Short Story 11

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We had gone together to see The Mikado, which was performed in the largest campus theater. We were standing outside my dorm, surrounded by crowds of students flocking back to their rooms for the night or lingering on the sidewalk like we were. It was March and the air was already sticky. Our conversation flitted all over the theater we’d left behind, going over every detail of what we’d seen and heard.

There was a pause. I don’t remember this pause, but Sam assured me recently that there was indeed a long pause, and for him it was then or never.

“I really like you,” he blurted. “Just so you know.”

I heard glass shatter.

“Is that alright with you?”  he asked.

“I…I don’t know.” Everything I ever wanted to say to him crowded into my mind at once, trampling any clear answer I could have given. “I don’t know how I feel about you.” I took a deep breath. “The last boy wasn’t…wasn’t very nice. I’m nervous about trying a relationship again. I’m terrified.”

He shrugged and calmly said, “Don’t worry about it.”

“I’m sorry.”

“No, don’t worry about it. There’s no rush. No deadlines. I’m happy enough just being your friend.” He checked himself. “We are still friends, right?”

“Of course we are.”

“Well, good.”

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