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Getting to Know You

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We couldn't take our eyes off each other.

He had that slim sinewy build, those perfectly clear eyes and that blond spiky hair. It was like someone had made a list of everything I liked, and made him just for me.

Even the way he moved, loping along like some kind of silky leopard with all the time in the world. Wonderful. And I was...well, whatever I was, he liked it too.

That night in the club, we spent over an hour making eye contact and looking shyly away. Then he got away from his group and I got away from mine and...we made sure to reappear on the dancefloor minutes apart so no one would guess.

He walked me halfway home, until we found a quiet place in shadow and...did it all again. We hadn't even asked names.

The thing was, he was kind of with someone else and I was still in the closet, so we had to keep it hidden. Not easy, the way we felt.

Every other day, contriving to meet in some secret place, then without speaking...hands and lips everywhere. Sometimes twice, trying not to groan or make any noise in case someone heard, when we both felt like shouting. We hated having to meet like that. If only we had a place.

So we got one. I moved out from my parents, into a bedsit big enough for two, and he joined me the next day. We barely got out of bed for the first week. I don't think we even said fifty words. It just wasn't necessary.

That was...a month ago.

This morning's argument was about a piece of slightly burned toast. He started that one. Last night it was something on TV and I started it. The morning before it was something to do with the food budget.

This one we're having at the moment, I think it started being about whose turn it was to do the washing up, then it was about one of us snoring, now it's moved on to me forgetting to buy toilet paper and he's about to start screeching.

In three or four minutes I've going to call him a moron or an idiot, then one of us will storm out and slam the door. If it's me I'll sit outside and cry for a while.

Here it comes. I'm getting my retort ready - something poisonous.

"You don't know the first thing about me!", he screams. "Before you fucked up my life, I was in this great band. I wrote songs and we were going on tour. Not that you'd care. And I gave it up for this...this...I fucking hate you!"

I'm about to spit the first syllable. But instead there's a pause.

"A band? You never said. Can I...can I hear it?"

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Ah, can I take it I've done a duff story with this one?

Not at all Kapitano.

There seems to be some disturbance in the force and that is perhaps reducing the comments on the board. I'm sure it will all return to normal soon. Sometimes people are just busy with their lives in the real world. Don't worry. :devlish:

I thought your story very clever in it's description of lover's meeting, a breakdown and a wild, left field interruption to its conclusion. I liked it.

Now if only someone will answer my posts. LOL.

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Okay... (holds hand up, confesses...) I read this story when you first posted it and didn't comment.

Why didn't I comment? Well, I could tell you about how busy I was at the time, about how stressed-out with money worries, how I'd just lost my job, and a lot of other stuff which made me a bit catatonic, but...

The real reason I didn't comment was that I wasn't sure what to say. This story needs some thought before responding. It's not a comfortable story, it's prickly. The relationship it vividly describes is dysfunctional, built on sand, and at the end the last line is just the merest hint of a hopeful future.

To my shame I didn't give the story the thought it deserved, and so didn't feel I could comment usefully. Let's try to put that right now. It's a remarkable piece of writing, achieving its emotional punch effectively in a very short space. It doesn't answer all the questions, but that's the idea of good flash fiction, so I applaud it as a great achievement. Clever, disturbing, well-crafted, what more could you ask!

Well done, Kapitano!

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I've been away, but the flash section is always one of the first I head for, and it is always rewarding. This piece indeed holds to that standard, and I find it deliciously wry, almost a send-up of the passionate affair where hormones talk louder than words and when the hormones go off the boil it is discovered that the words are the wrong ones. The ending is wonderful, a fifteen minute reprieve from the inevitable.


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Thanks for the responses.

It's true of all fiction, that the interpretation of one reader can be subtly or completely different from another, and from the author. But it seems more true of flash than longer forms.

I can't tell you what response you should have had, and even if I could it wouldn't be right to do so - I can only tell you what I intended. I claim no special insight to a "true meaning".

To me, this is only incidentally the story of a brief doomed relationship - more importantly it's about the events leading up to the start of one that might not be doomed.

These two boys had nothing except an intense mutual attraction, and an absurd but vague optimism that that was all they needed. They spend the whole story not communicating, initially by having sex instead - perhaps because they sensed that if they did communicate, the sexual adventure would die - then by venting their frustration that they'd trapped themselves in a situation where sex wasn't enough.

Then in the only two lines of dialogue, a door unexpectedly opens to what would be their first actual conversation.

Merkin says the ending is a fifteen minute reprieve, to Bruin it's the merest hint of hope, and for Des it's an unexpected interruption. Fine, those are entirely reasonable interpretations.

For me, the actual story is what happens after the flash - even though I don't know what that is. I think the two protagonists are about to embark on a proper relationship, starting when the promise of the title is fulfilled, and they start "getting to know" each other.

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Thanks Kapitano, that was an intelligent and well worthwhile post discussing your flash.

one of the things I am ever amazed at, is the variety of opinions that readers have on a story.

I loved reading about your reactions to ours and that is part of us getting to know each other. :lol:

And yes it is tantalising to think that where the flash ends, the relationship begins. Wondrous stuff indeed. :devlish:

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it need not be tantalizing if Kapitano is willing to write up what happens next -- even if it becomes a short story or even a long one. These two underachievers deserve more than that one flash glimpse, don't you think? :devlish:


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I didn't comment because I didn't read it until two minutes ago. Just returned from vacation. Had I read it the day it was posted, I'd have commented then.

This is a wonderful piece of writing. As James correctly points out, our Flash Fiction section here contains some exceptional writing.

My thought on reading this piece was the title could easily be: "Immaturity"

That's what I saw, with the sex in lieu of conversation, constantly using sex as the fulcrum of the relationship, fighting over little things without realizing how compromise is essential in any working relationship, how one partner had to move out of his parents' home for the first time to cohabit, etc. This was the stuff of two very young men just getting started in the adult world, and it was written with subtlety and charm.

I wonder if some of these flashes we've been enjoying shouldn't be considered just a little longer before being posted. It would be a loss in the Flash Fiction department not to have them, but could be a considerable gain in the Short Story or Novel sections.


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It's true of all fiction, that the interpretation of one reader can be subtly or completely different from another, and from the author. But it seems more true of flash than longer forms.

I sorta agree with Cole's point, because we are always hungry to know more. But I sorta don't agree. Flash Fiction is so effective precisely because we don't know more, and so we are forced to construct much of the story for ourselves. Thus we become participants in the creation of a story and, as Kapitano points out so effectively both by his comment above and by his story, the story we help create is subtly different for each of us. What a rush! Sometimes that can be more rewarding.


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