Story Contest 2017 #1 - Outstanding Stories » New Friends
“New Friends” is one of the outstanding stories of the first biannual International Short Story Contest 2017 written by Umna Shaikh, UAE.
Claire tugged on her grey hoodie, covering the sight of her dull grey eyes.
“MOM! I am hanging out with my friends!” yelled Claire, exclaiming out her overused lie.
“Again?” her mom yelled from the kitchen, “Do you love your friends that much?” Her mom walked out of the kitchen, hands on hips. Claire gazed at her mom in awe. Her mom used to look awfully amazing despite hardly paying attention to her petite appearance. Blonde curls, soft jawline and pastel lips; that’s how everyone pictured her mom. Claire, at the other hand, was an exception.
She walked her way to the nearby park by pushing her earphones into her ears. A car passed by barely acknowledging her.
She had no friends and will never have any either, she was so sure of it.
There was something in her heart, trapped by the judgmental eyes of society. She was an introvert. She was that person you find at a dark corner, counting the days of the remaining days to live off their agonizing lives.
Sighing, she slumped on an empty bench, listening to the loud, heavy, metal music blasting off in her ears.
Suddenly someone tapped her and said, “Hi there”, but Claire didn’t respond. Again the person tapped her, “How are you?”, but Claire kept quiet. The person poked her again by saying, “Oh, I should have known that you don’t know English.”
Chloe muttered in her mouth, “I know English”
The person sat by her side, “So how are you?”
Claire then replied, “Fine”
“Good to know”, the stranger replied. Claire had an itch to leave, but that would sound rude.
“There are so many rides in this park to explore, and you’re just sitting on this lonely bench”.
“What do you mean?”
“I was just wondering if you would explore the rides with me”, the stranger said nervously.
“No thank you, you may ask someone else as I am not in a mood right now.” Claire replied.
“Please” the stranger said.
“OK fine I am coming”
Claire sighed; the stranger excitedly thanked her and pulled her to the empty swings. The stranger then said,
“Let me introduce myself, my name is Emily. I am 16 years old and I am from Canada. What about you?”
Claire looked a bit nervous and said, “My name is Claire. I am also 16 years old. I am from Scotland. Nice to meet you Emily” Claire smiled.
“Nice to meet you too, Claire. The color of your eyes- they are beautiful.” Said Emily
“Thanks, your lips are just perfect, I like it.” Claire complimented her, nervously.
“Thanks, let’s be friends!” Emily exclaimed, there was silence but then the silence was interrupted by Emily. “Are you okay?”
Claire replied, “I never had any experiences with friends so I am really not sure. I am sort of confused”
“It’s going to be fun, trust me!” Emily said. “Ok fine, we are friends.” Claire was thinking of rejecting her as a friend but she couldn’t. It was getting dark so they went back home. As Claire reached home she was so tired and was recalling the conversations with Emily. Without a word she went to her room and slept off.
When she woke up in the morning, the sun was shining bright; she packed her bag for a picnic that she had planned last night. She hurried and went to the park. As she went to the park, she saw no one and thought that she arrived very early.
She waited and it was getting dark when all of a sudden she saw someone peeking at her. She noticed that it was Emily. Claire said,
“Emily, come out”, but there was no response.
Then Emily came out sighing, “I am really sorry Claire. I know you had to wait a long time but my mom stopped me because I had to wash the dishes.
Claire then sighed and said, “Its ok, we are friends now. So now let’s have our picnic.”
Claire had broken the anti-social spell that was binding her down.