To be honest, I felt this piece was perfect the way it was, before you updated it. I feel like cutting away the "fat", as you call it, took away a lot of the imagery and lessened the strength of feeling that came with it, because there's less buildup time now, and a shorter resolution. I'm sorry, I know you put a lot of work into this.
I didn't see the earlier versions, but this seems like a well-polished piece. It definitely doesn't look like there's any more you could stand to trim: you might be able to tell the same story without quite so much detail at the beginning, but I don't think it would be as effective.
I can spot only a couple of things that might be worth a change: "debating who really the best actor to play Batman was" is one. I'm guessing this might have already been shifted around a bit during editing, as it makes sense but the "really" doesn't seem to belong there (unless it's a regional quirk I've never come across before). The other is the sentence beginning "Our ritual became less often." Dictionary.com suggests that "often" can mean "frequent" (which I think would make sense, though it's probably too formal here) but that's archaic.
That's really it, though. Having one small detail at the end of a story illustrate a greater change is a tried and tested technique, and I think you've used it well. I agree with *glossolalias that you've turned a very ordinary situation into something remarkable.
And thanks for posting this Lit. Comm. Experiment; it has been really exciting to meet and mingle with other writers on DA, and this Experiment has been very instrumental in introducing writers to each other from across DA.
As much as I am flattered, you've picked a qualified LAMDA instructor to ask (me) and in Spoken Verse and Prose you need to select published works. This has been posted on an art network and not considered as published, similar to if you chose your own piece of writing. Depending on your grade, stick to known prose that has lots of dynamic moments that shows off your voice- this would be too flat for an exam piece.
I am assuming that if you are doing SVP, you have selected poems from the LAMDA vol 2 collection? What Grade are you doing? I am happy to help you select appropriate material, but do make sure it is published!
22:38:01 <WetKakashi> Beccalicious: I think the writing would benefit more if you can describe how the biscuits tasted by method of dunking. I really like the subtle actions between the two characters but I wasn't able to get the emotions that she felt. Now if you were to delve further into how the biscuit tasted when his presence was around and not around and when he's gone off with another girll.
22:16:10 <lightningmonkey> Beccalicious: it's so...British. 22:16:14 <zebrazebrazebra> dunking Oreos in tea just ruins both tea and biscuit alike. <-- For this alone your story wins. 22:16:16 <Drunken-Splice> I'm starting with micro stuff because I...just am. "in return I would mock him in retaliation" seems redundant 22:16:25 <Drunken-Splice> it is very British hahaha 22:16:42 <Beccalicious> lol 22:16:43 <zebrazebrazebra> Yeah, I agree with Drunken-Splice. Therefore also being redundant. 22:17:06 ** Arichy has left [connection closed] 22:17:11 <Sandstar12> awesome, a tea-drinking story! 22:17:28 <zebrazebrazebra> such as when we were at school and we'd sit under the chestnut tree in a similar gathering that sadly lacked tea. <-- this is quite a clumsy structure, I like the kick in the tail joke but it just needs a bit of tightening. 22:17:52 <Beccalicious> the first draft of this was written on my iphone just for random fact. 22:18:02 <zebrazebrazebra> Yeah I saw in the AC. You mad. 22:18:05 <Beccalicious> which is why I think it feels clunky mind 22:18:18 <Sandstar12> 'It was the two of us being ourselves and nobody else around.' - I found this a little clumsy, yes, clunky is perhaps a better word 22:18:22 <lightningmonkey> Beccalicious: I'm not sure how I feel about the social references in the story, as it feels like it could've been placed anywhere in the last 50 years, except for when you start talking about House and Facebook 22:18:35 <zebrazebrazebra> Yeah I agree with that, except I actually liked the Batman reference. 22:18:41 <zebrazebrazebra> Maybe 'cause Batman has been around so much longer. 22:18:46 <lightningmonkey> Batman could be anywhere in the last 50 years, though 22:18:47 <lightningmonkey> yeah 22:18:50 <Drunken-Splice> " It was one of those silly things we argued about" feels very blah to me. I think we already know they like to argue over it, and the fact that you have things like oreos and custard etc gives it the silly side 22:19:19 <Beccalicious> so are you suggesting make it more timeless? 22:19:26 <lightningmonkey> I think so, yeah. 22:19:34 <zebrazebrazebra> As a more macro thing, there are soooooooo many short full stop sentences in this. By the fourth para or so I'm craving variation. 