This epistolary story by 8th grade student Annika Inampudi ‘21, written as a bonus exercise for English class with Ms. Alexandra Mahoney, won a Scholastic Art & Writing National Gold Medal for Flash Fiction. Annika will be honored at an award ceremony at Carnegie Hall in June 2017. Enjoy this gripping story!
When you read this, I will have transcended from this world onto the next. But I need to share my story with you, for you to share it with generations beyond your own. I wish to create a lasting impact on this world, to make small girls envious of our story, and to make little boys run away in disgust. It is my last wish. Please, go to my study and take the wooden box from the second shelf. Do not open it. Let me tell you our story first.
50 years ago, we were the best love story in the south of France: The elusive foreign girl and the local heartthrob. I was studying medicine in the local University, and his father owned a bakery on the pier. I remember our first ever meeting. I had gone to get a cake for my roommate’s birthday. I walked into the small beachside store, the faint jingle of the door indicating that someone had arrived. He was at the counter, idly pressing buttons on the old cash register. He noticed me and visibly brightened. When he looked up, the thing that most astounded me were his eyes. When you looked into them, the entire world seemed to stop and fall apart.
“Welcome to Avec d’Amour Pâtisserie, how may we help you?”
I forget what cake I chose, and even the name of my roommate whose birthday it was, but I still remember the exchange we had right after:
“Thank you for shopping-” he paused, posing a question.
I answered it. “Nina Voleur.”
He smiled cautiously, traitorous dimples forming on his cheeks, before saying, “Is there a date that comes with this cake, Nina Voleur?”
I remember wanting to say no, because my mother had told me never to go out with strangers. But then I truly looked at him (truly looked) and said the fateful words that changed everything: “Yes, there is.”’
One thing lead to another and it soon was a whirlwind romance. His name was Victor Rubare, and was everything I never had. I truly loved him. I was mesmerized by the miracle of him, from the curve of his lips to his startling blue eyes. I found myself spending more time at Avec D’Amour, each day growing longer as our love grew stronger.
There was a small thing that kept me up during the nights and occupied my mind during the days. I truly loved Victor– I loved the way he talked and walked and told me stories about the sea, although he’d never been there himself. It was fascinating, for I thought no one could ever love him as much as I. And then I realized that they could. Anyone could love him as much as I and maybe even more. Victor Rubare would never be mine until he couldn’t be anyone else’s. His face and soul and heart were displayed to the whole world, and anyone could take him away from me.
One day, whilst at Avec D’Amour, I watched an exchange between him and a customer. I saw his eyes linger on her even after she left the store. Perhaps it was a trick of mind, I had thought to myself. Has this happened before? Had I not noticed it? I needed to put an end to this.
I cornered him after work in the alleyway behind Avec L’Amour. No words, all silence. I watched him try to plead, try to tell me that it was okay. I don’t understand why. I assumed he wanted the same. He would finally be mine. Forever. I fingered the knife in my pocket. Sharp edges, stainless steel, a fierce beating in my heart. It seemed sinful to taint a knife so pure. Nevertheless, I started. Slowly I plunged the knife into his chest, three inches to the north of his heart, three inches to the south, three inches to the east, and three inches to the west. I watched the life drain from his eyes, the blue eyes I loved so very dearly. Carefully, precisely, I connected the dots that I made, peeling the skin away, I smiled, snapped the ribs, and took the heart out of his body, cut out the veins and arteries until all I had left was the heart, bright and red and beautiful– it was dead and alive at the same time, and I loved it. He had stolen my heart, and I had now stolen his. It is mine forever.
Now, my dearest Margaret, open the box.