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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Write in the ROMANCE genre (04/19/07)

TITLE: It'd Be Best for Both of Us
By Sheri Gordon


“I think we should break up while I’m gone.”

Susan stared vacantly at the distant street light as she heard the final words of her boyfriend’s "it’s best for both of us" speech.

They had been dating for six months, but tomorrow Marcus was leaving for England with the study abroad program through college. I wonder which ‘broad’ he’ll be studying? Susan chuckled at her own wit, but it didn’t ease her anxiety.

Tonight she and Marcus were saying good-bye, possibly forever. Oh sure, he’d be back on campus next semester, but he might not be back with her.

“I was thinking the same thing, but I didn’t know how to say it. Yeah … that‘s a good idea.”

Susan wanted to appear unfazed by Marcus’ decision. Unfortunately, her eyes betrayed her. Try as she might to blink them away, hot tears spilled over and ran freely down her now-blotchy face .

Marcus pulled her close to reassure her everything would be okay. But why? As far as he was concerned, they were done. She was a cute girl, but the relationship had gone nowhere. So, to quote REO Speedwagon, “it’s time for me to fly.”

“I’ll write when I can.”

“You can call me collect.” Now she was sounding like a whipped puppy begging for a few scraps.

Marcus bent his six foot frame down to meet Susan‘s lips in a good-bye kiss. Nothing. This relationship has definitely run its course.

“Have fun in England.”

“Yeah. Bye.”


Dear Susan,

It’s nice here, but cold. I’ve been sick most of the time, so I haven’t done much yet…

Later, Marcus


Dear Marcus,

I was so excited to hear from you. I go to the student union everyday to see if there’s a letter from you. Sorry to hear you‘ve been sick…

All My Love, Susan


Dear Susan,

Thanks for writing back so fast. I’m really missing home. Especially the food. And showers. There’s just a little tub…

Take care, Marcus


Dear Marcus,

Bummer about the food and showers. Did you hear our football team is actually winning? Sam’s made some awesome catches. And Thomas is really fast. You probably don’t know Thomas -- he’s an awesome player and a really nice guy. Remember how I was dreading science? I love it. I’m in this awesome group, with Thomas and Marge and Sam, and our project is…

With Love, Susan


Dear Susan,

Sounds like you’re having an “awesome” time. That’s great. My classes are okay, but nothing like your science class…

Miss ya, Marcus


Dear Marcus,

Sorry I haven’t written in a while. I’ve been really busy with dorm activities and work. Did I tell you that half the guys at work are from the frat? It’s crazy, but so much fun…

Love, Susan


Dear Susan,

I really like getting your letters, but I’m not sure I approve of your ‘friends’. What happened to the shy, sweet girl I knew?….

Love, Marcus


Dear Marcus,

Don’t worry, I’m still the same Susan. And besides, you broke up with me -- remember?….

Hugs, Susan



You don’t sound like the same Susan. I heard you were at The Bash. What were you thinking hanging out with those potheads? But, whatever. If that’s what you want ….




You're right, I’m not the same girl. I’m not spending all my time chasing after you.

I did go to The Bash, but not with the potheads. Maybe I shouldn’t have gone, but you have no right to tell me what to do. Besides, you’re the one who said we needed to be able to go out with other people…

Friends forever, Susan


Dear Susan,

You’re right -- we’re not together. Sorry I got so mad, but I still worry about you. I don’t want to see you lose your sweetness and innocence…

Love, Marcus


Dear Marcus,

Thanks for the apology. It’s nice to know you still care. I promise I’m still the sweet, innocent girl you left behind, not because you want me that way, but because God does…

With Love, Susan


“Welcome home.”

“I missed you. Can I come over? We need to talk.”

Driving to see Susan, Marcus heard REO Speedwagon’s newest single for the first time.

“And I can’t fight this feeling anymore,
I’ve forgotten what I started fighting for,
It’s time to bring this ship into the shore,
and throw away the oars, forever.”


Author’s note: Song lyrics written by Kevin Cronin and recorded by REO Speedwagon: “Time for Me to Fly.” Epic, 1978. “Can’t Fight This Feeling Anymore.” Epic, 1984.

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This article has been read 998 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 04/27/07
I really liked the framing with the REO Speedwagon songs, and the letter-writing structure--very original, and a good way to trace the changing relationship, given the word restrictions.

There are a few POV issues in the first half; we switch from her POV to his--but this is very minor.

This is realistic, and very sweet.
Jacquelyn Horne04/30/07
There's always a little controversy in a good romance, and you've captured it well.
Cheri Hardaway 05/01/07
Oh, how I hate the "it's best for both of us" speeches! I also got a little confused with the POV in the first section, but that's easily fixed. I loved the letters exchanged, and the REO Speedwagon song... Nice job. Cheri
Rita Garcia05/02/07
Enjoyed this look at the complications of young love, great writing!
Joanne Sher 05/02/07
Enjoyed this very much - you did a good job of showing the changes in their feelings through the letters - and i LOVE REO speedwagon! :D
Sara Harricharan 05/02/07
A very fitting title! The letters were the best part, cute that she would send paragraphs and get a one-liner in reply. Very realistic, glad they got together in the end though. ^_^
Julie Arduini05/02/07
You have to love any entry that uses REO Speedwagon!! I loved the letter format as well. This was a realistic romance and a good read!
Sara Harricharan 05/03/07
***Congratulations on your Highly Commended!***
Cheri Hardaway 05/03/07
Sheri, Congratulations on being highly commended! Good work. Blessings, Cheri