forward. I decided to do the latter and that’s why I am here. There was this analogy that I kept in my mind- a crumpled paper could be straightened. At that point of time, I felt like I was a crumpled sheet of paper. But, I determined that I didn’t want to be that way anymore. I wanted to be straightened sheet of paper. And that is what I would say to all of you- You can all be a straightened sheet of paper.

Thank you.”

The hall burst into a round of applause.

As we were leaving, I recognized a familiar face- Aaron. He came towards me and Tina grasped my hand. “Hey” he said. “Hey” I replied. “Can I talk to you for a second?” Before Tina could say anything, I said, “Yeah” “Look, I am sorry for what I did. I was stupid and an idiot for letting you go. Me and Chloe… even though we got on well initially, we weren’t meant to be together. So, I ask you again- Will you marry me?” Tina gasped. Calmly, I replied, “Aaron, you couldn’t have spoken truer words. But, I am sorry, I am not your back-up. So, just in case it isn’t clear- NO, I will not marry you.” And I lifted my head and walked out.

Okay, so I wrote this story on November 9, 2020, and as I am rereading it, I realise it sucks. But I was going through my old drafts and I decided to post it for memory’s sake. Honestly, I haven’t written a single short story after that, but I think I might get into it. But please share your views on the story- good views and bad!


12 thoughts on “Crumpled: My first short story

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  1. I had a lot of fun finally reading this, Riddhi, and would definitely say it made for a good start to my summer break! πŸ€— A bit of optimism is always great – I loved when Isla gave Aaron a piece of her mind at the end 🀣 – and I really want to be hired by that company! (Although I’m not gonna lie, I was kind of hoping Isla and Tina would realize they were in love with Aaron out of the picture… πŸ‘€ 🀣)

    Liked by 1 person

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