Today’s prompt for Writing 101 is to write a series of anecdotes or vignettes which are defined as ” short, episodic scenes or moments that together read as variations on the same subject/story.” Therefore, each vignettes needs to have a similarity between them which ties each vignettes to the others.
Tessa feels afraid. Life has become unmanageable for her to take a risk in love because she can’t calculate the damage another man could do to her. One guy Ryan, she talked to for a year and he wanted be with Tessa but she was in a relationship at the time. Tessa told Ryan, she loved her boyfriend. She only wanted to be friends with Ryan. He wasn’t interested in being friends. The thought of not talking to and seeing him anymore, made Tessa bitterly sad.
Tessa was single and free. It felt wonderful to not have to go out and spend her weekends at her boyfriend Ted’s place, not doing much of anything. When she was out, Tessa wanted to be doing something, not laying around all day. A nap was one thing, but sitting and watching the same news channel hours on end as Ted did, Tessa couldn’t handle it. She wanted to visit their couple friends and go to fun events on the evenings and a week night once in a while. Her now ex-boyfriend Ted always sat on the couch, eyes on the news or searching the Internet. Tessa left Ted, never looking back.
Freedom flowed through her veins. Tessa was happy and her life was fulfilling. She was working hard each day. Doing the best she could, developing a career. But there were always men who wanted something from Tessa. She didn’t want to be mean and say: “I don’t want anything from you. You’d only mess up my life and I like my life how it is right now.”
To say that would be too honest and being too honest can sound brash and thoughtless and get a woman labelled. Tessa didn’t want to damage her career, but often it meant putting up with men, their sexual inuendo and advances.
Greyson is messaging Tessa again. No real conversation occurs between them. He doesn’t talk about his days or ask much about hers when they go on dates. Greyson gazes at her and says, “I like you. I like talking to you. Don’t you like me?” Tessa is tired of his games.
She tells Greyson, “We’ve been through this. You don’t want a relationship and I do.”
He remarks, “Let’s sleep together and see how it goes.”
Tessa is angry, her attraction to Greyson wanes and she ceases talking to him.
She is dating Phillip now. A new guy who keeps calling her at all times. Phillip won’t stop. He’s a stranger who somehow had her number in his contacts. Tessa recalls she hasn’t had her new cell number for long.
Phillip tells Tessa he is into having a relationship with her but with him too, it comes down to sex. After they have sex he tells her, “We’ll see how things go.” He is suddenly non-committal and distant towards Tess, except when he wants to sleep with her.
Tessa is exasperated. Isn’t she valuable outside the context of sex? Isn’t there a guy who will like her for her personality too and want to get to know her!?
Now, whenever Phillip texts or calls Tessa deletes any trace of him from her cell phone.
Some man starts talking to Tessa outside her hair salon, grabbing her arm. She doesn’t like it when people she doesn’t know man handle her. But Tessa attempts to be polite.
The stranger tells her she’s beautiful and keeps complimenting her. She’s not attracted to him in the least and he won’t let her leave. He keeps stepping in front of her as she tries to take the stairs down to the train.
Tessa had worked in the morning and taken the afternoon off to have her hair done and now this weird man won’t let her go home. It’s only 4:00 pm but Tessa smells the liquor on the stranger’s breath.
“Let go. Leave me alone. My boyfriend wouldn’t like you bothering me like this. I need to go home.” She tells the man.
The stranger acts offended and she shivers in disgust at his repulsive corporate ego. She hates having to lie to protect herself. To ensure her own security.
Tessa meanders in a popular shopping district, alone on a Saturday afternoon. She’s in a boutique and is enthused the clothes are stylish but not overally expensive. Tessa models a blue halter dress and she hears a deep voice remark: “I’d take you out in that dress. You’re gorgeous.”
Tessa turns, regarding the man who complimented her. He’s a bit older, but it doesn’t bother her. The handsome man’s blue eyes are breath-taking, bright against dark hair and attractive full lips. He wears dark jeans and a blue t-shirt matching his eyes.
Suddenly, Tessa realizes she’s been staring at the attractive man and hasn’t responded to his compliment. She blushes and her skin goes red.”I’m happy you like me in the dress. I wasn’t sure about it, but you’ve made my mind up for me.”
The attractive man chuckles and comes up to Tessa, running a hand gently down her arm. She’s surprised his familer touch doesn’t bother her. He gazes into her eyes and smiles.
“What’s a pretty girl like you doing all by herself shopping? You need a guy to hold your bags and make sure douch men don’t bother you.”
Tessa laughs. “Are you offering to do the job? Because I would definitely have to take you up on that offer. I’m Tessa by the way.” She holds out her hand which is shaking a bit and his strong hand engulfs hers and shakes it firmly. A firm handshake, Tessa is impressed.
She smiles as the attractive man runs a hand through wisps of her loose hair. “What’s your name?” She asks him.
He grins at her question. “I’m Blake and I’m a university professor in economics. What do you do Tessa?”
” I work in HR for a company. I like talking with different people and helping them.” Blake stares at his hands in his jean pockets, smiling at Tessa before touching her cheek with the back of his hand.
Again, his touch doesn’t bother Tessa. She craves it. Blake smells wonderful, like the ocean with a note of sandlewood. Blake and her are standing close and Tessa’s breathing is picking-up speed with Blake’s breath.
“There you are.” An elegant woman in a red dress sweeps in. She’s thin and willowy and seems like she’s a model, on trend and waifish.”Who’s this?” The model asks, regarding Tessa as if she were a peculiar creature for Blake to be flirting with.
