Short Story

While playing with the Ren'py visual novel engine, I tried to remember this short story from a college writing course and didn't get very far, but I'm taking another crack at it reconsituting it here. We had to write two stories – I spent the entire semester writing this one (so this is probably a distilled version, but perhaps better for it) and had to write the second in one night, so the latter was probably garbage. The first one got a nice comment from the instructor and mixed reviews from my classmates. A male student commented that the characters were ridiculously unbelievable. But a female student approached me after my reading and said "I know someone just like that!"

I met her on the beach. Even now, when I see sand, I think of her. We walked and held hands and occasionally kissed, but mostly she liked to hug. Her kisses tasted sweet but she hugged like a boa constrictor.

She didn't seem that interested in getting beyond the kisses and the bone-crushing hugs. One time at her apartment it looked like we were getting somewhere, but the building fire alarm went off, so we got dressed and went to her favorite restaurant, a neighborhood Chinese place that catered to the college crowd. In other words, mediocre food and cheap alcohol. Or maybe I have that reversed.

She had other boyfriends. I met one of them, Rick, when he showed up on her apartment, on leave from the army. Rick didn't seem surprised or displeased to see me, but he did pull out a butterfly knife and flick it around like he was in a kung-fu movie. For a moment I thought he was going to stab me. Instead, he genially handed the knife to me and said "Give it a try."

Maybe he thought I'd know how to handle a butterfly knife because I'm Asian, but if so, he was wrong. After flailing the knife around and slicing my palm, I handed it back to him and tried not to bleed on the carpet.

We went out to dinner, all three of us, at the Chinese place of course, me and Rick sitting on either side of her, back against a mirrored wall. It was kind of a thrill when she held my hand (the non-bleeding one) under the table, until I looked back on the wall and saw she was also holding Rick's.

As they waved goodnight to me after seeing me to the bus stop, I made up my mind not to see her anymore. But late that night she showed up at my place, still tipsy from dinner. "See my new sweater?" she said and made herself comfortable on the sofa.

She watched as I commenced unbuttoning the sweater. "Do you like it?" I nodded yes as I concentrated. It had a ridiculous number of tiny buttons going all the way up and down.

"Rick gave it to me," she offhandedly mentioned after I worked my way down a dozen buttons. I paused the operation and looked up.

"Where's Rick?"

"Oh, he's waiting for me back at my apartment."

I commenced rebuttoning. "The last bus is coming soon," I said as I worked my way back up.

She pouted but let me walk her back to the bus stop.

"Will I see you tomorrow?" she said as the bus approached.

"No, you won't."

She pouted again. "I don't believe you."

"I mean it."

She gave me an injured look and boarded the bus. But I knew I'd see her again.

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