Moments- Prologue and Chapter One

“How did it get so late so soon?”

  • Dr. Seuss

How long is a moment?

It’s a good question, maybe even right question.

I, for I only speak from my own experience, have known endless moment and painfully brief moments.

I have felt hugs with crying loved ones stretch into an odd place, a place of mutual powerlessness, of my ability to soothe and theirs to recover.

I have seen and felt that split second after screaming, after yelling the most hateful, cuttings you can imagine, things that my demons whisper to me in quiet moments. Then you sober from your rage and you see who you’ve yelled at, the person who you were trying to destroy, and in that moment you learn, you feel, you understand that you are not a person. You are a monster wearing a human suit, and you have to tread carefully or the stitching will rip.

Both of these moments are similar to the that feeling of falling while with a foot on the ground that happens when you misjudge that distance of the last stair on a staircase. Your foot drifting in the air, the surprise till your foot finally hits the floor, sending a tremendous shock through your bones and rattling the teeth in your mouth.

From the split second that they start you know how these moments end but it’s still a shock every time.

The one moment I can’t forget however, is the first time I pulled her diaper on. Not the whole process, but the split second of pulling the front tight and the tapes closed. I can hear, even now, the rustle of the plastic, the smell of the baby powder, the heavy drumming of my heart in my chest, the scritch of the tapes, the blush that rises in her cheeks even with her eyes closed. That smile on her face, anxious and exited, somehow small and big at the same time, stuck precisely between joyous and timid, far too overwhelmed to decide.

I have no earthly idea how long it lasted, that smile.

You could tell me that it never ended and I would believe you.

You could tell me that it never happened and I would believe you.

But I get ahead of myself, lost in my own thoughts, let’s begin at the beginning and end at the ending.

So, there was a coffee shop. In it was a woman who didn’t alway feel like a grown up and a man who didn’t alway feel like a daddy.

Re: Moments

May I ask what this is cause I don’t understand but if it is meant to be words of wisdom then I give u some serious credit for coming up with it

Re: Moments

It’s the start to something ambitious. Im retitling it the prologue.

Thanks for the compliment.

Re: Moments

It certainly hints at your ambition. I’ll reserve comment in anticipation of further development.

Re: Moments -prologue.

Chapter One

“Each meeting occurs at the precise moment for which it was meant.
Usually, when it will have the greatest impact on our lives.”
― Nadia Scrieva, Fathoms of Forgiveness

He had picked to meet her at his favorite coffee place for a few reasons. Vinnie wasn’t a timid man, but he always got the shakes when his adrenaline got going. Vinnie knew that he would be jittery when he met her for the first time. Also he decided on a public place, in case she was crazy, that he knew well enough to be comfortable in. Everyone here was a little jittery so if his hands shook a little bit hopefully she wouldn’t notice.

So he picked the coffee place. His coffee place. “Maybe it’ll become our coffee place” Vinnie thought as he sipped from his dark black coffee. No sugar, no milk, just bitter goodness. He was careful not to spill the drink on his scarf.

Three weeks wasn’t really that much time to be talking with someone online. Well, it would be if it was about anything else then his, ‘unique preferences’. Three weeks was years if measured out by Tindr or some other dating website. But the random person doesn’t learn enough about you to ruin your life and career just by looking at your profile and learning your name.

So Vinnie thought of this as a calculated risk. He had been very, very careful after one mistake made a dozen years ago. One mistake too many. It wouldn’t happen again. Ever.

Lost in these thoughts Vinnie, was startled when she walked in. “Fuck,” he thought, “Fuckity, Fuckity, Fuckity Fuck. I knew I should have lost that last ten pounds.”

She wasn’t beautiful, she was gorgeous.

“You’ll know me by the rose,” she had texted, and there it was, tattooed on her upper arm, one tattoo among many. She was short, "Well everyone is short compared to me,"Vinnie thought. She had sharp features, almost mannish, and dark green eyes. The small nub of a piercing on the side of her nose only made her look fiercer and Vinnie saw, because he knew what to look for, the small scars on her eyebrows where old piercings had been.

She wore a dark denim jacket with a black shirt and tight blue jeans that just seems to fit so well with her tight pixie haircut of blond dyed hair.

“I should have dropped that last ten pounds,” Vinnie thought again before he stood up and called “Julie?”

Julie looked over and saw the man who must be her date. “Christ he is tall,” she thought as she waves and walks over, “Not half-bad looking either.”

