SHORT FICTION

Thursday, 14 January 2016

SHORT STORY-THE POETRY SOCIETY

Here is my first short story of the new year! I will put this story up for sale this coming week. I'll post it when it's ready. It will stay up here for the one week to read for free. I hope you enjoy!

The Poetry Society
 
 
Julia worked in a café to help pay her way through art school. A lot of art students, music majors and writers who were not students hung out in the café. Julia liked the atmosphere since she felt like these where her people who understood her and didn't judge her for what she was studying.
Even her own parents were not too sure about her career choice. Her family thought it was okay as a hobby but for a career choice?
That was why she had to work because there was no financial support for doing what she was doing from her family. Julia was okay with it. she would prove that she could make this work.
One gentleman that came in all the time always sat in the corner writing in what Julia could see as a journal. She never had to ask him what he wanted. It was always a latte and a cranberry scone or one of their muffins. He didn't say much to her but was always friendly and smiled politely. Julia felt like this was his alone time and she got that.
Today he was in a hurry it felt like to her. He came to the counter and quickly ordered what he wanted. Today was just a vanilla flavored coffee and a small pecan bun. Julia watched him sit down and not waste any time in getting to his journal. It appeared he had lots to get down as if he might forget it.
Julia got busy in the café and didn't notice that he had left. She went to clean his table off an discovered that he had left his journal behind. She stared at the leather bound journal. It had an embossed letters on the front-TPS. It looked well worn. Julia looked around and no one was paying any attention so she picked it up and opened it. She felt her face flush. She knew she shouldn't look into someone else's private thoughts. Julia quickly closed it but not before she saw a word that he had written. It was a name and it was her name. She had never told him her name and they didn't wear name tags. He could have heard her name from one of the workers. That was very possible or he knew another Julia.
She clutched onto the journal and decided that he would probably be back for it later on so she took it back and put it with her stuff and if he showed up she would give it to him.
All day she looked for him to come back but he didn't show up. Her shift was going to be over soon. Biting her lip she decided to see if there was any contact info inside. She didn't want to pry but maybe there was something there that she could let him know that his journal was here.
Julia took a deep breath and opened it up on the inside of the cover to see if there was anything. His name was there. "Gabriel," she said out loud. Then she looked at the first page but there was nothing to tell her anything more other than his first name.
She glanced around the room and this time she let her fingers turn the page. The title on the page was The Poetry Society. Julia's shoulders relaxed. This was a poetry book. She didn't feel so bad about opening it but still maybe he didn't share his work. On the next page there was an entry. This was not a poem. It was dated about six months back.
It read,
Dear Julia,
I hope your day is going better than mine. I had another encounter with David. Let me tell you it was awkward. I don't know what I am going to do. It's very frustrating but I can't go on like this. Something will have to give. I wish I could talk to you in person. You always have this way about you that would have the right answers to everything.
There was no more. She turned the page that he had written in before he hurried off. Again it was addressed to Julia.
Dear Julia,
Today is going to be the day. I have found a solution to my problem. I can't wait but first I have to go to the Society and meet with them. It could be grim but I feel confident that everything will be okay. Wish me luck Julia.
There was something stuck in the journal with his last entry. It was a business card. She held it up and read it. The Poetry Society. This was a club? She placed back in the journal. The bells at the door jingled startling her. She felt like she had been caught by Gabriel himself.  
It was another fellow who went to the counter and ordered a latte. Someone from within the café called out the name David. That made Julia's ears perk. The man looked back at them and nodded. He picked up his latte and Julia noticed he had something else in his other hand. Julia knew what it was. It was just like the one she was holding.
Julia put the journal back with her things and went out into the café. She busied herself around the counter, glancing back to where David was sitting.
There was a table nearby that needed cleaning up. It wasn't her table but the other gal was busy and they did help each other out. So, off she went to the table.
It was another man that David was sitting with. A tall skinny dirty blond fellow. He had a leather journal in front of him. Their conversation was quite lively. Then David mentioned the Poetry Society. Julia almost stopped what she was doing but quickly continued on. She did not need for them to know that she was spying on them.
