Flashes of Blinding Technicolor

I didn’t initially start writing this piece for this prompt. But by the time I got halfway through, I realized that it was, in fact, about forgiveness.

Blogging for The Red Dress Club.


This week’s prompt is about forgiveness. Forgiving others, forgiving yourself. Write about a time of forgiveness.


Flashes of Blinding Technicolor

It starts again, when I least expect it, springing from a thought I didn’t ask for – from memories that I can’t keep away.

Slowly, one tear slides down my cheek and over my lips, leaving a trace of saltiness before it drips off my chin. Then another and another, until they come in cascades – wet, sticky, and uncontrollable.

The swell of pain in my chest expands like a balloon attached to helium. My heart. Soon it will pop. Soon… My lungs hurt. My blood aches. A heaviness extends through my fingertips — all of the hurt, the craving, the desire rising into my throat until it finally escapes and my body heaves sobs. I gasp for air, and hold myself, wishing away the memories that explode in flashes of blinding technicolor.

Our first kiss, outside in the cold. It sent shockwaves through my body, tingling my toes and making me high.

Protective arms around me on our first date. Feeling completely safe in the midst of chaos with my body against his.

Valentine’s Day. Him fanning the smoke out of my apartment as I stood paralyzed in the kitchen, staring at the catastrophe. He ate the steak.

The heat that flushed my cheeks as he announced publicly that I was his friend, his partner, and his girlfriend.

His words. Mine.

“You know,” I said, “I kind of like you. I think I’ll keep you. You okay with that?”

And in that moment, he looked at me and I saw something in his eyes change, as he walked to the bed and leaned over me. Close enough for me to feel his breath forming the words just before they left his lips.

“I love you.”

“I want to have children with you,” he said. My stomach did backflips as the yearning for motherhood enveloped me.

Him holding me up as my knees buckled. Gasping for air, telling him I couldn’t breathe, couldn’t walk, couldn’t keep living. Panic attack. The wild fear I felt as my body tried to turn itself inside out melting away as he helped me breathe again.

Me, in a hotel room in downtown Dallas, tracing his tears with my thumb. Wiping them away. Feeling the dampness of his face against my chest before I took it in my hands and said to him, “Listen to me. Believe this. You aren’t alone anymore.” Feeling helpless to take away the pain of his past and trying to hurt for him so that he wouldn’t have to.

After the fight, the letter I wrote to him. His hand on my shoulder as I sobbed, and hearing his words whispered in my ear. “I love you, Bobbi. That’s a constant.”

Standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon, surrounded by colors. He kissed me there and even with the wall between us, it still electrified me.

“Is this going to work?” He asked.

I looked away.

“I don’t know.” I answered. But in my mind, I heard a quiet “no,” echoing as if I’d said it aloud into the canyon.

The tears eventually stop, but the guilt of broken promises, whispered when I was sure he was the one, still sits heavy in my chest.

Only two words are left.

I’m sorry.

In the stretches of time between the tears, I survive. But sooner or later, the tears always come back. Sticky hot reminders that I haven’t yet forgiven myself for breaking his heart. For breaking my own. For choosing self-preservation over his love.


Constructive criticism welcome. Thanks for reading!




  1. March 22, 2011 at 5:19 am

    Great title, with a writing that delivers exactly what it boasts. You took us through your relationship one blinding flash at a time!

    • bobbijaye said,

      March 22, 2011 at 7:11 pm

      I’m glad you liked the title! I was a little unsure about it.

      Thank you for reading!

  2. March 22, 2011 at 7:37 am

    From “It starts again” to “For choosing self-preservation over his love” I was hooked. Your descriptions have me in awe. Your words flow so beautifully, so visually. I can see, smell, hear, and feel all that you are sharing with me. My heart, too, aches with the loss of his love and he was never mine in the first place.

    • bobbijaye said,

      March 22, 2011 at 7:12 pm

      Well, he’s available now…

      Kidding. Sort of. I’d actually kind of like to see him fixed up with the right person for him. Would make me feel less guilty, I think.

      Thanks for reading!

  3. andygirl said,

    March 22, 2011 at 7:54 am

    oh wow. well done! I so didn’t expect that ending. really powerful. I really thought he would break your heart (my biases maybe?) and I love that you chose self-forgiveness for the prompt. I liked the phrasing and the memories. I don’t even think you needed the italics. we would have understood with the tense change. great job!

    • bobbijaye said,

      March 22, 2011 at 7:21 pm

      You might be right about the italics. I don’t always give my readers enough credit. I think I lean towards wanting to make sure things are overly clear, rather than possibly not clear enough? Insecure writer in me, lol.

      Thanks for reading and concrit!

  4. Galit Breen said,

    March 22, 2011 at 11:43 am

    I have chills. So many chills.

