Lunchtime by Michael Webb

I looked at her, sipping her water with tiny, delicate sips. She was sitting across from me, but her gaze wouldn’t rest on me. Her eyes were constantly dancing, looking around the room, taking in the soda machines, the bulletin board, the passersby, the people sitting at other tables, the garish painted tiger on the wall. She would stop, look at me briefly, and then look around again, trying to see someone better looking or more popular or more important than me.

I was her first friend here – when her family moved into town, I shared some potato chips with her at lunch and we quickly became fast friends. I introduced her to everybody, made sure she was invited to the parties, wouldn’t let anyone poke fun at her. We brushed each other’s hair, told secrets, laughed, cried – we were inseparable, and had been since we met. Until now.

It wasn’t the boys that came between us. Well, it wasn’t entirely the boys. There was this distance between us now – I was no longer the first person to learn of her news, while I always told her mine before anyone. I was the same person, but she wasn’t – she had aims I didn’t share, wanted things I didn’t understand. She was seated so close – the tip of her shoe was right in front of my shin – but she may as well have been a million miles away.

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “Lunchtime by Michael Webb

  1. I like the physical proximity, versus the growing psychic distance as the story progresses. well done.

  2. Missy

    I like the way you explain how close they used to be and then, in detail, how physically close they are “She was seated so close – the tip of her shoe was right in front of my shin – but she may as well have been a million miles away.”

    It’s a great way of showing two friends who are in the same space but not the same head space.

  3. This story seems so tight, and yet is filled with that mystery known as human friendship. So complex, and you nail what it feels like to be intimate at one time with someone, then that distance creeps in. And in. And so on.

  4. Great take on the theme, on people growing apart.

  5. Pingback: Week #38 – Long distance | 52|250 A Year of Flash

  6. You really want things to work for this guy, yet you’ve unraveled his life and left him wanting. Well done, Michael.

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