A Contender Lost — Harley May

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, comes a lovely guest blogger I like to call HM. But really, she’s Harley May.  Friend. Writer. Mutant Pervert. Ahem.  Here, let me pimp her for you.

Harley and I decided to write not-typical-smoochy-cutesy Valentine’s related flash and swap stories as guest bloggers. To make them semi-relatable she and I both chose two words we had to incorporate. Harley chose: BEEF JERKY and REGRET; I chose: CANDY HEARTS and HOSPITAL.

There. I think that’s all you need to know about us.

And now, HM.


A Contender Lost by Harley May

You probably won’t read this, but I need to put it out there. I’m leaving it where we met – in the study room at the library. You were so different back then, your bangs hanging in your face like a set of bars between you and the rest of the world.

I went to the hospital last week after I heard about your motorcycle accident. Your mom found me outside the waiting room where I still hadn’t worked up the nerve to walk in. She told me you were going to be okay, and asked if I wanted to see you. I felt like I was about to cry, so left.

We never said ‘I love you.’ I wish I had, but didn’t want to be the one to say it first. It was more than implied a few times, especially on the couch. Our couch. Those were honestly my favorite kind of days – with your head on one pillow, my head on the other, reading to each other.

Do you remember when we read The Human Stain? That’s when I wanted to say it most. I’d just read, “The pleasure isn’t in owning the person. The pleasure is this. Having another contender in the room with you.” You stopped rubbing your knuckle against the sole of my foot and said, “That’s what you are – my contender.”

I had to give the couch away.

You’ve moved on and she seems lovely. Younger and more glamorous and perfectly nice and I kind of hate her and want her shoes at the same time. It’s wrong of me to resent her since I’m the one who ended it. You stayed away from me so much better than I did from you afterward. That’s why it wasn’t healthy. I was just tired. Tired of fighting, tired of loving you so much, tired of wondering, tired of hurting, tired of feeling like we might explode.

It’s almost been ten months and I’m still not over you. Ten months. That’s so depressing to write on paper. So…I’m leaving town. I need to. After I left your mother at the hospital, I bought beef jerky and a box of candy hearts at the gas station. I hate those things, but wanted them because they were two of your favorite things and a part of you.

I’ll get over this, but for now, to quote our Vincent, who we read so often on the couch, “Where you used to be, there is a hole in the world, which I find myself constantly walking around in the daytime, and falling in at night. I miss you like hell.”

Several years down the road, we’ll run into each other, and I’ll be fine. We’ll pull out pictures of our kids, exchange stories, and laugh. Only deep down I’ll know that no one was ever as great a contender as you. So I’m saying it now – I love you.


I can’t explain how much I really adore the above piece. I adore HM too.

Harley May is a reader and writer of many things. She rocks the humor (and a guitar), yet has a tender heart. I am one lucky chick for getting to know her and cannot wait to read her future pieces.

Like what you hear? Like what you read? Then visit Harley’s blog or follow her on twitter @harleymaywrites. In the words of Harley, “THIS WILL BE AWESOME.”

Read my un-Valentine’s piece, An Ordinary Broken Heart, with the same prompts here.

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    An Ordinary Broken Heart by Jules Archer « Harley May

    February 9, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    […] does the twitter at @julesjustwrite. You can read my Valentines post with the same prompts here – A Contender Lost.  Share this:ShareTwitterFacebookStumbleUponLike this:LikeBe the first to like this […]

  • Reply

    Harley May

    February 9, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    Thanks for having me, Jules! You know how to throw a blog party.

  • Reply


    February 9, 2012 at 3:45 pm

    This is a truly amazing story…it feels & reads like a real, human experience. Thank you BOTH for sharing (yes, I read your fantastic story too Jules!) Keep up the above average work that I am sure makes all other writers grimace with envy.

  • Reply

    Harley May

    February 10, 2012 at 1:53 am

    Thank you for reading and finding the real human experience, Down and Dirty Design. I like you. : )

  • Reply


    February 10, 2012 at 6:19 am

    “I kind of hate her and want her shoes at the same time.”
    I love this line so much because it just pours out honesty that is so raw and so incredibly real.

    My goodness how I love this piece. I just simply adore your writing, Harley.
    Also love this ‘Valentines Day’ theme you’ve adhered to because love hurts and it is not always about chocolates and romance.

    Well done.

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