Small Stories

Last night I chastised a boy (Kevin) in the dorm lounge for telling this story: “I was walking Emily (his female friend) back to her dorm across campus.  We passed the old frat house, where there were a bunch of drunk people in costumes.  But Emily was just walking by with her bicycle helmet on her head.  It was funny.”

I gave him shit because his story wasn’t really a story.  “Where’s the beginning, middle, and end?  You only had setting.”  I teased him about it before going upstairs to sleep.  Then my hallmates, just arrived from a party, sidetracked me.  They were loudly playing League while struggling not to throw up.

“How was it?”

“It was great,” Oliver said.  They had went to the frat to celebrate his birthday.  “I saw a really cute girl.”

“Ooh, did you make out with her?”

“I didn’t get a chance to.  But I told her she was really cute while we were dancing, and she giggled.  Not in an uncomfortable way, but in a totally adorable way.”

The next morning, I realized I was a total hypocrite for shaming Kevin for his anecdote.  Because, in idleness, my mind kept wandering and resting on those tiny glimpses of life.  Despite their brevity, they were such salient and vivid images.  Dorky Kevin smiling in appraisal at the guileless face beneath the helmet brim.  Oliver breathing in the scent of his partner’s hair, in awe of the beauty the world has to offer.  These little tales were like candid photographs.

And despite the lack of plot or purpose, the boys told the stories anyway — purely because they felt and enjoyed the moment so much.  It was so sentimental that I wanted to cry.  I am a total sucker for these nutshell anecdotes.  If I ever pursue experimental fiction, this would be my focus.

Right now I’m sitting in a plush armchair of a Starbucks, in the corner designed as a modern glass clamshell.  I’m thinking about dance music and brief literature and boys loving girls.  An unexpected storm streams down the windows, streaking the black glass and frothing a waterfall around us that is at once intimidating and calming.  I feel so much wonder with my home, my dream school.  I wish I could take a snapshot of this moment.

In Starbucks with rain around the glass windows — I have a mini story of my own.

-M.L.

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