David's friend asked if he was going to the meeting. "Oh yes, I will be there. Tonight is important after all."
His friend smiled. "I think everything will go all right."
David raised an eyebrow. "You think? Gabriel will be there you know."
Julia almost dropped a glass making a clinking noise. It was enough for them to reward her with a glance. She felt her face flush. They went back to their conversation.
She had top get a way. This was none of her business and she needed to get back to work. The other gal came over to help her. "Thanks Julia for the help."
"No problem Jen."
David quickly threw a look her way. She tried to look away but couldn't help but look back at him. Her face got redder. She needed to bolt but Jen needed help in finishing up. It was coming up the busy hour.
Julia cleared her throat. "Yes, do you need something? Another latte?"
He shook his head. "No thank you. You probably have seen another fellow come in here with one of these?"
David held up the leather journal. She looked at it. "Maybe, there are a lot of people that come in here and write in something." She tried to sound casual but felt her voice shake.
The dirty blond fellow watched on intently. David continued. "Yes, that is true but this journal belongs to a society. You won't see many of them."
Julia nodded. "Sorry, I don't remember seeing anyone."
She went to leave but David spoke to her again making her freeze on the spot. "I realize that you see lots of writers and such here every day but I believe that this fellow came here every day. I'm sure you recognize the regulars. He's a tall fellow with dark hair and likes to keep to himself for the most part. Sat in a corner somewhere perhaps?" He gestured around to the back corners and her eyes fell on the spot where Gabriel always sat. They both looked where she was looking.
"That's where he sits?"
She felt this uneasy feeling slip through her gut." I guess. Are you trying to find him or something?"
David shook his head. "No,we will both see him later at our meeting."
Julia looked at him. "Then why ask?"
She didn't mean to come off mean but she didn't want to have any more conversation with David. She looked at them both. "I need to get back to work. It's going to be busy in a while."
They both nodded as she took off. Now she felt really weird. "Was she the Julia in Gabriel's journal and why?" She stayed to the opposite side of the café until both men got up to leave.They both came to the counter. They obviously wanted to take something with them. Jen was not around so she had no choice but to go to the counter. Hopefully they wouldn't ask any more questions.
"What can I get for you?"
David leaned over toward her. "Maybe the truth this time?"
Julia took a step back. He quickly backed off as well. "I'm sorry, I don't mean to make you feel uncomfortable but please be aware of Gabriel. He has had problems in the past and he tends to get fixated on things. Just be careful, that's all."
They both left.
Julia let a breath out that she didn't realize she was holding. She looked back to where she had put the journal. Maybe she should get it and put it out beside the drawer by the cashier. She would tell Jen about it and if he came back while she was gone, she could give it to him.
More people came in and she forgot about it. Tonight was busier than usual. Julia forgot that some exams were now over and everyone was kicking back a bit.
She never noticed until Jen came over to her. "Did you come across any black journal today that somebody left behind?"
Julia's heart skipped a beat. "He's here?"
Jen gave her a confused look. Julia shook her had. "Never mind. I will go talk to him."
Jen shrugged and went off. Julia took a deep breath and went toward the counter. He turned to face her as she came closer.
He nervously smiled at her. She took another deep breath before she spoke. "You left a journal behind?"
He quickly nodded. "Yes, I was wondering if you found it."
Julia nodded. "I might have. Just wait here."
She quickly went to the back to where her stuff was. She could feel his eyes watching her every move. Julia grabbed the journal and had her arm extended out to him before she even got close. He took the journal out of her hand and appeared to be quite relieved to have it back.
Julia stood there for a moment waiting for him to leave. He looked over at her. "Thank you very much for keeping it safe for me."
"You're welcome."
He wasn't moving and suddenly this awkward moment sprouted up between them. "My name is Gabriel," he finally blurted out. "I come here almost every day. I know your name is Julia. You're always nice to me."
Now David's words were whispering in her ear about being careful with Gabriel. Was he a creeper?
She looked around the room but everything appeared to be under control. She could make like she had to go though. It would work. He continued on.
