Fiction Friday – Stephania (Part #1)

Please bear with me as I’m not quite sure I know where I’m going with this yet.

I’ve been trying to weave a series of stories, recollections, and incidents from childhood into a coherant larger piece of fiction.

The protagonist who is also the narrator is a grown man recounting events mostly from his childhood, and exploring how those events shaped his life and turned him into the man he is today.

I’m still looking for a way to connect all of the pieces with a common theme that tells a central story with believable characters, and has tension and conflict as well as some sort of resolution.

Eventually I may just find that it works best as a collection of short stories, à la Alice Munro, and just leave it at that. In the meantime I’ve decided to put it out there in small chunks to get some much needed feedback.

Comments, ideas, and suggestions are more than welcome, so please let me know what you think:

Stephania (Part #1)

Ever since we were little Stephania had always been able to make me blush. One look from those sparkling  green eyes and I’d turn into a human tomato.

I’ll always remember the first time she did that to me. I was seven. She was eight.

“You want to kiss me, don’t you?”

It was more of a matter of fact statement than a question really.

We guys? We’re not all that complicated. And girls, women, they know.

Years later over coffee we talked about that moment. She proudly let me in on a little secret; that a woman can often tell when a guy likes her even before HE knows that he does.

The school year had just started and we had only known each a few weeks. That summer her family had moved into the apartment block next to ours. When fall came we walked the few blocks to and from school together. It wasn’t planned or anything. We just happened to be going the same way at the same time twice a day, so we walked together.

I’m certain that she was the one who spoke to me first; I usually didn’t hang around with the girls and she was a grade ahead of me anyway. It was probably something about our kid brothers being the same age, but whatever it was it got the ball rolling.

She was different. Unlike the boys I hung around with, she rarely boasted or tried to impress. She asked a lot of questions and had a lot of opinions, but for someone so smart and self-confident she was still real easy to talk to.

As we got to know each other we’d talk about school, friends or family, and the things we liked to do. She liked to paint and draw. I liked to play baseball and hockey, and ride my bike.

I was fascinated by her from the first time I saw her. Up to then living in a predominantly white, working-class neighbourhood in east-end Montreal, Stephania’s family and their mixed Greek/Italian background was the most exotic inter-cultural experience I’d been exposed to.

Well there was that Haitian family that lived below us but they didn’t speak a word of English. And their French? Well it was so heavily accented and full of words we’d never heard before, and they talked so darn fast. We could never understand them. They were nice enough people I guess, but rather than look dumb by constantly asking them to repeat themselves over and over, we just sort of avoided them and saved ourselves the embarrassment of those awkward conversations.

Before Stephania I don’t think I ever noticed a girl for being pretty, but she was by far the prettiest girl I had ever met. She had silky smooth light-tanned, olive skin. A Mediterranean complexion my mother used to call it. Dark no check that; jet-black hair, and she smiled and laughed a lot.

And when she smiled those eyes lit up and just drew me in.

Then one day out of the blue on our morning walk to school this older, smarter, pretty girl  dropped the hammer down on me with one little sentence.

“You want to kiss me, don’t you?”

Her words froze that shy little boy in his tracks.

Do you know what? She was right. Obviously I was too young to recognize what those feelings were, and back then I’d be damned if I’d admit it anyway, but looking back now, yes I did want to kiss her.

I felt flushed as the blood rushed to my face. I just knew that my lobster-boy look was in full swing, which only made my embarrassment that much more complete.

Her self-satisfied smirk turned into a full-blown amused grin when she saw how her words affected me. Or perhaps she was just proud of the fact that she had guessed correctly.

Either way, I was mortified.

I looked away, averting those eyes and did what any self-respecting seven-year-old boy would do to extricate himself from an embarrassing moment with a girl he liked. I slapped her lunch box out of her hand and yelled, “Race you,” while tearing off towards the end of the block.

About Norm 3.0

World’s youngest grumpy old man & heart failure wonder boy. Interests: writing, woodworking, photography, travel, tennis, wine, and I know a bit about power tools.
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20 Responses to Fiction Friday – Stephania (Part #1)

  1. Pingback: Week 1 of 52 Weeks/52 Blogs | 20/20 Hines Sight

  2. desleyjane says:

    Lovely! I love the typical boy response at the end!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Rose Red says:

    I am looking forward to reading more

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I agree with Hugh. I usually delete the long posts. Not that I don’t want to read them. Just that there are so many blogs and so little time. But I was drawn into your story. I like it a lot and also look forward to the next installment. Shorter is better. Just for, with me, keeping up’s sake. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  5. afairymind says:

    A very sweet and well told story with a wonderfully strong narrative voice. 🙂 I agree that the small chunks are good. Really long posts can be very off-putting I can’t wait to read more!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve written quite a few short stories now, Norm, and over the months I have been here on WordPress, I have found that publishing a short story that had too many words was not a good idea. It got less likes, less comments, less hits. I then broke the story into two posts and republished and the results were amazing. More hits, more likes, more comments. OK it could have been down to the day and time I posted the first post but I’ve since broken stories up into two or three parts and they seem to work far better that way.

    Your story is very descriptive and I like that, and it certainly leave the reader wanting to know more. I kinda like it from you telling the story point of view as well. It fells as if you are talking directly to the reader in a room where there is just the two of you. I look forward to reading the next instalments.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Norm 2.0 says:

      I agree Hugh. Everything I’ve been taught says that the ideal blog post comes in at no more than 750-800 words, so I try to stick to that limit when I can.
      For now I’ll keep this one in the first person and see how it goes.
      Thanks for the feedback 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. sourgirlohio says:

    Very sweet:) I am also a big fan of telling a longer story in a series of shorter pieces. I look forward to reading more.

    Did you ever kiss her? Or will we find that out in another story?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Norm 2.0 says:

      Thanks, I’m glad you enjoyed it.
      I’ve got lots of these little snippets; 600-2000 words each. I’m still trying to map an outline that will alow me to connect them all, in a way that actually makes sense.
      The hardest thing is dropping the ones that don’t fit. Feels kinda like abandoning a child, doesn’t it?
      Did I ever kiss her? I guess you’ll just have to keep reading to find out 😉


  8. kimlhine says:

    Can’T wait to see what happens next, love her name!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. hollie says:

    I look forward to reading more of this story! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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