i've been reading short stories [writing]

[the zagat history of my last relationship // noah baumbach]

Bring a “first date” to this “postage stamp”-size bistro. Tables are so close you’re practically “sitting in the laps” of the couple next to you, but the lush décor is “the color of love.” Discuss your respective “dysfunctional families” and tell her one of your “fail-safe” stories about your father’s “cheapness” and you’re certain to “get a laugh.” After the “to die for” soufflés, expect a good-night kiss, but don’t push for more, because if you play your cards right there’s a second date “right around the corner.” [continue]

[a young girl in 1941 with no waist at all // j.d. salinger]
The young man in the seat behind Barbara at the jai alai games had leaned forward finally and asked if she were ill and if she would like to be escorted back to the ship. Barbara had looked up at him, had looked at his looks, and said yes, she thought, she would, thank you, that she did have kind of a headache, and that it certainly was awfully nice of him. Then they had stood up together and left the stadium, returning to the ship by taxi and tender. But before she had gone to her cabin on B deck, Barbara had said nervously to the young man: “Hey. I could just take an aspirin or something. I could meet you on the deck where the shuffleboard stuff is. You know who you look like? You look like a boy who was in a lot of West Pointy pictures with Dick Powell and Ruby Keeler and—when I was little. Never see him anymore. Listen. I could just take an aspirin. Unless you have something else—” The young man had interrupted her, saying, in so many words, that he had nothing else to do. Then Barbara had walked quickly forward to her cabin. She was wearing a red-and-blue striped evening gown, and her figure was very young and sassy. There were several years to go before her figure stopped being sassy and just became a very pretty figure. [continue]

[on seeing the 100% perfect girl one beautiful april morning // haruki murakami]
Once upon a time, there lived a boy and a girl. The boy was eighteen and the girl sixteen. He was not unusually handsome, and she was not especially beautiful. They were just an ordinary lonely boy and an ordinary lonely girl, like all the others. But they believed with their whole hearts that somewhere in the world there lived the 100% perfect boy and the 100% perfect girl for them. Yes, they believed in a miracle. And that miracle actually happened.

One day the two came upon each other on the corner of a street.

"This is amazing," he said. "I've been looking for you all my life. You may not believe this, but you're the 100% perfect girl for me."

"And you," she said to him, "are the 100% perfect boy for me, exactly as I'd pictured you in every detail. It's like a dream."

They sat on a park bench, held hands, and told each other their stories hour after hour. They were not lonely anymore. They had found and been found by their 100% perfect other. What a wonderful thing it is to find and be found by your 100% perfect other. It's a miracle, a cosmic miracle. [continue]

[the region of unlikeliness // rivka gilchen]
It’s not as if Jacob wasn’t lovable in his own abstruse and awkward way. I admired how much he read—probably more than Ilan, certainly more than me (he made this as clear as he could)—but Jacob struck me as pedantic, and I thought he would do well to button his shirts a couple buttons higher. Once, we were all at the movies—I had bought a soda for four dollars—and Jacob and I were waiting wordlessly for Ilan to return from the men’s room. It felt like a very long wait. Several times I had to switch the hand I was holding the soda in because the waxy cup was so cold. “He’s taking such a long time,” I said, and shrugged my shoulders, just to throw a ripple into the strange quiet between us.

“You know what they say about time,” Jacob said idly. “It’s what happens even when nothing else does.”

“O.K.,” I said. The only thing that came to my mind was the old joke that time flies like an arrow and fruit flies like a banana. I couldn’t bear to say it, so I remained silent. It was as if, without Ilan, we couldn’t even pretend to have a conversation.

There were, I should admit, things about Ilan (in particular) that didn’t make me feel so good about myself. For example, once I thought he was pointing a gun at me, but it turned out to be a remarkably good fake. Occasionally when he poured me a drink he would claim he was trying to poison me. One night I even became very sick, and wondered. Another evening—maybe the only time Jacob wasn’t with us; he said his daughter had appendicitis—Ilan and I lay on his mattress watching TV. For years, watching TV had made me sick with a sense of dissoluteness, but now suddenly it seemed great. That night, Ilan took hold of one of my hands and started idly to kiss my fingers, and I felt—well, I felt I’d give up the rest of my life just for that. Then Ilan got up and turned off the television. Then he fell asleep, and the hand-kissing never came up again. [continue]

LINK: most of salinger
LINK: and this about old j.d.

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