"There is something about you that keeps bringing me back. I want to talk to you but never have the courage. I don't mean to come across as some weirdo but maybe sometime we can talk, right here?"
Julia was at a loss for words. "I suppose so but I don't have many breaks here, just to let you know."
"That's okay, maybe when you're getting off work?"
"I should get going, the place is busy tonight. I'll see you around."
He nodded and then turned to leave but not before watching her walk away like he was holding on to her for just a little while longer.
Julia didn't know what to make of Gabriel. Maybe he was just a really shy guy. She thought back to David and that other guy's conversation. There was something major going on at the club tonight. She wondered what it was and where they met.
Julia sighed. It didn't matter anyway, she wasn't going there. It sounded kind of snobby and kind of a rich boy's club she thought.
Her shift was almost up and she could leave. She was tired and ready to go back to her loft and chill out with some junk food and a Coke. She grabbed her stuff and bid everyone a good night and left the café. She didn't get too far when she heard a familiar voice. She turned around and there was Gabriel. Suddenly, she could hear David's words warning her loud and clear.
"Look, I'm sorry but I'm tired and I really just want to go home and relax. Okay?"
Gabriel nodded. "I understand of course but would you permit me to walk you home?"
She shook her head. He did not need to know where she lived.
"I don't think that is a very good idea."
"I understand. Maybe we could go to a public place. I know a nice place where you could relax."
Julia shook her head. "I don't think so."
"I promise if you do this, I will never bother you again."
He was sounding desperate. She sighed. "Okay," she said against her better judgement. "It's a public place?"
"Oh yes, there will be lots others there."
They walked side by side in silence but Gabriel, she noticed had a livelier step. She was guessing she had made his day.
They arrived at a small club. It was one of those fancy ones that Julia could never afford to go to. As soon as she entered she could smell the leather and the wood. The carpet underneath was plush as her feet sank.
"Come this way," he said smiling.
They went into a room filled with mostly men. There was a few women but she still felt outnumbered.
She spied David and the dirty blond fellow. They had not seen her yet. Gabriel took her to a table that was for two. A few looked over  at them and she knew that she was the outsider. This was an exclusive club.
A well-dressed waiter came over and Gabriel ordered two wines. "I hope that is okay. The wine here is very nice,."
"One glass will be okay." She wanted to bolt out of this room but felt chained to the chair.
Gabriel smiled warmly at her. "I don't want you to feel creeped out. This is the Poetry Society club. It is very old and just recently let women join. That's why you don't see many ladies here."
"I see that but why did you invite me here. I'm not a poet. I'm an artist."
He nodded. "I thought you were one who painted and such. But we all can enjoy some poetry every once in a while, right?"
Julia couldn't help but let out a small laugh. "I guess so. Is there going to be a reading?"
"Yes, there is and I am one of the ones tonight giving a reading."
"Really, you're braver that me to stand up in front of all these people." She didn't think he would be either.
"Well, actually this is my first time. "That is why I wanted to bring you here. This is a big event for me."
"You wanted to share this moment with me? I'm flattered but we don't even know each other."
"I know but this could be a start, could it not? I promise you will like it."
Julia listened to some older gentleman give a little speech and announced it was going to be some performance by their members. The first up was a woman. Her performance was a live performance  piece of poetry. She was a little surprised to see that here. Up next was the young fellow that was with David. That was when David saw her.
She felt him stare at her but she didn't look at him. He finally gave his attention to his friend who started to recite his piece.
After everyone clapped, Gabriel was up next. Julia felt a bit nervous for him being this his first time. Gabriel on the other hand appeared to be relaxed. He stood up in front of everybody and looked right at Julia. He started to recite his piece and it felt like they were the only ones in the room.
He spoke of a past love that had broken his heart and now his heart was mended because of a new love. He had everything to live for because of her. But then the tone of  the poem changed. She was lost like he was and he couldn't reach out to her. He tried and tried but it was no use. Julia wondered where this was going. His little poem ended in tragedy. His new love had taken her life leaving him all alone. This was horrible and why was he telling this to her?
The last stanza explained it to her.
