Teenage Breakthrough, by Vicki Griffin

Sarah knew she needed to get away just for a break, re-charge her batteries and mend her broken heart. She had been living at a frantic pace trying to manage work at MacDonald’s and everyone else’s problems and she just felt drained. Since leaving high school life had become boring!

No wild parties, do dancing, no nothing! She no longer had any motivation to do anything and really needed a break from the world.

Tom had dumped her again! This was the third time and each time she took him back because he said he was sorry. Not this time though. She’d been with him since she was fifteen and didn’t think she could live without him but she was going to try!

Today was the day she was supposed to go shopping with Alice and Toni but now she couldn’t be bothered. Going into the bathroom she admired the apricot tiles on the splashback as she ran a comb through her hair and scrubbed her teeth.

She really wanted to have a smoke but she had made a deal with herself- to give up. As she waited impatiently for the kettle to boil she tapped her foot, she hadn’t slept well last night. Tossing and turning and wondering what her ex was up to. The whole nasty business was making her ill but she couldn’t stop thinking about the way he had dumped her – a text message.

The tears threatened to fall again as she vigorously brushed her blonde hair until it shone like golden wheat, then piled it on top of her head with a hair comb. She chose a pretty floral cotton dress and white sandals, then grabbed her pay packet from the table and placed it into her wallet. She needed to get away or she’d go crazy!

She’d only been talking about it the other day to her best friend Alice over coffee at Maccas.

“So you should to.” Alice had agreed with her idea, dunking her Tim Tam biscuit in her coffee and sucking the chocolate off.

“I don’t know it’s just… Well I still have a lot of stuff to do and since the break up…” Her voice had faltered, tears threatened to fall.

“Don’t be silly you deserve it. Take a break overseas or go on a quiet relaxed weekend get away, forget about that jerk Sarah! You deserve better, an idiot stole three years of your life and wasted it.”

What Alice had said had cut her to the bone but she didn’t let on instead she had sat there at the table sipping her coffee and flicking through the travel brochure .At eighteen could she really do it? Travel alone, get over him? She really should – that’s it, that’s what she was going to do, get away. Before she lost her new found nerve she rang the agent and booked a week’s holiday in Fiji at the ‘Reef Resort.’

Now that she had actually made her mind up she felt excited as for the first time in weeks she thought about something other than Tom and his wayward ways. To hell with him she thought chucking her bikini and sarong in her travel bag.

Now that is was happening and she was really sitting on the flight and flying through what looked like fluffy white marshmallow she was having doubts. What if he called her? What if he wanted her back and not that silly young thing he had chosen? What if… Quickly she wiped the tears from her eyes as she noticed the chap frowning at her from across the aisle.

“Bulla!” The natives yelled as she disembarked; the taste of humidity filling her dry mouth. She was determined to have a great time and as she settled into her tropical bungalow the deep blue ocean outside her window enticingly called her. Huge palms trees emerald green fronds blowing in the salty breeze soothed her furrowed brow as she gazed longingly across the still water.

 Without another thought she stepped into her bikini wrapped the floral sarong around her petite waist and yelled “Bulla to you Tom wherever you are. “She yelled as she sailed out the door into the brilliant sunshine.

The sound of the waves crashing against the coral rocks lulled her into a warm hazy sleep until she felt sand being kicked over her. “What the hell.” She spluttered shading her eyes from the sun and trying to see who stood in front of her.

“Sorry, so sorry. “A male voice mumbled as he walked away. Sarah had only caught a quick glimpse of his ebony hair and muscular body and she was pretty sure it was the same man on the aeroplane.

She wiped the beads of sweat from her brow. Whoa, it’s hot, she thought as she glanced up at the sky. Storm clouds were gathering in the west and the ocean was becoming choppy. The smell of salt water assaulted her senses as sand blew into her eyes.  She settled back down but it was useless she needed to shower and get some food in her stomach which had started to protest.

Sarah couldn’t remember the last time she had really splurged on a good meal without having to count the pennies but just once she dreamed of an indulgent meal and this time crikey she was going to have it! Packing up her towel and coconut oil she headed for a shower and a quick massage then food…

Her hair fell down her back like a white fan glistening in the moonlight and she had chosen and ‘ice blue’ chiffon dress to wear and a simple pair of white pearls. She wanted to feel good but worried she may be a little over dressed. As she walked the long winding path to the restaurant wolf whistles and men’s heads turned as she walked past them. If she’s been with ‘jerk face’ as Alice had called him he would have been ordering her to wear something decent! To cover up and not to wear so much make up but not tonight, tonight she was going to have a ball.       

The restaurant was bright and airy with its colourful leas and bright cocktails displayed on the bar. She had ordered lobster  and salad and as she waited she noticed the same dark haired stranger sitting across from her and just for a minute she felt a pang of guilt that two people should eat alone but she couldn’t bring herself to ask him to join her the memory of Tom was too painful.

The lobster was delicious and she vowed to spoil herself more often and the coffee was to die for. As she went to put another forkful of the delicious morsel to her mouth he stood in front of her table.

“Excuse me madam do I know you?”

Sarah nearly burst out laughing the oldest line in the book and you guessed it the same man as before. “I don’t think so,” she replied coldly. “Go suck an egg!” It had popped out of her mouth before she realised. It was a saying they used to use in high school when the geeky boys would hit on them. Her face turned red and she stared at the table cloth so ashamed.

Secretly though she had liked the attention it made her feel like grown up something she hadn’t felt for a long time.

 “If you don’t mind I’d like to be left alone.”