22:19:41 <lightningmonkey> I think that without the Harry Potter/House/Facebook stuff, it's pretty fitting to be any time 22:20:03 <zebrazebrazebra> Oh that ending is clever. I like that. 22:20:25 <lightningmonkey> "It was endearing to know he was only ever truly himself around me." <-- That tells me just a bit too much. 22:20:53 <Drunken-Splice> Beccalicious: careful of your "just"s. There seem to be a lot of them. I don't know about you, but lately I feel like I put them in everywhere myself, and every single time I ran into it when I edited later, it didn't need to be said. 22:21:24 <lightningmonkey> Beccalicious: Things like "We still argued over Harry Potter, but as life moved, so did we" could easily be reduced to "We still argued, but....etc." without it affecting the story too drastically 22:21:51 <zebrazebrazebra> We were inseparable in those moments; the rest of the world melted away. <-- Maybe it's tacky but you have such an opportunity there for somethhing melting like an overdunked bikkie. 22:21:59 <lightningmonkey> hahahaha 22:22:08 * zebrazebrazebra is giving out sleep deprived advice now. 22:22:25 <Beccalicious> I like what you mean zebrazebrazebra, to continue back to the biscuit theme 22:22:46 ** WetKakashi has joined 22:23:17 <HtBlack> That same kind of metaphor could be used when talking of him leaving with the other girl, actually. 22:23:39 <HtBlack> (sorry to jump in like this, was a bit distracted ) 22:23:45 * Beccalicious makes note to find an irish biscuit 22:23:47 <zebrazebrazebra> What, he dunked his biscuit in some other girl's tea? o_o 22:23:56 <Sandstar12> rofl 22:24:06 <HtBlack> LOL 22:24:07 <Drunken-Splice> lmao 22:24:14 <lightningmonkey> "dunked his biscuit" 22:24:21 <HtBlack> 22:24:39 <zebrazebrazebra> We call it his Scotch Finger. 22:24:39 <Beccalicious> lol 22:24:40 <HtBlack> double win for zebrazebrazebra, it seems. XD 22:24:44 <lightningmonkey> hahaha 22:24:51 * lightningmonkey tips his hat to the zebra 22:24:55 <zebrazebrazebra> Although custard cream is also strangely appropriate... On a more serious note I really loved how you've got the details of the changes in their biscuit time evoking the changes in their relatiosnhip. I think you can make it even more pivotal in the functioning of the story. 22:28:47 <zebrazebrazebra> Cut anything that tells us how they feel and demonstrate it through biscuits. 22:28:55 <lightningmonkey> Beccalicious: I think there's just several moments where you overstate things a bit, especially toward the end where you've got "I grabbed the first biscuit as the waves of regret overpowered me."
I like the ending. This felt like it got more believable as the story neared its conclusion. The first two paragraphs tended to waffle a bit. I know you're bringing some of this up to share with us at the ending, but some of it seems a bit lengthy. For example We judged people by their Facebook activity and used it to review our past encounters, such as when we were at school and we'd sit under the chestnut tree in a similar gathering that sadly lacked tea. I think some sentences like this could be condensed, and maybe other parts developed so that you could show more of the characters themselves, rather than their interests, particularly when the interests are somewhat generic.
Having said that, this started to feel stronger as you pressed on and there are some great lines in here. I like "We always made time for tea and biscuits." - it brings the poignancy of the ending home that bit harder. And of course the final two paragraphs are really good. You really convey strongly the image of someone sitting at home in her kitchen, doing something which is powerfully meaningful only to her. If you tidied up some of the earlier stuff, this could be a really strong piece.
Glad it was helpful. I had another read-through and I like the way it reads now. I still love the third paragraph.
A few small pointers remain.
The summers sat watching the cool kids play football whilst we pretended we were secret agents searching for the bad guys and the leaf fights of the autumn that followed. This is actually... not a sentence. Unless you are saying that the summers themselves were sitting watching the cool kids play football, in which case it is a confusing sentence that doesn't make much sense. You need something like "We spent the summers..." or "In the summers we sat..."
then the way he way always seemed so relaxed There's an extra 'way'. an over dunked rich tea I think technically as a compound adjective it's meant to be over-dunked, but you could probably get away with overdunked if you wanted to. I don't think it stands well as two words.
felt sick when they mentioned the baby. There's a single line break here. Not sure if it was meant to be a new paragraph or the same one, but it's currently betwixt and between.
I'm not sure if the Irish shortbread bit was there before but I really like it!
I looked at the pink teapot sat on my windowsill with a desire to use it. 'with a desire to use it' sounds a bit awkward (not to mention it sounds like it's the teapot that has the desire). 'and felt an urge to use it' would be better. Making a separate sentence ('I felt a desire to use it.') would be better still as it picks up the pace. The language is fairly 'slow' in the rest of the piece, which is fine as it's reminiscing and being wistful and descriptive, but it seems like the end few paragraphs (after the shift to the present day) deserve a change from that.
Sorry to come right back at you with more changes after you've already refreshed it I do think this is much improved, and most of the things I've suggested are little nips and tucks here and there. Removing the pop culture references really pepped it up and I agree that a lot of the fat has been cut. I have offered a few finer trims but this is really becoming quite awesome now