Ruby & Mitch by Emily Ward

INSIDE OF CIRCUS TENTlandscape-78053_640

RUBY and MITCH (two teenagers, perhaps no more than 17) are
standing around a roped-off area; above them a group of
aerialists perform dazzling tricks on silks and ropes. RUBY
is wearing eclectic clothing; her socks are wildly mismatched
and her linen jacket is wrinkled but well-cared for. MITCH is
more pristine, the lines of his careful button-down neatly
pressed. They are standing close enough to each other to
suggest comfort and tension, but far enough from each other
to suggest embarrassment.

After a moment of silence:

MITCH
I – I, uh – I’m sorry, I didn’t mean –

RUBY
No, no, it’s fine, I shouldn’t have –

MITCH
I just… Kenna told me that you –

RUBY
Well, you know Kenna. She’s always saying –

MITCH
Yeah, but this time… she said
something about you and –

RUBY
What?

MITCH
Uh, just that, you know… That you
wouldn’t mind being kissed.

RUBY
Well, she was right –

MITCH
(with stunned
disbelief)
She was right?

RUBY ignores the implication for the moment.

RUBY
What girl doesn’t want to be
kissed, Mitch? … Was that all?

MITCH shakes himself slightly and gulps to regain his
courage.

MITCH
And, uh, that… you wouldn’t mind
being kissed… by me.

A heavier pause now as MITCH watches Ruby’s upturned profile.
She blushes under his stare but keeps her attention on the
twirling aerialists.

RUBY
(with the air of
one thinking ‘f**k
it’)
Yeah. She wasn’t wrong.

This is a pleasant surprise for Mitch. His bottom lip
trembles and Ruby finally turns to look at him.

MITCH
Ruby, I – I didn’t mean to overstep
a boundary, you know, earlier –

RUBY
You, um. You didn’t.

MITCH
So… it was OK?

RUBY gives him a small smile and surprises him further by
reaching for his hand and slowly weaving her fingers between
his. They share a smile. RUBY then turns to gaze up at the
aerialists.

RUBY
Aren’t they beautiful?

MITCH smiles and steps closer to her, gripping her hand a
little more tightly.

MITCH
Very… They remind me of birds.

RUBY
Crows or sparrows?

MITCH
(with a chuckle)
More like parrots.

RUBY hums and focuses on a particular aerialist who is moving
fluidly through his silk, jolting his limbs in a way that
looks akin to jumping.

RUBY
That one looks like a flying
squirrel.

MITCH
Cousin to a monkey.

RUBY laughs and looks up at him.

RUBY
You’re the monkey!

MITCH
I do take my bananas very
seriously.

RUBY watches him for a moment with a combination of
bemusement and wonder.

RUBY
You’re allowed to, you know.

MITCH
I’m allowed to what?

RUBY
Kiss me again.

MITCH just stares at her for a moment, his gaze lingering and
softening. Taking utmost care, he leans forward to brush his
lips against hers. RUBY and MITCH fold into each other, their
lines blurring; it becomes impossible to tell where one of
them ends and other begins.

A second later, the aerialists finish their dance. At the
sudden burst of applause, RUBY and MITCH look up, wondering
if the people are clapping for them. But when the teens
realize that they are just another part of the backdrop, they
smile at each other, lost in the silk.

A hippie-stuck-in-the-21st-century with an unhealthy addiction to pomegranates, Emily Ward spends the better part of her time spewing out short stories and soon-to-be-novels instead of doing her homework. She contributes a variety of things to Germ and is always more than willing to talk about the underlying themes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Wonder Boys.  You can reach her at emily@germmagazine.com or on her tumblr.

SIMILAR ARTICLES

NO COMMENTS

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.