Writing Challenge — The Reluctant “I”

The Challenge:

In 800 words and in under an hour, write a scene or a story from the first person point-of-view. However, you can only use the first person pronoun (I, me, or my) two times (excepting in another character’s dialogue), but the first person character must remain an important part of the story.

There were probably close to a thousand reasons not to be driving to Maxx’s house at two o’clock in the morning on a Tuesday. Nevertheless, I was nearing the halfway point along the fifty mile stretch of Route 84 that ran between Hunlee and Cedarville, Alabama. This particular fifty mile expanse of highway had been shunned and forgotten by civilization and offered passersby nothing to see but never-ending acres of open field and an occasional patch of forest.

The only attraction along the blank slate was the halfway point between Hunlee and Cedarville. Twenty-five miles from anything even resembling civilization, sat a small cluster of buildings. There were no intersecting roads, so there was no use for a stop light. The highway simply cut through the center of the group of buildings with nothing but a swinging caution light to acknowledge its existence. With no houses or side roads to lead anywhere in sight, the halfway spot seemed to have been built for no other reason than to provide weary travelers with something to look at other than a sea of green and a long stretch of pavement.

It was an unsettling place to be with a broken radio, an empty passenger seat, and no cell phone signal. Which is why it had taken Maxx twenty minutes to convince me to make the drive. Having not spoken to each other in over six weeks, his phone call was a surprise. His invitation an even bigger surprise. When a guy catches his fiancé cheating on him with his best friend three weeks before the planned wedding, the line of communication gets severed pretty quickly. After six weeks of not hearing from him, it had seemed like the line would remain severed.

It was impossible to imagine what he could want. He wouldn’t say over the phone. He’d just said that he’d had a really long day and didn’t feel like making the drive, but there were some things he wanted to talk about. There are certain bodily reactions that go on inside a person when they’re both emotionally hopeful and terrified at the same time. Butterflies in the stomach, heart in the throat, the inability to sit still. None of these things do anything to improve a fifty mile drive in the middle of the night.

The twin headlight beams seemed to pull the car along, bright against the blacktop. That along with a lack of sleep and the impenetrable walls of darkness along each side of the road coalesced to create an almost hypnotic feeling. It made it easy to imagine how people could fall asleep at the wheel. The only thing tough enough to battle the allure of sleep was not knowing what Maxx wanted to talk about. Could he forgive what had happened? Did he want to talk about it? Maybe try to work things out? The past six weeks had been spent in a constantly revolving state of excruciating pain and complete numbness, and it had provided plenty of time to regret and agonize over what had happened. Alcohol is an evil concoction, but it was too late for making excuses.

There was really no way to be prepared for the unknown, and somehow the fifty miles were already coming to an end. The glow of Cedarville was bright in the distance, like a light at the end of a tunnel. Ten minutes later, pulling into his driveway, it seemed like the excruciatingly long drive had taken no longer than five minutes. Definitely not a good time to puke, though it seemed like an amazing idea.

He came out onto the porch when he heard the car in the drive, and he was wearing nothing but a pair of running pants. His eyes squinted in the headlights until they clicked off with the ignition. There wasn’t a smile on his face, but he didn’t really look mad anymore either. Was that a spark of hope?

“Hey,” he said as he walked toward the driveway. His bare feet were cushioned by a thick carpet of grass. The moonlight reflected off the broad planes of his shoulders, but his face was hidden by shadows.


Silence and awkwardness followed.

“So, I’m glad you could come over. I know it’s late,” he finally said, looking at his watch. 3:35am.

“Oh no. It’s fine. Really.”

Finally he made eye contact and held it for what seemed like forever. The tears were automatic, and they stung.

He reached out his hand.

“So, I just wanted to say that I still fucking hate you for what you did, but I wanted to pay back the money your parents lent me when I had to have the transmission replaced in my car last year.” A check for $750 dollars lay in his palm.




2 thoughts on “Writing Challenge — The Reluctant “I”

    • Thanks. It was a lot more difficult than I thought it would be, but it does make you realize that there are ways to switch things up so you aren’t always repeating “I did this. Then I did that. And I felt like this” over and over when writing in first person.

      Liked by 1 person

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