Wednesday, April 6, 2022

“Middle School Heartbreak” • by Roxana Arama

And now the finalists in this week’s Pete Wood Challenge. Taking the bronze is frequent contributor Roxana Arama, with:

“Middle School Heartbreak”

For his first date in middle school, his dad gave him their family’s last twenty-dollar bill, enough for two ice creams but not flowers. In his backyard, the yellow rosebush was full of deadheads, but he gathered an okay bouquet.

When he offered it to her, she laughed. “What’s this, secondhand roses?”

His stomach dropped. He wore his brother’s hand-me-downs, while she always looked like a catalog model. She’d only said yes to humiliate him. He turned away before she could see his tears.

“Wait,” she called after him. “Can I have a second chance?”

He wanted to say yes. 

Roxana Arama is a Romanian-American writer and a member of Codex Writers’ Group. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College, her work has been acknowledged in several literary contests and magazines, and her website is She lives in Seattle with her family. Follow her on Twitter at @RoxanaArama.