Furious Fiction – December 2020

The brief of the AWC Furious Fiction—December 2020 short story competition was as follows:

  • Your story has to include a GIFT of some kind.
  • Your story’s first sentence has to contain only THREE WORDS.
  • Your story has to include the following words: PALM, MATCH and ROSE.

***

Gifts

“It’s from me!”

I forced a gracious smile on my face after unwrapping a birthday gift I picked up off the table from my co-worker, Rose. It was a so-called self-help book on how to be a happy, single independent woman, who is in no need for a man. I found this gift a bit rich considering I’ve been her match-making project for years, mostly with her nephews.

I turned and walked back to my work station, pretending to smile so she wouldn’t notice my disdain and disappointment, even more so as this wasn’t the first “helpful” gift that I received today. Apparently if you’re still a single woman at 30, even in the third decade of the twenty-first century, you’re still an old maid but you can be “happy” about it now.

All I want to do is get through the day and go out with my family, who will actually make me feel good about my milestone, unlike my coworkers, I swear they’re trying to get rid of me. I shake my head in anger when my favourite coworker, Hayley, comes back from the manager’s meeting.

“Hey lovel….oh god, this is what everyone gave you?! Really!” She said, reducing her loud, warm greeting to a whisper when she saw all the “gifts” on my desk.

“Well, you’ll love mine even more, happy birthday!” She said with excitement, handing me a gold envelope.

I opened up the envelope to see a voucher for a free full pamper day at Palm Spa.

“We’re going tomorrow, and I’m your Acting Manager, I want no arguments from you.” She said, joking with a demanding but loving tone.

“You hear that everyone, these two ‘old maids’ are getting pampered tomorrow, so you’ll be covering for us!” Hayley yelled out to everyone, with most of them clearly uncomfortable that they had been called out.

I didn’t try hard to hide my smile as we walked into her office for our meeting, it was funny how we went from not getting along, to frenemies, and then best friends during our tenure at the office.

After a lifetime of difficulty making friends, Hayley’s friendship is the best gift I’ve ever received.

 

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