Your Story 70: Winner!

  • Prompt: Write a short story, of 700 words or fewer, that begins with the following sentence: The difference is, I lie for a reason.

Once again, you’ve made the Your Story competition a success! Thanks to everyone who participated in competition #70 (either by entering, reading or voting).

Out of more than 550 entries, readers helped us pick “About a Boy” by Melissa Bowers as the winner. For winning, Bowers’ story will appear in an upcoming issue of Writer’s Digest.

Winning Entry

“About a Boy”

by Melissa Bowers


The difference is, I lie for a reason.

You’re not telling the truth either. I know that. When you lie, it’s about ridiculous things: you don’t actually wear a size thirteen shoe, big man, and I still nod along when you tell people you’re only twenty-eight. I saw your license a long time ago, honey—I snuck it out of your fancy leather bifold after our fourth “one-night stand”—and you’re thirty-two, like me.

We’re more alike than you realize.

Yesterday, you fingered the hem of my yellow dress, still hanging delicately in our closet. “Wear this one,” you suggested, and so I slipped it on while you watched, winked as you reached for my smooth, slender thigh. We pushed into the passion that everyone claimed would eventually fade.

People said there would be a seven-year itch. They said we would tire of each other. But the seventh was our best year, so what the hell do they know? I bought that new car. You finally landed the job you’d been eyeing since you were actually twenty-eight. We upgraded from a two-bedroom to a three-bedroom.

“Maybe it’s time to talk about it,” you murmured from the floor, gesturing around the room we’d just christened. “There’s plenty of space now.”

“The apartment is beautiful,” I said.

“We’ll paint it blue. Or pink,” you conceded, kissing me, refusing to be dodged. “I know you’ve always wanted a little girl.”

“I don’t know if I’m ready,” I said, but what I meant was I don’t know how to tell you.

I was wearing that yellow dress when we met. Do you remember how it snagged against your watch as I brushed past? The dime-sized hole in the skirt as we disentangled ourselves? “I’m so sorry. Let me pay to fix it,” you said. And then, with a wicked smirk, “But first, can’t we rip that dress in a few other places? Gotta get my money’s worth, you know.”

I wasn’t sure if I should be offended. It was the first time I knew what it was like to feel cheap. I’d never been catcalled or degraded or even flirted with in this way, and so I decided to act intrigued. Later, you apologized: You were nervous. You panicked when our eyes met. Thank you for giving me a chance, you said. Thank you for pretending it wasn’t the worst pickup line you’d ever heard. I was such an idiot.

You never did pay to mend the dress, so I had it repaired. The stitches on the underside almost match; but if you looked a little more closely—really examined them—you’d notice they’re a slightly different shade of yellow. Rogue threads buried beneath swaths of fabric. A nearly invisible scar, like the ones I earned from my surgery a year before we met.

Last night, I reached behind myself and unzipped the dress while you were in the shower. I’m still surprised by the sight of my breasts, the vacant space between my hips. My doctors were talented. Somehow, they did exactly what I’d always wanted.

It looks realistic even to me.

You whistled from behind the rain glass, dirty water pouring down the tiles like tears. “Lookin’ hot, baby,” you said. While you admired the curves and swells of my skin, I released my ponytail and let my hair down, slowly, just the way you like it. “Your body still blows me away, even after all this time.”

“Me, too,” I murmured, too quietly for you to hear.

You opened the shower door: an invitation. “Why don’t we talk some more about what to do with that third bedroom?”

I can’t give you a child. Even the most talented doctors cannot perform those kinds of miracles.

“I’ll think about it,” I lied, stepping toward you through a heavy wall of steam.

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