Beyond Superficial

Really quick and rough fiction from today’s daily word prompt ‘Superficial.’


Jonathan Barnes was only twenty-three years old but he knew better, no matter what everyone told him when he brought up the subject of Catherine Belle. Catherine was a beautiful woman, the kind of person everyone knew had the upper hand due to what others might term as ‘genetic luck’ but Jonathan knew better than that.

His friends would poke fun at him when his feelings and thoughts about Catherine leaked out into the open, because of affection, the one emotion no one really should repress if it is of the healthy and objective variety, has a way of escaping it’s confinement to be blurted out across nervous speeches and bold gestures. They would make fun of him for loving what to the more lustful than loving was nothing more than a trophy, a conquest; a place they could plant a flag and claim superiority of their peers based on instincts belonging to a less gentle and knowledgeable age.

Jonathan, however, could notice the little things other seemed to just let pass them by. A beauty that is appreciated by many is either the result of a gorgeous lie or a plainly visible truth and in the case of Catherine Belle, the case could definitely be made for truth over lie being the cause of her popularity. No one hated Catherine the way they might others with her appearance and poise, but it was because there was no trickery going on.

Perhaps feeling like those Jonathan felt for Catherine were blinding, because everyone has a dark place in their minds where reality is skewed by their own thoughts. Some have closets full of dark, where they can bury themselves for a day or a lifetime, others have small lockboxes which hold the smallest of a void, the only difference between them is how they tend their mental garden and how they respect all the life that grows in it.

Catherine seemed to have mastered keeping the dark at a minimum. Jonathan knew she was kind, appreciative and seemed to have a shield up to most of the ways people in her position might start abusing the gifts she had been given, as many of the ‘lucky ones’ are prone to do.

Although Catherine did make use of what opportunities came her way thoroughly, she also seemed truly invested when those same gifts could allow her to do something for a charitable cause, or just a person she knew in distress.

At the end of last year Jonathan had been at a local basketball game and kept hearing one of the local fans watching the game mention that the star of the home team might one day go pro, not because he was the greatest athlete but because he had ‘intangibles,’ he knew how the game worked and so he could anticipate before he had to react.

That metaphor completely described Catherine and the way Jonathan saw her approach to life. It was probably wrong to think that you knew a person inside and out (everyone has their dark keepsake place, as said), but it was probably a fair call, considering he had been to school with her from second grade until pretty much last year, when they both left the local community college for larger schools.

It might also be called a large mental leap by some as Jonathan had only really made Catherine an acquaintance of his, not a friend. A few times he was pretty sure he felt the doors of fate crack open a bit for a closer relationship, but love, especially that which may be of the true love variety we all have been promised in dreams and fairy tales, becomes a bit scary when love performs the trick of also reflecting ourselves at us, naked and exposed.

We don’t all like what we see.

True love can lead us beyond the superficial and it is only stepping beyond the superficial lines in our minds that can lead us there. It’s why when someone meets someone they may be struck by the heavy hand of physical beauty but later if they choose them or another for a larger role in their lives you hear them talk about the passions and interests of that person, or a compatible lifestyle or belief system.

Catherine was so attractive to so many including Jonathan himself for the same reasons. It was the aspects of her that went beyond the superficial that drew them in and it was the way they could not quite figure out what it was about her beyond the primal instinct to lay their seed in any good genetic candidate, the reaction proper love and the move past that same superficial barrier was meant to replace.

Jonathan opened his eyes and looked at the clock and saw that it was just after seven in the morning. Shaking himself mentally a bit, he pushed back the covers and sat up on his bed, his elbows resting on his knees and his hands on either side of his face, covering his ears.

There was another day to be faced, lost or conquered, and although the deep thoughts he had on waking today were most likely like he still felt about Catherine more truth then deception, there is no better way to pull yourself back into the world of the superficial than to ruminate or regret.

Thomas Spychalski

Read More posts from this word prompt here.

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