Gabby (Writing Prompt 14)

The prompt was:

A story within a story.

There was once a little girl. Her name was Gabby.

Gabby liked to talk. She talked to anyone who would listen. She would speak so fast and for so long that no one else had a chance to get a word in. She rambled on about obvious things, like what was on television, or the color of the sky, or how to spell her name. Anything at all, as long as she was talking. Most people, especially adults, were annoyed by it. They kept their patience as long as they could, but pretty soon it would get irritating. A few would tell her, “You’re talking so much that I can’t even think!” In the end, they would always say,

“Go play, Gabby. But please keep quiet.”

Gabby liked attention. She liked to show off everything she got, everything she had, and anything she saw. She would shove her toys in people’s faces to make sure they saw them. She would brag for hours about her new presents, or papers that she brought home from school. Most people, especially other kids, were annoyed by it. Some of them were happy for her, but grew tired of hearing about the same thing over and over. Some of them were jealous because she made them feel like she had more stuff than they did. In the end, they would always say,

“Go play, Gabby. But please keep quiet.”

Gabby liked to touch people. She liked to give hugs, and hold hands, and pat people on the back. She would run up to anyone and throw her arms around them and tell them she loved them. Even people she did not know very well–or did not know at all; family members, friends at school, teachers, sometimes even strangers in the grocery store. Most people, especially the strangers, were annoyed by it. A few were pleasantly surprised, but most of them were worried for her safety if she kept running up hugging strangers and proclaiming her love for them. They were usually nervous and uncertain how to handle it. In the end, they would always say,

“Go play, Gabby. But please keep quiet.”

Gabby liked to get into trouble. She liked to take toys from the other kids, and draw on the wall with permanent marker, and tell lies. The other kids would get mad and tell their parents, the adults would get upset and call her mother, and she would lie to her mother and say that the other kids were to blame. Most people, especially anyone who noticed her tendency for trouble, were annoyed by it. Eventually they would give up, exasperated. In the end, they would always say,

“Go play, Gabby. But please keep quiet.”

Gabby liked people. Even when they did not like her. Most people never bothered to look beyond her ‘annoying’ habits. But the few who did take the time to really look at her saw that those habits told another story. One of a sad little girl who just wanted to be loved.

Gabby talked a lot because, at home, no one talked to her. Her parents were always wrapped up in their own adult conversations, and no one had time to talk down to a child who would not understand college and work and grown-up relationships. She just wanted to be part of the conversation; to be included. She just wanted to be noticed.

Gabby liked attention because, at home, no one even looked at her. The people at the local church would send toys to the house at Christmas because they pitied her, and her grandparents did their best to spoil her, but her parents were too greedy. They only spent money on cars and computers and grown-up things. She did not care that they did not buy her things; she had no use for toys anyway if no one was going to play with her.

Gabby liked to touch people because, at home, she did not get enough hugs. Her parents were too busy watching television and sitting on the computer to bother giving her hugs and attention. Her father only gave her high-fives and patted her on the head to placate her before sending her off to play. Her mother was too busy chatting on the internet, and would not take her fingers off the keyboard long enough to hug her own daughter. She just wanted the loving touch of another human being.

Gabby liked to get into trouble because, at home, the only real attention she ever got was when her parents were yelling at her. They would finally talk to her when they would ask her why she did what she did. They would give her attention for the time they were yelling at her or expressing their disappointment. It showed that–even if only for a moment–she was on their mind. When they spanked her, they would pull her close and wrap their hand around her arm, and she would remember what it meant to feel someone else’s skin against her own. The more she got in trouble, the more attention she received.

There was once a little girl. Her name was Gabby. A man came up to her outside her school one day and gave her everything she ever wanted. He talked to her for a while, and listened to everything she wanted to say. He paid attention to her and commented on how pretty her hair was, and what a lovely smile she had. He even gave her a big hug. But he never let her go.

Now, Gabby is in trouble. She promises that if she can go home, she will be quiet. She will never talk to strangers again. If she can go home, she will never beg for attention or force people to notice her. She will never hug another person, especially not a stranger. She will be good, she really will. But it is too little, too late. Now the man tells her,

“We’re going to play, Gabby. But please keep quiet.”

There was once a little girl. There was, once.

Got a poem, sentence, or short story that fits the prompt? Share it in the comments!



One Comment on “Gabby (Writing Prompt 14)

  1. Pingback: Showcasing other writers, November 30, 2015 | The Write Edge Writing Workshop by Ekta R. Garg

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