Anticipation (Short Story)

This is a short story I wrote last year for a competition that I didn’t win. I wrote it fairly fast and just before the deadline. I do am not making an excuse for its quality, just stating how it was written. I don’t quite know what I had in mind but I was thinking of a time before mobile phones when you had to actually plan to meet up and stay in one place.

Anyway, since I put my writing here (good and bad), I am adding this too. 

Annabelle looked around frantically but couldn’t see any of her friends. She had been waiting for more than one hour and had finally come within metres of the entrance but her friends were still nowhere to be seen. She hadn’t so much as glimpsed a familiar piece of clothing and she was starting to get worried. She didn’t want to go in by herself but she also knew she couldn’t miss the concert. 

They all had tickets and they’d worked hard to earn the money to get them. They had all been looking forward to this for months and excitedly planned every detail down to the clothes they would wear. They had decided in class – through muffled giggles – that they’d all wear something that was the same colour but not the same piece. So Marie would arrive with a blue hat, Beverly, a blue jacket, Edith a blouse and Annabelle was now nervously staring at her new, blue shoes – vainly trying to find comfort in them. 

Apart from the clothing coordination, nothing had gone to plan that day. They’d all been delayed for one reason or another whether it was their parents running late dropping them off or in Annabelle’s case – missing a bus. When they had finally met at the small green gazebo in the reserve adjacent to the concert hall; they were all considerably less excited than the night before. They were all in a flurry and found little amusement seeing how their coordinated fashion plans had turned out. In hindsight, if anything was to go wrong, it would have been far preferable that it had been something trivial like forgetting a hat.

Their problems weren’t over from there though. Marie had remembered her hat but soon realised she had forgotten her ticket –- of all things!  They still had plenty of time as it was still a good four hours before the doors would open but the lines would be long and Marie would now be cutting it very close. 

Annabelle had told the others to go on ahead and decided to accompany Marie back home to give her company and comfort. Though she was as anxious as the other girls to be chatting at the entrance, she could see that Marie felt awful and wanted to reassure her. On their walk back to the bus station she had tried to joke and make light of the situation but it was as obvious to her as it was to Marie, that neither would be calm until they were in line at the concert hall. 

That was four hours ago. Annabelle had gone all the way to Marie’s house but Marie had insisted once they got there that Annabelle return ahead of her. Marie was worried she wouldn’t be able to find the ticket and reassured Annabelle that her brother would be able to run her back to the concert hall. Annabelle’s decision to accompany her had only made Marie feel worse about her absent-mindedness. 

Annabelle had come back and got into line with an hour to spare and an additional hour had now gone by without hearing anything from her friends. She was now approaching the open doors and had her ticket in her hand ready. She would have to go in with or without her friends but the thought of being alone after waiting so long was starting to bring tears to her eyes. It wasn’t supposed to be like this.

It was her turn. A large, imposing but jovial man held out his hand asking for her ticket. Annabelle handed it over hesitantly which caused the man to take a second glance over it to confirm its authenticity. After scanning it, he ushered her on –- already looking to the next person in the line.

Annabelle began a halting walk into the concert hall, her head darting about like a startled cat hoping for the relief that would come from spotting a familiar face. She continued through the foyer and spotted the door number corresponding to her ticket and began heading towards it, making a mental note of the rest room nearby though she didn’t need to go. 

There was no reason she could think of not to go in. This should have been one of the most exciting days of her life. Annabelle had barely been able to contain her excitement in the morning and now she almost dreaded being there without her friends. She wondered whether they would have done the same thing and what could possibly be keeping them.

Suddenly she heard her name out of the crowd. She began to turn but wasn’t sure. Then she heard it again only louder and a different but familiar voice. She turned around and saw Beverly grinning broadly. Then her eyes focused and she saw Marie and then Edith on either side of her. She felt the blood rushing to her cheeks and her stomach lift and soon she was beaming as brightly as her three friends who appeared before her. 

She began forming a sentence but before the first word came out they laughingly told her they had only just come in and the relief was clear in their beaming faces. Edith and and Beverly didn’t want to go in without the other two and had stayed waiting at the gazebo until the last minute, meeting Marie on the way as she waved off her brother. 

For the first time since they had arrived, the four girls began to feel like they had expected to the night before. With their arms locked together they passed through the door into the concert hall and finding their seats, sat down together to the concert. All their worries were gone and now their elation rose as the lights dimmed and the concert began.

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