He was very tall, easily six and half feet. As Julie sat down across from him she saw that he has a strong jaw and a finely groomed beard. “But something is a little odd about his face,” she thought, before she realized that his nose skews ever so slightly to the left. “Crooked from earlier break no doubt” Julie thought. That and a slightly lopsided smile made him look a little punch drunk, a little beaten down, but in a surprisingly pleasant way. Kind of like he had been knocked around the block a few times but was still smiling.

His face clashed with his clothing, which was a little too fashionable for her taste. A long black coat and a grey dress shirt and some half dress pants half blue jeans. His hair was nice though, light brown and thick with a slight swoop to left. “Right on that line between vain and stylish” Julie thought.

“We’ve never been properly introduced, I’m Vinnie” he half said and half rumbled as he flashed that lopsided grin.

“Wow his voice is deep,” Julie thought before she replied, “I’m Julie,” making a vague wave with her hand.

As she finished speaking Vinnie pulled out a pack of cigarettes from his pocket. His hand shook slightly as he brought a cigarette up to his mouth. “To much caffeine,” Julie thought, “He must have had a little too much because he was nervous.”

“Don’t mind if I smoke do you?” Vinnie asked, right before he lit up.

“No,” Julie replied quickly, although in the back of her head she thought, “Of course I mind if you give yourself cancer in front of me.” But she wanted this to go well, wanted her first meeting with the man she has messaged for nearly a month to succeed. This is first time she had met, actually physically met anyone who knew that she, on occasion, likes wear diapers, and even more occasionally, piss in them.

A slight blush rose in Julie’s face at the thought, but Vinnie spoke, and drew her focus back to reality.

“So when did you have a eyebrow piercing and why did you take it out?”

“You noticed?” Julie asked as she reached up to scratch at the old scar.

“You didn’t?” He replied, pointing at an even older and more faded scar on his own eyebrow.

“Oh, one of those takes one to know one situations I guess. I don’t know, it’d have to be somewhere around four years now maybe. I didn’t hate it or anything like that, just one morning I took it out to clean the stud, you know, the jewelry.”

“Yeah, I follow.”

“Well I looked back in the mirror and I just kinda though it was a “less is more” situation. You know with the just the nose piercing. It just looked more focused I guess. I don’t regret it if that’s what your asking.”

“Well I kinda was, in a way. You look a little like a punk in recovery.”

“Well you look like something that got shaken out of a J-Crew catalogue.”

“Wow, I guess that’s fair. You obviously mean that in a good way right?”

“Sure. Why not.”

“You tease hard don’t you?”

“I don’t remember saying I was teasing.”

“Oh you don’t have to. I can see it in your eyes. They laugh when your teasing but you don’t smile.”

“What does that mean?”

“Just a phrase I read once, ‘laughing eyes’. I didn’t know what it meant till just right now. Maybe you didn’t mean to but you did do me a kindness by showing me that. Now I don’t have spend my nights wondering what that looks like.”

“So do I have to ask how you got your eyebrow piercing?”


There was a silence after that, a brief one but Vinnie didn’t say anything, he just smiled at her, looking a little like that cat who caught the canary.

“It seems like you want me to ask,” Julie said.

“Of course I do! But you don’t ‘have to’,” he replied, still with that lopsided smile on his face.

Julie crossed her arms and waited, smiling right back.

After another moment, even longer than the last, he burst out, “Well if you are going to force me I’ll tell you. Just calm down, people might think you like me.”

“I wouldn’t want to give them the wrong impression” Julie said.

“Do you want the long version or the short version?”

“Obviously the long version. This hasn’t taken up nearly enough of my life already.”

“Well I should probably get you a coffee or something because we will be here for awhile.”

He stood up to get the drink from inside coffee shop, but Julie suddenly had a moment of clarity. One of those “oh fuck what exactly have been coming out of my mouth for the last five minutes” moments. “If he goes, he’s definitely not coming back,” she thought with alarm. “This is supposed to go well, you aren’t supposed to fuck it up till later idiot,” she mentally scolded herself.

So she reached out and grabbed Vinnie’s arm. “You know I was joking right? I’m not trying to be mean, I’m just playing. I just got a little carried away. Right?” That last ‘Right’ sounded desperate, even to her.

