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The Innocent Hug

jaxx sullivan

9 Oct 2023

Flash Fiction

1988


“Carmel, give your uncle Henry a hug.”


“I don’t want to give him a hug. I don’t know him.”


“He’s your uncle, give him a hug to say hello. He hasn’t seen you for a while. He’ll be so sad if you don’t give him a hug, won’t you Henry.”


Carmel stood frozen to the floor, the soles of her school shoes were like two magnets pulling her into the earth’s core. Her arms were rooted into their sockets like branches on a tree, solid, as her uncle leaned down to put his arms around her.


“See Carmel, it’s only a hug that wasn’t so bad was it Let’s all go and get some ice cream.”


2000


“Happy new year Carmel! You look beautiful tonight,” Carl decided tonight was the night that he would kiss Carmel. They’d been friends for a while now and he wanted to take the leap into something more and he thought she wanted the same.


“Happy new year Carl!” Carmel threw her arms around him to give him a hug and just as she pulled away, he leaned in and started kissing her.


After what felt like forever, she pulled away, shocked by his bold move.


“Eh, I have to go guys. Enjoy the rest of your night.” Carmel said goodbye to the group, including Carl, ashamed to look at him.


Why did she let him kiss her? Why did he think it was ok to? Why didn’t she say something? Was it the alcohol? She didn’t feel drunk. Tears started to fall from her eyes as the music began to fade behind her and her thoughts became louder in her head. Wait. She stopped. Was she over-reacting? Was it her fault for leading him on? Had she been too nice? Her stomach squirmed and she noticed. A familiar feeling of unease crept around her body. She listened to herself, hailing a cab to take her home.


 by jaxx sullivan ©

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