The Gap

A story a day until there’s a sleigh! This holiday season, I’m sharing a new flash fiction piece inspired by a holiday song every day of December until Christmas. Today’s story is inspired by Linus And Lucy

Darryl knew this about himself–he could keep a beat with his hips better than most Christmas light displays set to electronic music. His sense of rhythm kept him confident on the timpani in the orchestra and, so far that night, confident on the dance floor of the Starry Brook High School Winter Formal.

But in his most vivid dreams, and he had many at that age, he could have never imagined his confidence resulting in this: the rear of his long time nemesis, Cindy, bouncing to and fro, mere inches from his own gyrating pelvis.

Sure, Cindy had yet to say hello to him nor had she looked him in the eye once, but over the course of the evening, as one bad pop song wove into the next, she’d drawn closer and closer, starting at first across the gymnasium and then one dance group over from his, then across from him in his circle of orchestra friends, and finally, when couples had paired off, she’d backed up to him like this–reversing like a truck to a loading dock. 

She danced close enough that Darryl may have been able to smell her shampoo if it weren’t for the fact that he was covered in his own sweat and other crusted on funk. Yes, he was definitely regretting not taking his mom’s advice to “maybe shower once this week, Darryl.” 

One song ended fading seamlessly into another with a similar bump and grind beat. Cindy didn’t pause her hips but threw a look over her shoulder at him. Darryl swallowed hard. His body wanted desperately to close the gap, but his mind was focused on the many ways Cindy might reject him if he was reading the situation wrong: calling him a litany of names like she often had when they were younger. 

Despite his misgivings, he edged closer to her, turning inches into centimeters and still making sure no part of him touched her–a torture as delicious as spiked egg nog pie. 

In the end, it was neither Darryl nor Cindy who bridged the gap, but the indirect force of a fumbling flautist, who’d indulged in one too many shots of Peppermint Schnapps in the parking lot. She tripped over a discarded stiletto and careened into Daryl who was thrust forward so that the entire front of his body connected with the backside of Cindy. The flautist fell to the floor, but Darryl and Cindy stayed upright and connected as if by hot glue straight from the gun. 

The bump and grind song ended and a slow one came on. Cindy turned toward him–the moment of truth, but instead of calling him a butt head, she said only this, “Merry Christmas.” 

It certainly was. 

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