Vinnie leaned over Julie from his half standing position, still towering above her. “I knew you were joking little one. Like daddy said your eyes were smiling,” Vinnie whispered into her ear. This felt right, and at that moment any regrets Julie had had about coming here were gone. She felt lightheaded and knew beyond a shadow of a doubt she was blushing. As he sat back down she cleared her throat and tried to focus but she found that her mouth had dried up.

“Thank you. That’s ummmm….very sweet. But I don’t feel comfortable doing that right here or right now.”

“I’m patient” Vinnie said, but it was only at that moment that Julie could see that he was blushing too. “The moment just kinda carried me away,” He added, “I hear that happens.”

“Yes!,” Vinnie thought, “Gooooooooooooooaaaaaalllllllllll!!! Wow that was a rush. And her face, holy shit she was cute. I’ve never seen a punk blush at all before and I even got her ears to blush!”

Then she was talking again and Vinnie had to end his mental victory celebration early. “She’s not a baby or a child,” he mentally reminded himself, “even though the idea of her asking for a diaper change is the best thing ever. Okay focus, you are talking to an adult.”

Vinnie had entirely missed what she had said and apologized, “I’m sorry, I got lost in my own thoughts for a second there. Could you repeat that?”

“I said, you are pretty funny for a big guy.”

“Oooo…. I got some bad news for you then.”


“I’ve used up all my good conversation already. Twenty six years and that’s all I could come up with. So from now on I’m going to be incredibly boring. Now you have to take the lead and be as interesting, funny and good looking as I have been.”

“Shouldn’t I set the bar higher though? I want to shoot for more than ‘mildly interesting’, ‘barely funny’ and-,” she was interrupted from her train of thought by Vinnie flexing one arm and raising one eyebrow. “Okay being fairly good looking.”

They both laughed and the conversation started to wander, sorts of things that you alway talk about when first meeting, family, friends, music, work. Run of the mill stuff. They had messaged about it earlier, but they both discovered that they simply enjoyed listening to the others voice, and watching the each other’s small gestures. The small hand movements, the tilt of the head, the things everyone does while they talk, but is still as personal and specific as a fingerprint.

“So,” he said, “it’s been awhile since I’ve done one of these things.”

"What things?

“Well… I don’t know the right word anymore.”

“You mean a date?” She asked.

He sighed and Julie saw some tension that she wasn’t even aware of leave his shoulders.

“Thank you for saying out loud,” Vinnie said, “I’m not really good with the right language.”

“What do you mean?”

He leaned in, smiling, and asked, “Aren’t we not supposed to call dates ‘dates’ anymore? Isn’t it ‘hanging out’?”

“No I’ve done that before and it’s exhausting. I know people aren’t into labels anymore but I don’t really want to be ‘monogamous fuck buddies’ with anyone.”

“And it’s a mouthful,” he added helpfully, with his lopsided smile.

Then he smiled even wider and gets a devious look in his eye before he reached over and gently grasped her hand. “Julie,” he asked in a mock serious tone, “will you go in this date with me?”

“He is pretty cute for a big guy,” she thought. Then she joked back, “Aren’t you supposed to be on one knee? Don’t let the tattoos fool you, I’m a classy bitch.”

“Will you say yes if I do?” He asked.

“Only one way to find out.”

“Then you leave me no choice” he said as he put out his cigarette. Then Vinnie stood up only to get down on one knee, so tall he still is eye level with Julie, who is still sitting down. “What beautiful green eyes they are,” Vincent realized, noticing how well they go with the the blush rising in her cheeks.

Then he shouted,“Julie, will you make the happiest man in the world?”

Suddenly everyone in the coffee shop is looking at her expectantly.

You could hear a pin drop.

Her blush only deepens and he decides to throw her a break and wink. She takes the cue and then replies in a loud voice “Of course!”

Going with the moment Vinnie swept her up into his arms and out on the street followed only by the wild clapping of the coffee house crowd.

“I’m trying really hard to be charming, and you know, sort of sweep you off your feet.” Vinnie said, bouncing her in his arms for emphasis. “Is it working?”

Instead of answering, she hugged him and buried her head in his shoulder. That was all the answer that Vinnie needed. Then she looked back up in his eyes with a serious expression. “I’m not sure yet if you have to put me down or carry me the four blocks to the restaurant we are eating at.”

“You already picked for us?”

“Of course I did.”

You know what I have to apologize. I got ahead of myself. I’m sorry. I promised to begin and the beginning and I did begin at a beginning. But not the right beginning. I’ll pick the right moment this time, you’ll see.

