Tag Archives: short story


23 Jul

A boy-meets-girl coffeehouse romance.

The warm and mellow sounds of smooth jazz blended with rich, melodious laughter of silken-haired girls wearing neutral-toned shorts or floral dresses suitable for summer, the affable chatter of friends, young and old, and coupled with the thick, ambrosial aroma of finely brewed coffee wafting through the open doorway of the lushly vivacious coffeehouse were enough to melt his resolve to briskly continue home-bound. He walked in, and instantly his body warmed with approval for the shop’s jovial and satisfying contrast to the paradoxical cold summer wind. He meandered around the shop, absorbing into his soul the homely hues of the walls, the abundant glowing lights, the bright smiles and cordial ambiance, and wondered what he was going to order while staring aloof at the faces and beverages of others. Somehow his perambulation brought him to the queue, behind a man with a navy collared shirt and beige khakis. When it was his turn, he smiled at the dark-haired cashier wearing a green apron and said “Can I get a tall Italian Roast?”, handing her a wrinkled five dollar bill from his pant pocket, to which she smiled back, showing her bright teeth, and replied “Coming right up, sir.”

After receiving his Italian Roast, he resumed his calm, careless meandering and unconscious assessment of the various people chatting, typing, smiling, sipping away on wooden, rectangular chairs seated around the warm mahogany wood round or square tables. At least, until he figured that he really needed a place to sit first before getting too lost in thought and quickly re-scanned the room for an empty chair or table to sit at, noting in his mind that it would be better to find an empty table so he would not have to awkwardly disturb another in his business. He was not much one for conversation, being extremely quiet and reserved (people who do not quite know him may even classify him as shy), though his friends often joked that if he was, his handsome, charming looks and gentleman-by-default nature would have all the girls falling at his feet.

He spotted an empty chaise tucked smugly in the corner of the room under a small, round table, and walked over hoping that no one else sat at the table, for he could not see eighty percent of the table from where he stood. But as fast as the thought was registered, he immediately abjured his foolish words the moment he saw her.

She was sitting at the miniature table with only a small coffee cup in the center, wearing a pair of white shorts, a pastel pink top, and black bow-tie flats. Her legs were crossed and hanging over the side of her chair, which was pressed against the wall. Lightly clutching a book in hand, he could tell she was completely and utterly absorbed, lost in another world. Slivers of evening sunlight poured through the glass shop window and illuminated her soft, wavy, auburn hair that fell in light tresses from her heart-shaped face, and she only moved her long pianist fingers with lightly manicured French nails to tuck a loose lock of golden-brown hair behind her ear. Her face seemed as if it was glowing; she was smiling at her book, a subtle, tiny smile, her cheeks had a tint of rosiness to them, her eyes shone through her ebony-framed glasses — her overall visage was radiant with light and life and brilliance. After several seconds of staring, he caught and mentally cursed at himself, took a breath to steady himself, and walked over as calmly as he could. He was merely a foot away from the table when she noticed him and looked up from her book. He was taken off guard, forgetting all about his self-talk about being smooth and friendly and funny and the farthest thing from awkward, and just stood there, mouth hanging open just a bit, when she smiled ever so slightly and put her book down, saying “Well, aren’t you going to sit down and drink your coffee?”, gesturing with her “long pianist fingers” (yes, that is what he named them) to the wooden chair opposite from her. Snapped out of a reverie of sorts (though he would never admit that), he mustered his friendliest smile and greeted her with a too-shy/quiet-sounding “Hi” and bit his lip, looking away, pretending like that. and pulled out the chair, sat down, and set his coffee on the table. An inch from hers, he thought, just before she reached to take a sip from her cup. He peered over at her book and wondered what kind of perfection it was that could make her so excited, so delighted. Pride and Prejudice, it read, in curly gold font. She blushed when she noticed him glancing sideways at her book and admitted sheepishly while covering her face, laughing, “I know, I know, I’m such a hopeless romantic.”

“No!” he said, quickly, just a tad bit too loud. He grinned despite himself. Vocal modulation, much? “No, I mean. I’ve read Pride and Prejudice. It’s really good.”

“You have?” She inquired curiously, eyebrows raised, looking at his face.

“Ah, woops. Wasn’t supposed to mention that. Yeah, I have read it. Uh,  the romance is…” He searched for a word to describe it. “Captivating”, she supplied, smiling widely, dimples showing.

“Yeah, that.” He grinned, leaning forward in his chair. “What else have you read?”

“Hm…I liked Kite Runner, total tearjerker. Angela’s Ashes was beautiful, I read that last week… Wuthering Heights, Emma, Vanity Fair, The Tale of Two Cities, Huckleberry Fin, The Three Musketeers, Gone with the Wind…”

“Woah, how many books have you read?”

“Gosh, a million? I’ve lost count.” They laughed.

“I’ve read some good books, too, but not nearly as many classics as you have”, he said, delighted simply at the fact that they were having a simple conversation. “I liked Da Vinci CodeLord of the Rings is pretty amazing, if you ask me, and The Hitchhiker’s Guide is hilarious.”

“Interesting”, she said, still smiling, with lights dancing in her huge, round, clear orbs called eyes.

