Ivan’s story won the contest. Not the story he’d written. The one he’d told Britt. The one she’d then told Mark because he was a writer and that’s what she wanted to be.

Ivan’s story was real—still painful. He only told it to Britt because she said he needed to trust her, and trust was important. So he retold it, by way of explanation. It was the story of what had happened between him and Petra. All the elements were there. Passion and betrayal. Abandonment, to and of each other. He hoped there might be redemption, too, now he’d met Britt. Because surely she’d been thinking about more than something casual when she’d asked him to be honest with her. ‘I don’t want us to have to carry around scars some other girl gave you,’ she said.

So he told her.

And then she met Mark at a seminar. He was a writer out of the surly, manipulative, borderline alcoholic mould. And he was published. The distance he put between himself and the world hung before her like a swing bridge over a canyon.

 

2011—Richard Holt / small stories about love (smallstoriesaboutlove.wordpress.com)

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