Re: Moments- Prologue and Chapter One

What at feedback im personally interested in right now is more on my characters and dialogue. Detail work or more abstract things has always felt easier for me, but I’m really trying to reinforce the feeling of reality in this particular piece so I’m putting effort in dialogue and characterization.

Any feedback anyone has along those lines would be helpful, because as I intend for this to be a longer story I would like to know if I’m heading in the right direction or if I need to step back to the drawing board a bit before I really get going.

In my previous stories I was writing a story I wanted to read, now I am motivated to write something other people will want to read. I’m spending more time considering the readers this time round so I would like to know what the readers think.

Re: Moments- Prologue and Chapter One

I think the dialogue flows very easily. Nothing sounds forced at all - it’s a perfectly believable awkward exchange between two people who just met face-to-face for the first time.

As to the characters, it’s the first chapter, and you’ve only just begun revealing them to us, which is fine. We have little pieces of each of them, just as we have little pieces of the plot itself.

Re: Moments- Prologue and Chapter One

Thanks WBDaddy, I appreciate the feedback. It’s high praise coming from you.

I can tell when my dialogue improves when I do my various rewrites and fine tuning, but I have a had time feeling out when it’s done, when it’s as naturalistic as I want it to be without being plain.

Re: Moments -prologue.

The biggest problem I noticed, and a major pet peeve of mine, is tense error.

Here, Julie “looked,” “saw,” and “thought” is past tense, “waves” and “walks” is present tense. It is expected, in English literature, that the tense remain consistent throughout the story.

Here, you used the past tense “saw” and the present tense “has” in a single sentence, which is wrong. I always suggest focusing on technical grammar first as it will force you to think more carefully about what you write which will usually draw out a better piece. Remember your reader. I’m not sure about the line breaks, I know they separate scenes but I’d run a little narration paragraph at the beginning of the scene if you’re going to switch amidst dialogue.

Also, you are very dialogue heavy and, with that in mind, I think it leads to reader confusion to have so much internal dialogue. I’ve put an example below.

Might be better as:
“I’m Julie.” She replied making a vague wave with her hand as she considered the deep tone of his voice. (Unless you instead break up the dialogue a little with description).

The dialogue and characters, like WBDaddy says, needs more story before I can really comment to whether they feel “real” and dialogue like this feels unnatural to me but that’s because I don’t know anyone that talks this way - it sounds to formal. However, if it remains consistent, I’ll just chalk it up to dialect.

It was an interesting read; I hope you post more.

Re: Moments- Prologue and Chapter One

The easiest way to delineate internal from external dialogue is to italicize the “thought to his/herself” lines instead of putting them in quotes. For example,

Wow his voice is deep, Julie thought before she replied, “I’m Julie,” making a vague wave with her hand.

Now we have clarity. :slight_smile:

Re: Moments- Prologue and Chapter One

You’re totally right, my instincts were aghast at the notion because I thought italics need to be saved for citations and special circumstances and then I was, like, oh yeah, this isn’t technical writing. Man, I should just use italics for that myself… Thanks WBDaddy

Re: Moments- Prologue and Chapter One

Yeah, I’m a bit nervous - it’s entirely possible that I might have to relocate to take a job as a technical writer - never done it before, which is the terrifying part. I’m a fiction guy, ya know?

Re: Moments- Prologue and Chapter One

Thanks for the feedback.

I was aware of most of those problems, the tense issues certainly. I changed tense three times in my rough draft before chosing the past tense. I thought I had corrected most the issues but I knew that some had likely slipped by.

The helpful correction and suggestion of internal dialogue is much appreciated. It was another problem I was aware of but didn’t really know the best way to address.

As far as dialogue, I’ll show my hand and say that it is definitely not a dialect decision, just a personal foible. I tend to talk and think more formally than others do and that’s probably going to be something I struggle with for most of the story. Although, can you be more concrete about the too formal tone? Is there something specific or is it something subtle that pervades all the dialogue? Or perhaps an example of someone else’s strong and casual dialogue heavy text you can point to I can hopefully draw some lessons from?

Again I’ll restate that I really appreciate the feedback. I chose to write something like this specifically to challenge myself and grow as a writer. This chapter was particularly clunky because I was aware I was having some problems and figured it was best to get it out in the open and corrected rather than labouring away in the dark without the proper perspective or advice.

