Who Was She? (A very short story)

Drawing of a typewriterThe air-conditioning unit hummed mechanically outside the window. The desk fan buzzed to his right. He typed away at the keyboard. He’s writing her a poem. No, it’s more like a note, a long note of apology. He felt the shame deep inside him. He stopped. The swivel chair made a creaking sound as he stood up.

In the kitchen, he opened the pack of instant coffee. The powdery smell reached his nostrils. He raised it up and inhaled a little bit more. Then he poured hot water inside the cup, stirred it, and went back to his room.

He placed the cup on the desk and pulled out the keyboard again. He stared at the blank screen. The blank screen stared back at him. He began a line, stopped, and deleted it quickly. He tried again, paused, then deleted it once more. He opened the browser, checked the news websites, logged in to his Twitter and Facebook, and drank his coffee. He read the articles as quickly as he could. Then he closed the browser.

He leaned back and looked up the ceiling. Then he leaned forward and rested his face on both his fists, with his elbows on the table. He sat up and tapped the arm rest with his fingers.

He glanced at the half-open door. He thought he heard someone cough. He stood up and walked towards the living room. He switched on the TV, jumping from channel to channel, in search of something. He sat down. He watched a mixed-martial arts match. It was the final round and a lean guy was beating up a bigger guy on the mat. The bigger guy had tattoos all over his body. The referee intervened and stopped the fight. In the next channel, he saw a replay of last year’s French Open. He wondered whether there’s a statistic for the number of times Rafael Nadal has touched his ears and nose during his games since he turned professional.

He stood up, turned off the TV, stretched, and went back to his room.

He stared at the monitor again. He checked the time. The clock struck twelve. His heart skipped a beat.

“What did she look like, again?” he thought. He had a faint picture of her smile inside his head, but he couldn’t remember exactly what she looked like. “Her smile was wide and bright. Her hair, was it long or short? Were her eyes brown? Did she have a soft voice? And what was it that she said that last day when we were together in the art gallery? Did she speak at all? Did she sound disappointed? Did she sound angry or was she simply indifferent? Was she sad or happy? Did he address me at all? And her name, what was her name? I can’t remember her name. Who was she? Where had I first met her? Where did she come from? Why am I even thinking of her right now? What am I thinking of? What am I doing?”

“Where am I?” he muttered.

He is in his room. The air-conditioning unit hummed mechanically outside the window. The desk fan buzzed to his right. He closed his eyes and began to smile.


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