Practicing Dialogue

by Paula Hunter, Learner, Writing Workshops

After dinner Jonathan drank most of Andrea’s vodka, then she took him to his bed. They tried. He was flaccid. Outside, the shouts and laughter from the other volunteers, drinking and playing cards. Andrea and Jonathan lay face up, naked, shared a cigarette, their shins covered by a portion his dirty sleeping bag, the ceiling lit by a candle on his bedside table. Andrea let out a laugh overhearing a conversation on the other side of the door. Jonathan looked over at her and smiled.

Andrea sat up and took the Lego Christmas tree off the shelf above his bed. “Where did you get this?”

“My sister.”

Andrea lay back down, passing the cigarette to Jonathan.

“Hhm. So you celebrate Christmas?”

“Yup”, Jonathan took a long drag of the cigarette.

“So you believe in God?” Andrea asked.

“I guess so.”

“Just in it for the gifts?”

“I like the story.”

“I like the story too. Do you believe in heaven and hell, that part of the story?” Andrea asked, turning over to face him.

Jonathan sat up, reached for the cigarettes at the end of the bed, lit another one, took a long drag and lay back down. “What do you mean?” he asked passing the cigarette to Andrea.

“I mean, do you think that if you’re fucking perfect you’re going to heaven and if you’re not, well, off to hell it is.”

“I think we’d better get some sleep. I need to sleep.” Jonathan rolled over to face the wall.

Andrea put the cigarette out, draped her arm over Jonathan’s waist kissing his neck, her other hand holding onto the Lego tree like a children’s favorite stuffed animal. “Well, I think you’re fucking perfect, nothing to worry about.”

Paula’s piece was written for Ann Ireland’s online short fiction writing course: ‘Short Fiction Writing – Level I’ (CWWR 410).

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