All this month here at NitWitty we’re showing you, dear reader, the process of writing short fiction, from creation to editing to the final draft. Here is my contribution to this effort, with the original on the first page, and the version with editorial comments on the next. If you want to make comments of your own, feel free at the end.
>hey Alie, are you up?
>Got a minute to talk?
The light of his screen died before an answer blinked back.
<What do you want Mike?
>i wanna talk
<What makes you think that I want to talk to you right now?
Alie’s answer buzzed onto Mike’s phone, over a website where he looked for flowers in the discount page.
>i miss you
There was no answer for several long minutes, and then Mike called her on the phone. It rang twice and then went to voicemail. He didn’t leave a message.
<Don’t call me.
>but you’re answering now
<It’s probably a mistake.
<Why don’t you go call whatever her name is?
>Because I dont want to talk to her.
<Wrong answer Mike.
Alie pulled up a search for attorneys in her area, and scowled when none of the pages had prices listed.
>i wanna talk to you about what happened.
<We’re talking now.
>no we’re not. Is that what you call this?
<Look, I don’t know what you’re doing now Mike, but it’s late and I don’t really have the time for this.
>i wanna make the time.
>i miss you
He stared at the screen for a long time, trying to decide if he should add an emoji to the text.
<So apologize Mike. Just admit you did something fucked up and I’ll think about working on it.
>im not gonna apologize
<Then we don’t have anything to talk about.
Alie continued to look up lawyers, focusing now on what was involved in scoring a restraining order. Then the phone buzzed in her hand again.
>i didn’t sleep with her
She looked the message until the screen faded, but the echo of the message hung in front of her eyes.
<Don’t lie to me. I saw the texts.
<Tell me the truth.
>Me and Kim, we hung out a few times
>after a few times hanging out, we got drunk and fooled around.
>but that was all
<Fuck you Mike.
>we didn’t hook up Alie
<You would have if I didn’t catch you.
<Stop texting me Mike.
>no Alie, I’m not gonna stop.
>i love you
<If you loved me you wouldn’t have been screwing around on me.
Mike stared at his phone in shock.
>if you had loved me you didn’t show it
<Oh, so now it’s my fault that you started seeing somebody behind my back Mike? You’re un-fucking believable.
<Please, do tell. This should be funny.
>You’re never there.
>I’m trying to save our marriage and I can only talk to you through a text.
<I was always there.
>Doing what Alie?
<You can’t blame me for this. Instead of talking to me, you went behind my back.
<You were the one who went on these dates and probably talked about how your wife is some kind of super bitch.
>No we just talked.
<If you can’t tell me about what you talked about, how can I trust you.
>No. I mean we talked about nothing.
>Just like, our day and shit.
<We do that.
>we come home and sit around watching tv
>we don’t talk
<Stop trying to justify yourself Mike. You’re just going to piss me off even more.
Finally, Alie had found was she was looking for and was halfway through dialing the number when another text popped up.
<If you hadn’t cheated on me, you wouldn’t be.
>i was lonely before
>i missed you even when you were around Alie
<We spent time together Mike. Trips, nights, weekends, all of it.
>Being there isn’t the same thing as being present.
Mike’s phone blinked and another message appeared.
<hey Mike, how’s the talk goin?
>not great Kim
<call me later?
<we’ll figure it out for you. okay?
Alie’s response blinked over Kim’s.
<I can’t trust you anymore Mike. Instead of just talking to me about how you were feeling you went and found somebody else.
<For a relationship to work, both people need to want it.
<I’ve invested 5 years into this thing, and when you do something like this, I just can’t.
>its not about putting in time and having a relationship work
>we hardly even talk anymore.
>you wanna know what the secret is?
>Kim just wanted to spend time with me
>She wants to share thoughts
>She dreams big ideas with me
>You seem to think that being in a relationship is just a check box to your perfect fucking life
>But it’s not Alie. It’s not enough because there are 2 people in it
<That’s bullshit. If this was all so important, then why didn’t you talk to me about it?
>Like, when you’re always on your phone?
>Or on business trips?
>Or the other million things that are more important?
Alie wiped the angry tears from her eyes, while the screen cast blue light through the room.
<Mike, I need you to listen to me.
<I’m sorry if I wasn’t very good at being a wife.
<Maybe if I had known this before, if we had found a way to talk about this before.
<If I had made some time, we could’ve fixed it.
<But instead of giving me a chance, you went to someone else.
<…and then I found you together.
<What you’re asking for is going to be a lot of work.
<I love you
<Some part of me will always love you.
<But I can never trust you again.
<So I can’t trust that all of that work will amount to anything.
<So I’m not going to do it.
<Don’t text me again.
<I don’t want to be with you anymore.
Mike watched as the screen went dark, and put the phone away.
Up next, the story and the edits.