He took a step back and pushed the hair back from his face, she noticed his cheekbones appeared to be chiselled and his lips, full and red.

“I’m sorry.” She mumbled flustered by his dominant presence.

“I really don’t mean to be rude it’s just that… Well this isn’t a really good time for me.” She left it at that.

“As you wish.” His indigo eyes seemed to be searching hers. She shivered as she watched him strut away his shoulders slouched as if he carried the whole world on them.

The week passed quickly and she felt good about herself, relaxed but the stranger kept bothering her, he just seemed to be wherever she was and here he was again. She bent down and scooped up her towel off the banana lounge just as he approached.

“Sorry but I don’t want to talk,” she said politely, moving away.

“Wait, wait I can see that you are unhappy like me I wanted to let you know that I know how you feel. I too have had a break up and don’t want to get involved”

She looked at him surprised “How do you know that?’

His face softened as did his voice. “The pain in your eyes,” he quietly said.

“I really am sorry for the way I have acted you must think I am a rude person?”

“No not at all, just a sad one, “he mused. She noticed his eyes crinkled with a hint of a smile.

Sitting back down on her lounge she offered him the lounge beside her and as they sunbaked they talked about their life in general. He worked in the mines in Mount Isa, a hot dirty job and she told him how she was an assistant manager of MacDonald’s. They were worlds apart she though sadly but he was charming company.

Apparently he was on six weeks leave and didn’t know what to do, his girlfriend had recently dumped him and he thought he may as well spend the money he had put away for his wedding on his relaxation. Sarah couldn’t have agreed with him more.

“Go for it,” she had said. “Indulge you deserve it!”

They talked for hours like old friends and before they knew it was time to eat. They met in the restaurant and talked again, she couldn’t even remember what they had to eat but she had felt his pain. How after three years his girlfriend had just up and left him for her boss she didn’t understand and he was devastated. She felt immense sorrow for him and could tell he was genuinely here to try and forget his past love and mend his broken heart. Two losers she thought sadly.

That night as she snuggled in bed her mobile rang it was Alice.

“Hi sweetie how are you feeling?”

“Much better.”

“Hope you’re over that jerk and having a good time.”

“Oh Alice he wasn’t a jerk…”

“Sure sweetie well just remember the idea is to have a break come back refreshed and ready to face the world again. Oh and a little bit of gossip for you, that skinny bird Tom’s with- did you know she had been in a relationship for over three years?’

“That’s awful! I’ll see you in two days and we can go to that Foo Fighters gig you have been on about.”

The next day she was up early and she felt alive, really alive and she was actually looking forward to seeing Robert. At tea they just seemed to click and now that they had both talked about their failed relationships she felt connected with him and couldn’t wait to see him again. As she sat and sipped her coffee there was no sign of Robert so she called the friendly Indian waiter over.

“Bulla, Robert, Room 414 have you seen him?”

“Oh yes maim’ he had food early left on the five am flight. Bulla.”

 Her appetite plummeted as she pushed the banana smoothie away, she would have thought he’d have said good bye. The sliced mangos decorated with frangipani flowers sat there- she wasn’t hungry any more.

The day passed slowly as she walked alone along the coral beach, the waters rippling like silk sheets on a water bed. She missed his company but she had to be strong they were just ships passing in the night nothing more nothing less and as she waited at Nada airport she reflected on her life.

Head down she boarded her plane not noticing anyone or anything until the passenger beside her gently touched her elbow. As she looked up the dark hair and indigo eyes met her solemn face.

“I couldn’t leave without you,” he said cupping her face in his hands.

 “For some reason I feel connected with you.”

“And I with you. “She replied her voice shaking.

“Do you mind if I continue to see you after we touch down?”

“Mind “she squealed, “I’d be disappointed if you didn’t. “She hugged him with all her strength. Who would have though two lost souls would become one on a holiday meant to forget all about love.

Sarah laughed out loud as she clung to his arm as they walked the tarmac; finally she had found true love even if she had to leave Australia’s fair shores to find it. She couldn’t wait until she told her friends about the eye candy she had discovered and as for Tom he could go suck an egg!

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8 Responses to Teenage Breakthrough, by Vicki Griffin

  1. jboydedu says:

    Nice story but Bulla is actually Bula isn’t it?

  2. victoria wilcox says:

    Ohhh just a little bit picky i really enjoyed the story

  3. Jenny Mathers says:

    I felt grawn into Sarah’s world and related to her story. Tom’s inciteful perception was a breath of fresh air, and I felt Vicki brought him to life in a very emotionally honest way. I would love to read an extended version of the story. Well done!

  4. Hi Vicki, I liked your story and think it would find a home in a paying magazine market. I know it’s about a teenager rediscovering love on the rebound but Sarah comes across (to me) as someone much older than a teenager. Perhaps it’s the language Sarah uses. She just seems a lot older to me. Robert’s obviously a lot older than Sarah, and from a different world – but that is an element frequently used in romantic fiction very successfully to establish one of the elements that separate the couple until they resolve all their issues at the very end. I’d like to know which one of them intends to move to be with the other when they get back. Will Robert toss in his dirty six-figure mining job to head south or will Sarah ask for a transfer to Mt Isa Maccas (I’m presuming they have one there!)? I would like to know more.

  5. vicki griffin says:

    No problem Sharon I’ll let you know the outcome for the two who are so much in love now they have found each other. A paying magazine that would be nice!

  6. vicki griffin says:

    Thank you I feel rather humbled.

  7. Pingback: September Short Story Comp (International Setting) Shortlist | The Australian Literature Review

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