    The small flashes of memory are so very powerful and tell the full sotry in so few words. I also really like the full circle that this post comes to.

    I am so sad for both of them (you!). Happy endings aren’t always in the works; and I’m impressed that you knew when that was the case here.

    My favorite line is: “But in my mind, I heard a quiet “no,” echoing as if I’d said it aloud into the canyon..” Beautifully worded and explains so much.

    • bobbijaye said,

      March 22, 2011 at 7:24 pm

      Thank you for your comment, I really appreciate it.

      I’m working my way towards deciding that making the right decision is a kind of happy ending. Not quite there yet. It’s hard to pull away when no one has really done anything wrong.

      But my best friend tells me that if I’m going to be heartbroken, I better damn well use it to write something. 🙂

  5. Erica M said,

    March 22, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    This is a great start! Can you tell your reader why the protagonist thinks it won’t work? Why did she say no? Is he a jerk and she craves love, no matter what the source, but her common sense takes over? Is he “perfect” but she is afraid of good things happening to her?

    The great things about these writing prompts is that they get us started. It’s up to us to get back in there and build the story, eh?

    Thanks for stopping by my space today!

    • bobbijaye said,

      March 22, 2011 at 7:31 pm

      Your space is awesome, I really enjoyed your post! And thank YOU for reading/commenting here.

      It isn’t fiction, so it’s quite possible that I expect my reader to have the same knowledge of the situation that I do. A jerk? No, never, not even a little bit. Nor is he perfect. I’m not sure quite how I could have weaved something so complicated into 600 words. I was hoping to make it more about the experience of recent heartbreak than about the relationship itself.

      Always appreciate concrit! Thanks so much!

  6. Renee said,

    March 22, 2011 at 6:48 pm

    I loved the feelings at each step. This is so well written. I wanted to cry with you.

    But like Erica, I was left with questions. The whys and why nots.
    And his past. Was that the reason it wouldn’t work?

    • bobbijaye said,

      March 22, 2011 at 7:44 pm

      I’m hoping to purchase stock in Kleenex soon.

      Thank you so much for reading/commenting!

      I wouldn’t want to make it too easy for you all *grin* And honestly, if I could whittle down the reason why into a succinct sentence, I might have included it. The short of it is that we are two fixers living with the same mental illness (OCD) and we spent most of our time trying to make each other better and growing more and more frustrated when we couldn’t. Sustaining that kind of intensity – hurting for someone else – it isn’t healthy.

      I wasn’t sure if I could – or wanted to – weave all of that into what I wrote. Does the backstory need to be there for it to make sense?

      Thanks so much for concrit! I’m really loving TRDC.

      • Renee said,

        March 23, 2011 at 11:11 pm

        Ah, I see.
        Maybe not the whole backstory then.
        You do let us see your panic attack, maybe we needed to see one of his to understand better.
        That’s just me, though. See if others had the same thought.

        It’s still very well written. And I’m loving TRDC too!

  7. Dafeenah said,

    March 22, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    Truly exceptional piece of writing. Breathtaking.

    Standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon, surrounded by colors. He kissed me there and even with the wall between us, it still electrified me.

    I could feel that electricity through your words.

    Stopping by from TRDC

  8. Erin said,

    March 23, 2011 at 5:37 am

    So beautifully written.
    I also was left with lots of questions, but it worked, because it made me want to come back for more, to stick around to find out what goes on next. Even though it isn’t fiction. I hope that makes sense!

  9. PearlsGirl said,

    March 23, 2011 at 8:15 pm

    Oh My! This is the best I have been privileged to read. I could feel your pain, your sorrow, and your apology. This is beautifully done.

  10. Tina said,

    March 24, 2011 at 2:14 am

    I love the title, and it is so appropriate to this piece. I liked your use of emotional imagery! Technicolor is right!

  11. Frelle said,

    March 24, 2011 at 4:07 am

    oh the aching of it. very well done!!!

  12. June 10, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    K, I know this is WAY late, but… well.

    I love this. I love the way you accurately reflected the way our past can be triggered by that one stray thought and entire sections of our lives can flash through our minds in seconds. You wrote powerfully about an intense moment. Very well done!

    I disagree with some of the crit, though. I don’t think you needed to explain WHY it wouldn’t work.

    It’s more real to not indicate the reason. When we are in that moment of regret/not-regret, remembering a lost relationship, we are not thinking in such clear terms about the reason it ended. We get lost in the moment, or many moments, that defined the relationship in our minds.

    I also like that, by not stating a definitive reason for why the relationship ended, you allow the reader to impose their own experience on the situation. We have all had relationships that didn’t work out no matter how much we wanted them too. This allows the reader to think about their own past, to ponder the why in their own lives.

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