And they talked the rest of the evening away, as if it was the most natural thing in the world, tucked away in their own little world in the corner of a small, warm, bustling coffeehouse on the intersection of Addison and Alcott, filled with lights and fragrance and smooth jazz, until the last call for coffee and the shop was time to close.

She gathered her book and jacket in her arms, singing softly along to “Fly Me to the Moon” by Frank Sinatra that was playing in the background. They walked to the front of the shop and he opened the door for her, letting her go first, as the cool wind tugged at strands of her hair. Once they were outside, he knew it was time to go but there was something he had to say to her, something he had to confirm from the girl who conquered all of his attention for an evening, and he knew, many, many, more evenings and days and times to come. And he remembered, smiling to himself, his painfully awkward “hi” and that he never truly greeted her.

“How was your day?” It was a simple question, and simply an excuse for him…

She turned, a silvery light reflecting off her hair, cheeks flushed. He could see a smile playing on her lips, a smile that she tried to contain, at first, then thought the better of. She looked up at his face that was inches away from hers, anxiously awaiting her response, wanting to know more, so much more than what he was able to put into words. Radiant, her face shining bright with the golden luminescence of the shop’s lights and her hair illuminated by moon shards, with her playful smile and a glint in her eyes, and whispered a single word that answered every question swarming his mind and more,


a revolution to forget.

18 Jul

I stare at the glass. Inside are the images of who we once were, what we have lost, those we cherished and betrayed. A pang of guilt squeezes my insides, but I remind myself of how far I have come and all that I — we — have sacrificed to get here. And I know that I cannot look back, or hold onto the past. It is lost. It is gone. I must move on, for the sake of our futures, for the sake of our world. Life and ignorance is the burden I must bear, and my resolve hardens. Teeth clenched and body stiffened, I grab the ancient and cold mirror, the glass canvas that always remembers, always reminds, and toss it out of the window of the 18th story. I stand there for a while, muscles loosening, eyes shutting slowly, as if for a second, I can simply forget the world, everything. Then I hear the crash — a sharp and dreaded screech, knocking me out of my reverie, and I turn my back, not daring to look back at the shattered glass and forsaken memories, as my consciousness ruthlessly drags me back to the world. The world that contains all my sins and lies and betrayals, that no matter how hard I and the rest of us try to forget, will always somehow follow us as a burden, a shadow encroaching upon new, renewed life. But it is not the same world any longer — the world is changing, it has already evolved into something bigger, something greater, something new and pure and beautiful. A blank canvas.

The revolution is over. And it is time to forget, time to start over, time to live and be free. For the sake of our future — humanity’s future.

The walls.

17 Jul

The walls around me are plaster white and bumpy, they watch my every movement and absorb my heartbeat into its walls.

I sit up straighter, looking straight ahead, and place one of my palms on the wall. It’s cold, I think. It’s so cold. And my heart starts to race again, racing for the hand that is so far from safety, racing for the hand that is somehow out my reach, my jurisdiction, my control, my comfort zone. Racing for the hand that is so absorbed the tiny ridges and crevices and bumps that run smooth and cold under my fingertips, like the laughing brook at home.

Home. How did I end up in the place, this cold, cold place? This icy, foreign land that is such a stranger to me. I think about laughing brooks, I think about home, and I wonder why I remember the thought of laughing brooks, but not the image, not the memory. I also do not have a memory or image associated with Home. How silly, I think to myself, unconvincingly, to think about Home! But I am unable to push the thought of Home from my mind. I whisper to the walls, but only in my head, because I am scared of being heard, and because the walls are cold and smooth and white…so white that they seem almost transparent, but only because I know the world beyond the walls is surely not pure white. How do I know? I think to myself, How do I know the world isn’t white? I have been trapped inside these walls for as long as I can remember, as long as I dare to remember. For beyond these walls are secrets, deep, dark, traitorous secrets, that I am sure of. And I do not question myself any longer.

I have no memory of the outside world, but the world of these four walls is still deeply foreign to me. I count the walls again, for the hundred-thousandth time. That is the only thing that makes me feel safe, secure; the knowledge of these four walls. I sometimes wonder how I got trapped in here, and have thought of screaming for help or trying to break out, but I know, I just know, that there are people listening to me beyond these four walls, beyond my whole world. There are people watching, waiting, listening… Sometimes I think that if I press my ear to the wall, softly, I can hear the buzzing and mumbling of movements outside, the sharp draw of breath, the long, half-hearted sigh, the steady and loud breaths from the ones beyond the walls, but it might just be my imagination. How much of me can they see? Am I just an experiment? Was I abandoned and put in here? Is this my punishment? Or do they not even know I am here? If that is so, then is it really okay for me to yell for help, or try to break the wall?

I run my fingers over the sides of the wall again, this time curiosity getting the better of me, and I span a greater distance than the last time I dared to touch the walls. Tracing a line with my four fingers, I press so lightly that it’s like I am not even touching the walls, but pure air. Cold, icy, smooth, electric air. The reason I press so lightly is because I have a fear that if I press too hard, the wall will turn to ice, and shatter. I don’t know why I am so afraid of the wall shattering, because I am sure I will be able to get out then. But I wonder if I even want to get out.

So I continue, only just surviving, sustaining, in my icy smooth world inside the four walls.