WEP: My First Flash Fiction for WEP!

Summertime!


I haven't been quite working on my ROW80 goals, as it's very hot around here at the moment, but I have been writing, so not entirely prostrate and lazy with the heat.

I've just written a short story that evolved from the August Writer's Exercise on the Forum, and it happens to fit the parameters of this month's Write...Edit...Publish challenge!

Here are the details of both:

Forum exercise:
This month "we will write a travel-account, either based on a diary, an essay, a travel journal or a letter or a series of postcards. This is meant to be a fun exercise, so there are two options to choose from.

A fictional type of travel-writing.
Here I will give those who choose this option the name of a character. You'll take this character, imagine who he/she is and what they are like, and then you will send them on holiday.
You can pick any style of travel writing you like: letters, essay, postcards, a literary account of the travel.
It can be factual, funny/humorous, serious..... whatever you like

or you can pick Non-Fiction
Here you can write about your own holiday/travel experiences.
Again, pick any style of writing you like. Diaries, letters, exposition, you name it."

The name I received was Valentina Bernardes. Snip to follow...


Write...Edit...Publish is now teamed up with the Insecure Writer's Support Group!



This month's flash fiction challenge is on the theme Change of Heart



"Follow this process if you wish to participate:

The InLinkz sign up is on the WEP blog on the first of the month, or you may see it on other blogs who've copied the code. Add your intention to post here.

We post entries on the third Wednesday of the month or according to the badge. Post your entry onto your website or facebook page. (The TimeZone clock is on the WEP site - follow this timezone as we're from all over the world). Please add 'WEP' to your TITLE so we can easily pick it up.

Leave a comment on the WEP website when you post, so we can add your Direct Link (DL) to the list. This way you retain your position.

We ask that you do the rounds, leaving comments and feedback as requested.

You can post flash fiction, non-fiction, poetry, an artwork with an explanation, photo essay or a playscript. 1,000-word limit. Any more, and reading becomes a challenge in itself!

There is a $10 Amazon Gift Card for first prize. Who decides who wins? A shortlist is compiled by the WEP team, sent to the judge (Nick Wilford) and he places them into first, second and third. Second and third receive a winners’ badge for their website or facebook page. And there is a Commenter Badge for participants who read most/all entries."


The story I wrote last week is over 3,000 words, so I've created a truncated version for this challenge, at 996 words. I'm not looking for a detailed critique, just overall impressions. I hope you like it!

When Amelie asked if I wanted to join her and a bunch of her friends on holiday in Turkey, I was all for it.

The starting year of uni was tough. I was proud to be the first in my family to go to university, and really proud that I'd got into Oxford. But the work was hard, my English wasn't always good enough, and the Portuguese-speaking community was small. And there was no one else from Brazil in my year.

Then I met Amelie at a salsa class, and things got better. She was friends with everyone! And the Turkey trip was going to be excellent.

Then I found out that her boyfriend was coming along.

He's a great guy, Angus. He's visited Amelie twice already, coming down from Scotland, and I hung out with them on both weekends. In the beginning, his accent was hard to make out. But he was friendly, and told funny stories, and I got used to it. He's not like any of the caras back home. Not all into cars and designer jeans and showing off. But he does have a motorbike. He rode down on his second visit, and on the Sunday a group of us went out to a riverside pub. I was in the car with everyone else, and could see Amelie on the bike up ahead, her arms around Angus' waist. The ends of his hair stuck out from under his helmet and fluttered in the wind of the bike's speed.

And now we're here at our hotel in Kuşadası, and their room is down one floor and across from mine, and if I sit by the balcony railing I can watch the sun set into the water, as the beach and the sea are ten steps down the road. I can also see onto their balcony, where Angus is hanging their towels, dressed in nothing but shorts. Amelie comes out and wraps her arms about his shoulders and kisses his cheek. He hugs her back, and they watch the sunset with their heads together.

I go inside to tell my roommate, Maya, that she's missing out on a romantic sunset. Maya smiles knowingly; she's only got one aim on this trip and that's to have a wild affair -- with anyone, whether a Turkish waiter, expat bartender, or fellow tourist.

What do I want?

***
The next morning an expat friend of Angus’, Justin, takes us out on a chartered boat. There’s a crew, and even a cook to make lunch, so we don’t have to do anything but point at the coves we want to stop at, then dive into the turquoise waters to swim. It’s hot and quiet and peaceful.

Until I realise Justin’s flirting with me. But he seems to be pitying me as I’m not already coupled, and I don’t need his pity. I make like I’m into snorkelling in a big way and go off on my own. It turns out to be cool, because I see lots of coloured fish, and an octopus, and even a seal in the distance, who gives me a cheeky look and swims away before I can get my camera sorted.

***
The next evening, Justin’s there again, and drives us into town for a night at the kervansaray. It begins with a big feast and traditional music on an instrument called a saz, which echoes up the stone walls and out to the sky, as the inn is roofless and open to the stars. Then the music amps up, and the belly dancing starts.

There's no kind of dancing I don't enjoy, so when the audience is invited up to learn the moves, I’m first on the floor, and Amelie comes with me. I focus on mastering the basic routine, then begin to improvise. Amelie and I are really getting into it, and when I notice we’re putting on a show, I glance up to gauge the effect we’re having, but before I can spot anyone else's reaction, I catch Justin's eye.

His expression is startling. The lust is there, but there’s also a sort of longing, a visual representation of saudade, that intense nostalgia and melancholy that comes in waves.

It makes me want to dance away that feeling for him, to help him forget whatever it is he's lost and can't regain. I’m not pitying him. Call it a professional dancer's intent, if you like, though I'm still an amateur.

I suppose I succeed, because after he's dropped everyone else off, I go home with Justin.

***
The next day we’re up early to fetch the others and drive to the ruins of Ephesus. I get separated from the group, but Justin finds me, and we drive into the nearby town of Selçuk for lunch. We have some Turkish beer, and some ayran, which is yogurt, water, and salt. I would never have imagined that such a combination could be a drink, and a flavourful, thirst-quenching one at that.

But then, I never would have imagined a lot of things before this trip.

That my hopeless crush would be apparent to anyone else.

That I'd meet someone who'd make me forget my crush.

That I'd come home with something else in common with my best friend – a long-distance relationship.

***
On the last morning, waiting for the airport bus, Justin asks when he can see me again. Direct, as he always is.

Just like on the first night we spent together, when he caught my hesitation and broke off kissing me to ask point blank what I wanted: to linger on an unrequited attraction, or explore a new relationship.

I chose adventure. I told him he could see me as often as he came to visit, and promised to fly out again as soon as I could. Yet his saudade was for home, and before the year was out, he was back in England. I have never been more happy.

I think this is my first entry for WEP, even though I've been following from the sidelines for years.
Happy to participate!
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