K.E. Strokez



photo of an ornate key with the words Keys: a short story by K.E. Strokez.

When you get dumped: you feel ugly, stupid and inadequate.

When you get dumped: a wave of loneliness appears. Cripples your limbs, lifts you up towards the ceiling in denial, and then systematically begins to drown you. And your brain goes into panic mode.

Oxygen! I need oxygen!”

But there’s no air down here!”


The water is your fear of the emotions attacking you. They come with memories: backup, in case you think you can fight back. And you want to forget it all. But the room you’re stuck in has no windows and one airtight door with two locks.

And it’s like only I have the keys.

First: to your very real need to go some place were no one can see you cry

And second: .to your self-confidence. Because I over-dress, talk funny and have no sense of fashion.

I unlock the door and the water comes pouring out. I’m immune to it cos I don’t know what it’s like to have those tears.

When you get dumped, you fall on me.

Because no one will believe that you – of all people – could even look at me that way. Short, fat, acne scars all over my face and (to those who don’t know) we appear to be the same sex.

But you know the reason why I’m fat is because I can’t go to gym class or swim with everyone else. Cos of the locker room situation, and, of course...someone might notice things aren’t...”the same” as everyone else when everyone lines up next to the pool or whatever.

I can’t be part of the world that prizes you, but you will impose yourself on mine.

Because I’m the “safer” option after “him”. The one who can do pretty much the same stuff, but can’t get you pregnant.

You break my bones every time you land on me.

The first time it happened I was thrilled. And then I realized what it had been. The second time I thought you’d changed, and then realized you were forming a pattern.

The third time I told myself that I was using you back. You got a secret rebound: I got laid. Simple as that. And even freaks have needs, am I right?

The fourth time I cried out of guilt and you left, because that wasn’t the arrangement. YOU’RE supposed to be the temporarily-sad one and I’M supposed to be the “always sad but will cheer you up” one.

I swear to pain...make someone laugh once and it’s all they want you to do for the rest of your life.

And then I met someone and felt happy for the first time ever. And you were… not jealous...angry, actually. Mad at me for flipping the script.

“Don’t come crying to me when that slut dumps you,” quoth thee when I said you had to sleep on the couch while we took my room.

I hope your foot is okay from when you slammed the door as you stormed out.

But the next time you get dumped? Lose my number.

The #WriteOtherThings challenge, explained.

Post an original thing that's not characteristic of your work at all. In the interest of breaking the monotony of one's genre, of course. Leaving one's creative comfort zone.

So I picked the tail-end of a badly-executed romance, based on a true story.

Thanks for reading this! Now show me yours.

Tags: Short Stories Throwback Thursday

About K.E. Strokez

I dream up worlds and try to help others live in them.

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Image with text that reads You guy: a thing happened.

Project Linked Update 3

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