Contempt of Love
By Viktoria Pavlova
After five years apart, Aurora and Griffin’s lives collide again. Aurora can’t see past her anger, while Griffin spends his time hiding his past and trying to ignore his feelings for Aurora, which never left.
Second and third period went by agonizingly slowly. I had math and physics, both of which I was not equipped to handle so early in the morning. The bell rang and I rushed into the hallway.
I sidestepped nameless faces in the crowd, searching for the one face I wanted to avoid. I slammed into someone and grimaced, grabbing my shoulder. “Sorry,” I muttered without looking back.
Fourth period was AP English Lit with Mr. Lewis, one of my favorite classes.
“Hello, hello everyone! Good afternoon!” Mr. Lewis greeted as students filed into the classroom. “Please take your seats, open up your books, and write a journal entry based on the prompt I’ve put on the board.”
I smiled at him as I stepped inside.
“Good afternoon Aurora, it’s great to see you.”
“Hi, Mr. Lewis,” I called behind me.
Nala was already in her seat writing quickly in her journal. I took a seat at the empty desk beside her, and she shot a quick smile my way before returning to her writing. Taking out my notebook, I looked at the prompt Mr. Lewis had written on the board. Have you ever been in love? What does it feel like? If not, how do you imagine it would feel?
I’d only been writing for a little while before the door opened. I looked up. Griffin looked around the room. Our eyes locked. He quickly averted his gaze and wiped his palms against his jeans. Of course he’s in my favorite class. He found an empty seat at the front of the room, thank god, and took out his book. His nose was practically touching the paper as he wrote.
I cleared my throat and looked at Nala. What the hell was he writing about? She shrugged.
Everyone wrote for another few minutes before Mr. Lewis told us to put down our pens and asked for volunteers to share their responses.
Girls Write Now On the Other Side of Everything: The 2023 Anthology
Do you know what it’s like to communicate with your family across a salty ocean’s divide? Do you want the sun and moon to enter your home with stories written in embers? Do you seek voices that will punctuate the darkness? Welcome to the other side of everything. It’s the other side of silence, the other side of childhood, the other side of hate, the other side of indifference, it’s the other side of sides, where the binary breaks down. It’s a new paradigm, a destination, a different perspective, a mindset, a state of openness, the space between the endless folds in your forehead, hopes for tomorrow, and reflections on the past. This anthology of diverse voices is an everything bagel of literary genres and love songs, secrets whispered in the dark of night, conversations held with ancestors under the sea.
A girl named Sarah went first. She believed in true love because of her parents, but she’d never been in love before. She thought it would feel like walking on clouds.
Dylan Campbell went next. “Ever since I started dating my boyfriend, it’s like the world began to shine brighter.”
I raised my hand.
“Aurora, your thoughts?” Mr. Lewis asked.
“I’ve been in love before, and every time I saw him I felt like my heart would beat out of my chest. I thought he held all of the answers to every question I had about the world and how it works.” I looked down at my hands. I knew Griffin was looking at me. “It was like regardless of what happened, I’d be okay as long as he was with me.”
Mr. Lewis nodded, “Do you think everyone feels that way when they’re in love?”
“No. Love can be one-sided. Just because you feel like this person hung the moon doesn’t mean that they can reciprocate those feelings. I think that if two people fall in love with each other, they’re lucky.”
“I think that if you fall in love it’s only because that other person let you,” Griffin cut in without raising his hand. “Because they wanted you to be in love with them. I think falling in love is a mutual thing.”
I wasn’t done speaking. I glared at him, hoping my eyes would burn holes in his head.
“Have you ever experienced being in love?” Mr. Lewis asks him.
I watched him, his face emotionless.
“What did it feel like?”
Griffin stiffened. “It felt like she was made for me. Like she was specifically put on this earth so I could love and protect her with everything I have.”
Mr. Lewis raised his hands in mock surrender. “Raise your hand if you’ve ever been in love, and felt hurt by it?” he addressed the whole class.
I raised my hand, along with Nala, half of the class, and Griffin. For a moment his hazel eyes almost seemed sad. Whoever hurt him was returning the favor. Karma’s a bitch, right?
I turned to face the front of the room, but I could feel Griffin’s eyes on me.
“As insightful as it was listening to your experiences or hopes with love, I wasn’t asking you all about your love lives to poke fun. This all relates to the new book we’ll be starting tomorrow.” He moved toward his desk. “We will be delving into the love life of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy in Jane Austen’s beautifully written Pride and Prejudice.”
Mr. Lewis grabbed copies of the book from his desk and began passing them down the rows of students.
“We will learn about love, the hardships, the pain, and the beauty that is associated with being in love.”
I never liked writing romance. I always thought that although it was an enjoyable genre to read, I wouldn’t be able to successfully write anything romantic. My mentor, Nevin, has always challenged me and pushed me out of my comfort zone so that I could be a better writer, so this year I chose to write a story about love. I combined my love for medicine, writing, and drama into this piece. It took a lot of editing, discussions, and read-throughs to get “Contempt of Love” to where it is now, and to solidify the idea that I could genuinely write a romantic story.
Viktoria Pavlova is a lively aspiring author. Born and raised in New York, Viktoria is first generation, coming from a Russian family. She is an aspiring psychiatrist and writer who has been writing fiction for eight years. She lives at home with her inspiring and eccentric parents, grandma and golden retriever.