A short story by Clarissa N G for the I/O M/F/? Award


She came in when I was about to close the game centre. Clothes dripping wet from the rain, she was a mess.

‘I want to use station number seven,’ she said, pointing to the unit.

For a moment, I was speechless. I knew she was bad news. Bad, bad kind of bad news. And to be honest, I wanted to send her away. But if I did that, I knew she would break into tears. And a real man doesn’t make a girl cry, does he?

‘We’re already closed. But if you like, you can still play for a while,’ I said.

She took out a few dollar notes from her jacket.

‘Don’t worry about it,’ I said. ‘Just have fun, all right?’

She nodded and went over to the station at the end of the row. Not having anything to do, I played Candy Crush on my phone. After a while, I glanced at her curiously. She didn’t make a sound, but her shoulders were shaking. I immediately looked away.


Question. Is love an accident or a decision?

Girl – Definitely an accident. That’s why you call it falling in love. You can’t learn to fall, or plan to fall. That’s just not how it works.

Boy – A decision, of course. To love is a “verb”, isn’t it? It expresses an action, a movement. And I’m assuming that you’re in control of yourself.

Girl – Well, not when you’re in love.

Boy – Hey, it’s not like you’ll be suffering from amnesia.