Thanks again WBDaddy and Whetoric

Re: Moments -prologue.

I think the reason I use the word “formal” is that your characters talk like authors write and not how people talk. I need characters to talk like people. So, I can’t think how to explain it except to use examples:

I don’t know anyone who asks two questions at once. Wouldn’t they just ask the second:
“So, why did you take out the piercing?”

Second this exchange:

Now, why would she think he was alluding to her regret when he simultaneously exhibiting his own scar. If he was ashamed, why bring it up? Also, if they both wore one, then wouldn’t she assume he knew the meaning of the word “stud” and, in fact, doesn’t almost everyone. Also, in that last bit of dialogue, the word “just” is used three times.

This is really over the top and flashy. Here, it feels like the ending of a bad romantic comedy. It just doesn’t feel real to me at all. Do you actually know people that make these grandiose gestures at a first meeting?

So, after pulling these quotes, I feel like “formal” was my way of explaining that their dialogue felt like something out a romantic comedy rather than real life. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s less my bag.

Re: Moments- Prologue and Chapter One

Yeah you aren’t wrong about that.

To address the last point first, I intend on having beats like that, that test against your incredulity, but I hope to either win over the reader by banking goodwill or by making the rest of the story feel so grounded that you buy into the reality. Kind of a ‘I know it was cheesy but I loved it anyway’ thing.

Add to that if I did something utterly realistic in tone, something I doubt I could do even if I wanted to, I fear that I would quickly lose the attention span of the reader.

The specific points you addressed of too formal speech are really helpful for my improvement. I would attribute some of the problems to the overly rushed writing I did, but some element of it is definitely an structural element I have in the way I write. And probably talk, in all honesty.

So two last requests, even though you have been extremely generous with your help so far. One, do you have a particular example of naturalistic speech that might be helpful for me to eyeball? And second, I’ll admit to my ego feeling a little bruised. I’m not trying to fish for compliments, but I would like to know if their were any elements that you though were successful.

Thanks again, and much apreciation for the help Whetoric.

Re: Moments- Prologue and Chapter One

This one:

That was pretty natural. I liked it. I think you should have explained that she said the first line sarcastically because, in the written word, the way she says it isn’t clear until the third paragraph and it has to be reread but the dialogue is fine.

Don’t let your ego be bruised. A common fault of writers is trying to write what they don’t know. Perhaps there’s some people out there who have incredibly witty conversations as a matter of course. I’m not, so I don’t write them. If you’re a flirtatious guy who’s always picking up the ladies, you might try that sort of dialogue but, if you’re not, stick to what you know. If you try to write something you’ve never experienced it’ll ring false.

This is why all self-insert fiction and fanfiction is so bad. Those authors try to write themselves five levels of social heirarchy higher than they are and they have no idea how people function up there and it shows.

Re: Moments- Prologue and Chapter One

Yeah he’s intended you read cheesy and she intended to read sarcastic. I was trying to avoid making it blatant or obvious but it seems like I managed to confuse it instead.

My ego can recover, don’t worry. I went into this project knowing that I probably needed a to be humbled a little. I think that might be common with most writers.

As far as the dialogue goes, I’d like to push myself beyond my comfort zone with it. You are helping me with that and I appreciate it. That is to say, I’m I know I’m capable of witty dialogue, but that can easily fall into something that it feels like is over written. You know like sitcom writing for example. Nothing wrong with that, but that’s not what I’m trying to achieve.

I will say however that there is a fine line between “writing what you know” and not pushing your own limits. But then again I’ve always had an issue with that particular truism. It’s not wrong, but it’s a little narrow is all. I would offer up instead “don’t write about what you don’t understand”.

But I’m glad that you liked that particular portion. It was part of one of the last revisions I made so I feel like I’m honing on to something I’m aiming for.

Thanks again to both you, Whetoric and WBDaddy. I’m going to over haul what I’ve written so far and post it when I feel like I’ve gotten it closer to what I want it to be.

Again if anyone has any other feedback that wasn’t already touched on, or even if it runs counter to what others are saying I’d love to hear it. I know it’s too short to make any grand sweeping statements but I would like to get as much feedback as possible so I can put my best foot forward with the re-write.

Re: Moments- Prologue and Chapter One

It’s a good start to a good story. I like it so keep it up. U just have to make sure u are using proper english. Wow I even need to start doing that. Lol