Image of Set Stories Free - 2018
Image of Short Story
Ever since I was six, I’ve known that I am different. My whole town is made of the same people with different faces. They all went to school here, went to a local collage, fell in love with someone and dragged them back to hicksville. My parents were one of the first to voluntarily move here from the big city of New York. Compared to everyone else, they stood out.
My parents named me Iris after the storm of which I was born. I was a storm brought baby, pushed into the world with a monsoon and a crash of lightning. My name Iris Daily stood out in a room full of Jacks and Mary's. My name isn’t the most interesting thing about me though, its my attitude towards boys, or lack thereof.

I want to be normal, I’m actually terrified of sticking out. Last time someone had stuck out like a nail, they were hammered back in my teachers and kids. Our town is so big but so few people, we’ve been with the same faces since kindergarten. No one new moves here and no one here moves out. The one person that I genuinely like in this school is my friend Will Jones. His family were the ones that founded this place and have stayed here since 1840. We both want to get out of here and move to the city were I can be different and he can be a filmmaker. Everything was the same as it always was, well, that was before the new girl showed up.

It started off as a normal school year in August. The school kids chipperly skipped into school, excited to see their friends that they hadn’t seen over the summer. Meanwhile Will and I tried to walk as slowly as humanly possible to the front doors. My homeroom was buzzed with chatter and gossip. I kept my head down and sulked toward my seat in the corner of the room. The whole room went silent. Searching for the cause of the silence, I looked up and saw the deepest brown eyes that I had ever seen. She was gorgeous. A halo of curly brown hair framed her diamond shaped face. Freckles dotted her coco skin. Everything about her screamed unique from the double piercings to the painted jean jacket. She waltzed over to where I was sitting; gasping like a fish out of water, I waited to see where she was going to sit.

“Hi, I’m Mia Everly and I just moved here from San Fran. Can I sit here?” She announced with a hint of a lisp. I dumbfoundedly nodded my head. What was someone as interesting as Mia doing by sitting with me? She’s committing social suicide.

“I’m Iris.” I reached out to shake her hand. Her handshake was firm and confident; she was going to be trouble.

For the next four months of school, we hung out together all the time. Mia was a painter with the skills of picasso so she was dubbed with the title of the new school artist. No one liked her all that much because she was different and better than them in any way possible. Within time, we told each other everything. Will didn’t mind because he loved her as much as I did. Mia was one of the greatest humans that we have ever met.

It was the first winter formal of my life. Everyone in my little town was getting all dressed up for one of the most important days for a high schooler. Mia and I were going together because Will finally had asked some girl to go with him.
My mom had me wear a cute black dress that was her’s from when she was a girl in the city. The eighties was a rough fashion time but it seemed fit for today's world. It had short sleeves and a deep slit in the back. I knew Mia would love it. She came to my house before wearing a sky blue pin-up dress and her hair as unruly as her spirit. Mia looked gorgeous. We took all sorts of funny pictures before. The best ones were candid or pretending to do a prom pose. Those were my
favorites and hers too.

The normal kids at the dance didn’t want to dance at all! They just wanted to awkwardly talk to the opposite sex and take photos. Will and his date, Suzy joined us on the dance floor for a great time. We were the only freshman on the dance floor that didn’t care what anyone thought of us. The senors thought we were some goofy little freshman and started to dance with us. Of course all the other girls were jealous that we got to dance with the upperclassmen so they joined us. It was too crowded here so we all went outside.

“I’m going to walk Suzy home. I’ll see you guys on Monday!” Will said, grabbing Suzy’s hand. We hugged goodbye and he went off. That left Mia and I to walk to our neighboring houses. We walked home usually everyday after school so it usually took about fifteen minutes. It was silent walk for some reason and I’ve never been one to start up a conversation.

“I’ve never been on a dance floor,” I stated randomly.

“As in the whole time you’ve been alive never?”


“That's one sheltered existence you got there,” she gasped.

“Yeah well as far as my family is concerned I can’t do anything.”

“With your folks it’s from a place of love though right? They worry.” I thought about that for a
second. They love me but they don’t want me to become a city girl.

“They don’t worry. Just the concept of me enjoying myself blows my mind. I’m not allowed to do much.”

“What could you have done? If you were allowed I guess,” she swung her feet back and forth. We were just standing in front of our street. A little pocket of darkness where I could only see the outlines of her figure.

“Oh, so many things.” Mia grabbed my hand and put it on her waist. We started swaying to some invisible love song that only existed in our heads.

“I’ve never done anything like this,” I spluttered.

“All the more reason.” She leaned in.

“Oh you’re nice but,” I was taken back.

“Ok,” she sounded heart broken and took a step back, turning away from me.

“I just... can’t. It’s my parents,” I tried to explain but her hand brushed her hand against her ear.

“I get it,” she turned back to face me.

“I have to go.”


“It was really fun tonight,” I tried to grab her hand again but she yanked it away.

“Sure.” She sounded so mad. I was mad. It was this moment, this world, this damn town. I was mad at them all. I am mad that I’m a coward and I can’t face the crowd. I did love her but how could this survive?

“Mia...” I harshly grabbed her arm and yanked her towards me. She gasped for a second before I connected my lips with hers, sealing the deal that I was in fact not a coward. This is the most cliche thing but it seemed like time had stopped. It was just the world against Mia and I, well the town at least. We had never had any openly gay kids in our school since, ever.
We finally drifted apart and stared in silence for a bit. I tried to count every freckle on her face to memorize the detail. Her lips parted and she sighed, content. This would be a night that would go in my scrapbooks.

“That was...” I started but she put her index finger to my lips.


We started to walk off, hand in hand cloaked in darkness. We didn’t know what the day would bring or what our parents would think. I didn’t think of the reactions of the people I’ve known since I was six. I just thought of what challenges the future would bring, and how Mia and I would take them down.

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