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A Kind of Beautiful

Use this forum to post short stories that you have written. This is for getting comments and constructive feedback. This is for original, creative works. You must post the actual text, no links.

A Kind of Beautiful

Post Number:#1 by Vivian Paschal
» 13 Sep 2017, 07:19

There are many kinds of beautiful. Of course there's the beautiful characterised by a pretty face that has you staring like you believe in love at first sight - and you really should not. There's the endowed kind of beautiful, you know, the type that reminds you that Oluwa is in fact the designer. There's the dressy beautiful; the girl that catches your attention with her amazing make up and even more amazing wardrobe. There's also the hot beautiful- the perfect model with the beach body. And then there's the plain beautiful; never forget the plain beautiful.

This girl wasn't pretty-face beautiful. She wasn't endowed and she wasn't hot. Plain wasn't it either. The dressy beautiful kind was far from it. She worked in the same building as me but I'd never seen her since I joined the company,or maybe I just didn't notice her. She was basically unnoticeable.

That day however, in the heat of the morning rush, I noticed her. Actually, I noticed the young tough-minded boy that was tugging at her black bandage skirt and begging her to buy him that American Gods book that he so badly wanted but wasn't getting. She was even more tough-minded than he was.

"I've already told you that I'm not going to let you read something like that in my home," she replied rather calmly.

"Why?" he asked, sounding rude.

"Like I said before, it's not healthy for your soul," she replied.

"Please," he begged on.

She pulled him away from the book stand and towards the office entrance. "C'mon, let's drop you off with Nancy so I can get to work.”

I watched her walk into the building, dragging her little boy behind and I wondered how someone in this age and time, and putting on jewellery and make up and everything a religious fanatic would avoid, could deprive a young boy of reading a novel regular kids were reading because "it's not healthy for the soul.”

Less than an hour later, I ran into her in the lift. We were alone and it felt cliché. I said hi and smiled when she didn't snub me. She had the look of someone who would shoot daggers at unwelcome people with just her eyes.

”I saw you outside with a boy not too long ago," I said trying not to sound too forward. "Are you new here? I don't think I've seen you around before." I was good with the ladies on a normal day but something about this one scared me.

"I've been here for seven years," she told me. "I'm your boss' secretary.”

"My boss?" It just wasn't possible even though she'd been here longer than me

"I mean the boss of all bosses here. Mr. Stevenson," she explained.

Oh! She got it right. The boss of all the bosses. Only the bosses got to his front desk.

"Really? Probably why I haven't seen you before."

She nods. "Yeah, probably."

We got to the third floor and she made to step out of the lift. I assumed she was running an errand since her office was on the uppermost floor.

I stopped her. "I don't mean to pry, but I was wondering what you meant by that book not being good for his soul."

She shrugged. "Used it to deter him. He blocks his ears when he starts reading all those books about magic and doesn't listen to anything I say. I'm not as tolerant as his mother."

It was not until the lift door closed with her on the other side that I realised I did not know her name. So when I got out of the lift, the first thing I did was to ask around the office for the name of the lady that was Mr. Stevenson's secretary.

I ran into her again the following day at the company canteen and finally introduced myself formally. "Dumeto Diribe," I said. "Dumetolisa is the full version."

She gave me a look that told me she didn't want to tell me hers. "Sochikaima. You can call me Kaima," she finally said. She didn't know I already knew that.

We started running into each other frequently, sometimes pre-planned by me, and sooner than later, we exchanged numbers. I found myself getting more interested in this woman. She was a complicated mixture. In so many ways, she reminded me of the Chinese Yin-Yang. She was harsh and nice at the same time. She was simple and complicated at the same time. She would never compromise but she was ever ready to sacrifice.

What trapped me though was her kind of innocence. She was innocent without being naive. She would always weigh the pros and cons even though she wasn't sure of what the end result would be. Then she would make her decisions based on her findings. More often than not, her reply was 'no'. And she loved having her way.