The model’s eyes rove over Tessa and back to Blake. Blake sighs and he doesn’t appear glad to see the model, in fact; he seems annoyed. He gazes at Tessa appearing apologetic. Tessa has pity on Blake.
“Oh this must be your girlfriend you were telling me about.” Tessa remarks to Blake. “She is stunning and you’re lucky to have her. I’m sorry I haven’t been in touch. I’ve been busy and I know you have been busy too. I’ll let you get back to your girl.” The model gives Tessa an odd look and then giggles.
Tessa can’t help but feel she’s missing something and that the model is making fun of her.”Lovely to meet you, ” the model says.”I’m Cherise.”
“I’m Tessa and Blake really loves you.” She says. Cherish chuckles and so does Blake.
Cherise smiles at Tessa and Blake. Tessa doesn’t know what to say. She feels miserable. because she has met a nice guy and he isn’t actually a nice guy. He has a girlfriend named Cherise who’s laughing at her.
Tessa was hugely attracted to Blake and wanted to know him better. He pressed the back of his hand to her cheek as Cherise walked away to look at a dress.
“I’m going to try this on,” she tells Blake who nods at her. But his blue gaze is focused on Tessa.
“Why did you do that?” Blake says, laughter in his voice. ” Cherise is my younger step-sister. She’s not my girlfriend. It’s gross thinking about her that way. We have the same Dad and I grew up with her.”
Tessa’s face turns bright red. Redder than it was before. “Oh, I didn’t realize. I was trying to give you an out because I thought Cherise was your girlfriend. But I’m glad she’s only your sister. You had me worried for a bit.”
Blake chuckles again.”Are you going to let me take you out tonight in that dress you’re buying? I have to drive Cherise to her boyfriends but I can meet you down the street at the Manterra Hotel dining room at 7:00 pm?”
Tessa smiles genuinely. “I’d love to have dinner with you, Blake.” She leans up towards Blake and kisses his inviting lips gently for a few moments, keeping her lips against Blakes a meaningful second before walking towards the cash register.
Blake repeats behind her: “7:00 pm at the Manterra Hotel.”
In second year University, I caught the eye of a certain basketball player. He was in an English class with me. He was tall, loud, and had the most beautiful blue eyes. I thought he’d be fun to be with. But it was difficult for me to talk to him. He caused me to feel anxious. I knew I had to only become used to his loudness to be comfortable around him, but I never felt relaxed. He didn’t attempt to get to know me better, to make me feel comfortable around him, despite my shyness.
At first, I was so shy I would ignore him, unless I absolutely ran right into him. I only felt this knot in my stomach and I stuttered when I talked to him. I was extremely frustrated with the entire situation by third year university. I finally told the basketball player I liked him. I told him truthfully, I often didn’t talk to him because I was busy taking five courses and working half-time. I tried to get across to him that when I was busy, I was off in my own world. I was attempting to get him to make an effort and ask me out.
I received a funny look from the basketball player for saying ‘I was in my own world,’ even though he rubbed my back to make me feel better. That was the end. I wasn’t a fun girl to him because I wasn’t outgoing and he didn’t understand how busy my life was.
During the years I had this ‘thing’ with the basketball player, I grew used to other girls I didn’t know talking behind my back, calling me names, and being critical of me. I went to a small university and it often felt like high school because young woman became easily jealous over the smaller guy population.
It took me years to get over the preconceived notion that I was shy — a wrong attribute to have. I learned a guy maybe hot and seem fun, but if he didn’t make the effort for you, you shouldn’t waste your time on him. Sometimes I would build a guy I liked up in my mind, as if they were perfect and not a flawed person. I would have been more comfortable being me if I realized I shouldn’t have to try so hard to please a man I liked. Even someone you are attracted to, and makes you nervous, is approachable if you remember they are only human like you.
Also, I learned when I started working, because a person makes you nervous is no reason to ignore them if they haven’t given you a decent reason to avoid them. The exception to this was catty and gossipy women. I learned some woman are going to be touchy even as adults when they should know better than to spread gossip or call names. These women are people whose mean words you should ignore. Better yet, ask them to repeat what they said so you can hear it clearly this time. Embarrass them.
Most significantly, I learned I was not a shy person but a woman who was often an introvert. It didn’t mean I wasn’t social and fun to be with. But I required time alone to ‘recharge my batteries’ while others ‘recharged their batteries’ off the energy of a crowd. I liked small groups better than large noisy functions. I felt and still feel a few trustworthy friends is all a girl needs, even though it is fun to meet new people. I also enjoy working independently, or one on one with people. I am extremely talkative in this kind of situation and I feel a more meaningful connections with others in small group settings.
In my opinion, we have a society which is often centred around extroversion. It’s not an acceptable value because it causes people who identify with introversion to feel that if we are shy and not outgoing, there is something wrong with us. There is nothing about a person that is deficient because they are introverted. Certain people are skilled at hiding their insecurities and may appear outgoing but at heart, they are introverts. Some introverts such as myself are more clearly introverted.
I don’t identify with being a shy girl anymore. I’m a listener, a loyal friend, and an observer. I have no problem stating my opinion or saying no. I am happy to be me in the ‘background’ and not taking center stage. This doesn’t mean I never get noticed. It means the right people notice me and take me as I am. I want to be around people who see introversion as a vital part of society, not a hindrance.