Oh, it was, it was, it took me years to write – to tease it out, boil it down, craft it, learn to love it; then when it was done I showed it to my boyfriend, but he couldn’t be bothered so I told him to go swivel. My mates took the piss, my teacher said it sucked, my aunt called it tasteless, the presses said they’d pass; my mother had a hissy fit, fell to her knees, said she never would have had me if she’d guessed I’d turn out bad – so I flew to America, sat with it on subways, showed it to anyone who glanced my way. A man from Kansas said he thought it had potential, a girl with ginger curls said she dug the opening line, a punk with seven piercings called it glibly commercial, a boy said it smelled funky, a shrink called it repressed, a Taoist said it didn’t really matter what he thought (and had I any proof I wasn’t dreaming?); a stray cat licked the second page, the barista at Starbucks said, “Recycle, and be proud.” Then I met a woman who was kinder than an ocean, and whose laughter fluttered like a swarm of dragonflies, and she loved it, adored it, said it caught my very essence. So I cupped her hands around it, kissed her on the mouth, leaned against her ear and whispered, “Keep it.”
Sue Williams is an Assistant Editor at Narrative Magazine and a writing instructor at Grub Street. She has received several literary awards, including first place in the 2009 “Carolyn A. Clark Flash Fiction Prize” and the “Glimmer Train Best Start Award,” and is published in over thirty books and magazines, such as Narrative, Night Train, Smokelong Quarterly, Salamander, Gargoyle, Hint Fiction: a Norton Anthology, and Greatest Uncommon Denominator. Sue blogs at: www.suewilliams.co.uk.