He had found someone to write to even though this person didn't know it. They had been kind to him and gave him sun in his dark world. Now Julia felt like she was that person who gave him light in his darkness. Was he really talking about her?
His last words were-My true love for real this time has come to me but it will not be easy. This new love has to be given the chance to get to know me and given a chance to love me back. I hope she will take it. For an everlasting love to survive, it must be pure and felt from both loves.
Everyone clapped when he stepped off the stage. Julia felt stunned as he sat back down. The older gentleman got back up and started to speak but Julia didn't hear anything he said. She was staring at Gabriel. He smiled at bit nervously at her. "I know what you are thinking. I told the truth that I did lose someone very close to me but I think you are the one that is supposed to be in my life. Are you willing to find out with me?
Julia took in a shaky breath. "Give me time to think about it, okay? This is all sudden and very new to me." Then she thought about what he had written in his journal. She decided to confess that she had read some of it. He didn't say anything and she said she was sorry for looking but had to know if she was the Julia he was writing to.
He nodded. "I heard Jen say your name and it just happened. I was going through the loss of losing Sarah and writing to you made things better."
She nodded and was okay with that. "There is one more thing. You had talked about a David. You didn't know what to think about him or do with him. I met  a David at the café. Is this the same David that is here tonight?"
Gabriel nodded. "Yes, it is. We were at odds with Sarah at the time and he thought I had not done enough to save her. But there was nothing I could do."
"Oh, I see. Then why would he warn me about you? Him and his friend that were at the café were quite insistent  about it."
"I guess he doesn't want to see anything happen to you like Sarah?" He cleared his throat.
"David had some trust issues with me but I think after tonight that has all changed."
Julia didn't know what to think. But when things were wrapping up David and his friend came over and spoke to them. "Nice of you to come tonight. I'm sure this was a different experience for you."
Julia nodded. "Yeah it was but it was okay. I liked it."
"Good, I'm glad." He then turned his attention to Gabriel. "I'm glad that you have moved on from Sarah. I hope this time it is much better for you."
"Thank you David and congratulations on your appointment."
"Thank you and also for the support. It meant a lot."
Julia thought things appeared to be okay with the two of them now. The two of them walked on after that leaving the two of them alone. Julia wanted to ask some more about Sarah but then decided not to push it.
Gabriel walked her out and he got her a cab to take her home. As the cab pulled up another gal from the club raced out. "Do you mind if we share a cab?"
She looked at Gabriel. "Hi Gabe, nice performance tonight."
"Thanks."
Julia and the other girl got into the cab. She looked up at Gabriel who said, "I will see you at the café."
She nodded and they drove off.
The other girl looked at her. "Are you joining the club?"
Julia smiled. "No, I got enough on my plate. I'm an artist not a poet."
"I see. Are you dating Gabriel?"
"No, not yet. I'm taking it slow with him."
She nodded. "That is a good plan I think, given his history."
"What history?"
She sighed. "Poor Gabe, he has such a big heart you know, but he just got over a loss of a loved one you know."
"That's what I heard from him," said Julia. "His last loved died. That's tragic."
The cab had reached her place and stopped. Julia was about to get out when she spoke again to her. "I'm not sure what you heard but she didn't die."
"What happened then?"
She looked away fro a moment and then looked right back at her. "Sarah use to go with David and then she left him for Gabriel. Sarah felt guilty about what she did to David and then she announced something to both of them. She was becoming a man. Gabriel tried to talk her out of it and David told him to get her to stop. But she didn't listen to either one of them. She went a head with it. It broke Gabriel's heart."
Julia was stunned. "How come he said she died?"
She shrugged. "I guess in his eyes , she did die. My name is Serena. I'm transgender. I use to be Simon. David thought that I had made a mistake and so did Gabriel, just like they thought about Sarah. In the end it was my choice. This is who I am." Serena smiled. "I wish you the best of luck with Gabriel."
Julia got out of the cab shutting the door. She watched the cab drive off.
She sighed. What a day. Julia walked into her loft apartment and flopped on the couch thinking about what Serena had told her. She wasn't sure what she was going to with Gabriel but she knew one thing. She would have to tell him who she was before.


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