For the first time in months, she probably decided that if the end result of our friendship was a romantic relationship, it wouldn't be a bad thing. She said her first yes to dinner with me, and consequently, there were more dinners, and then dates.

Oh did I mention that Kaima had an ex? I probably didn't. Kaima had been married for four years and got divorced two years before I met her. But as our relationship began to grow, Matthew, the ex, returned. My Kaima got distracted.

I did manage to get her to agree to meet me for dinner one evening. "Just to blow off some steam," I told her.

She was upset. If she'd dumped him, maybe she'd have gotten closure. But he'd done the leaving and it made her feel like she wasn't good enough. She'd weighed the pros and cons before ever dating him and she'd seen that he was perfect. For her, that was a rare one. So when he left, she concluded that she was the failure.

"Maybe I just wasn't beautiful enough for him," she told me once. "Maybe I'm not even beautiful at all."

I sat at the diner that evening and waited for her to show up. Several times, I called her number and not once did she pick up her phone. She had promised she would come. She needed to blow off some steam anyway.
She never showed, and for a whole week, she dodged me at worK. Till I ran into her on the lift again.

"You've been scarce lately," I pointed out.

Once again,we were alone on the lift and it felt cliché.

"I've not been feeling well." it was an obvious and a shameful lie.

"I don't believe you," I said matter-of-factly.

"You don't have to," she replied.

"Don't I?"

No reply.

"It's Matthew, isn't it? I asked. I didn't see any need to stall a conversation we would have to have eventually. "I love you Kaima, heaven knows I do. But you've got to be honest with me. You stood me up. No apologies. No explanations. It's been a week."

"I slept with him."

"What?"

"I slept with him." Her voice was shaky, but apparently, she didn't see any reason to stall either. "The night I stood you up, I was at his apartment. Honestly, I don't know what I was thinking, but after that," she stumbled, "I'm still in love with him, Dumeto."

I stared at her, shocked, confused, disappointed, and nearly frustrated. Lucky for me, the lift stopped just then and two men joined us. I didn't have to say anything anymore. I didn't have anything to say anyway.

She'd slept with her ex but she hadn't even made out with me. She had principles that accompanied her innocence, principles created from the experiences that prevented naivety in her approach to life.

I had fallen for her and it had given me the strength to endure what the normal me could never have endured. Principles are good, I had told myself severally. When you're smitten, that's when you're the most foolish. What happened to the principles that guarded against cheating? And with the guy that dumped you before!

Every girl, beautiful or not, is a certain kind of beautiful that's beautiful enough for a certain kind of guy. But beauty has its flaws. It deceives. It disappoints. It fails.

I lost Kaima to her ex. Yes, I did. In fact, she got herself married to him again and it was freaking shocking. But I'd fallen for her kind of beautiful and I'd accepted its flaws. No grudge. No regret. A little pain.

The search for another beautiful must begin.
Vivian Paschal's Latest Review: "That Place of Knowledge" by Philip Alan Shalka
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Re: A Kind of Beautiful

Post Number:#2 by EmunahAn
» 21 Sep 2017, 08:37

Beautiful read. Interesting yet precise. I liked the flow especially the way the story is written. The reader is not over-burdened with excess information.
“Reading is escape, and the opposite of escape; it's a way to make contact with reality after a day of making things up, and it's a way of making contact with someone else's imagination after a day that's all too real.”
― Nora Ephron
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Re: A Kind of Beautiful

Post Number:#3 by Kat Kennedy
» 22 Sep 2017, 16:41

A very nice piece. I think it flows well. You tell the story with enough information to make it interesting and you don't get bogged down in it. A couple of things you may want to look at. When you say "she made to step out of the lift" is a little colloquial. She stepped out of the lift or stepped forward is more universal. I only mention this because I am a Southern writer and I am always finding little things in my work where I let little ways of saying things slip into description, especially in stories where I'm writing a lot of dialogue. And I think you meant "I told myself severely," in the fourth to the last paragraph. I really enjoyed your story. Can't wait to read more. Keep up the food work. Great job!
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