Oops, I did it again.

Last time I said I might post some of the stories I’ve been working on for my big critique in my creative writing class. With my critique right around the corner (Tuesday), I figured what better time than now to share one of these stories. My bf told me this particular story reminds him of the way Raymond Carver writes. I thought that was nice of him to say.

Enjoy! (Or don’t. I don’t really care. That’s the kind of mood I’m in. I blame my filthy history homework.)


Settled by Me


“I can play this song on the guitar.”

“Really?” She changes the station.

“I can play this song too.”

“Cool.” The song ends and a new one begins to play.

“Oh, and this one.”

She takes her hand from the button.

“I scored one hundred percent singing ‘Maps’ on RockBand once.” She gives him an expectant sideways glance, a half smile forming on her lips. He says nothing, eyes on the road.

Hmph. She leans her head on the window, eyes tracing the rolling green hills. I could do this. I could live here; settle down. It can’t be that bad, it’s what people do. The scenery is pretty. I might get bored. No, only boring people get bored. Maybe if we got a dog—

“You know you still haven’t given me a song to learn on the guitar for you. One that will make you go all butter knees.” He takes his right hand off the wheel and rests it on her knee, shaking it gently, smiling.

That’s because I don’t want you to ruin one of my favorite songs, she thinks to herself.

“I’m just trying to think of the perfect song. It’s not an easy decision.” Plus your range is limited and I want to be sure it’s a song I won’t mind never listening to again.

“You’re the only girl I’ve ever met that is unimpressed with and hasn’t succumbed to my guitar playing charms.”

“Well maybe it’s time you learned some new tricks. And who said I was unimpressed?” She nudges him playfully on the shoulder and puts her hand in his, interlocking their fingers.

“You’re just so—“

“You know I’m not the kind of girl that falls all over herself like that.”

She gives his hand a quick squeeze and pulls away, turning her eyes back on the rolling green hills, not knowing what else to say; not wanting to hurt his feelings.

“I know, I know. Just let me know when you think of a song.” He turns up the radio and starts to sing along. She watches him out of the corner of her eye, studying his face. He’s not bad looking.

He catches her and gives a grin, his front teeth overcoming his bottom lip.

Oh God, I hate that goofy bucked-tooth smile. He doesn’t even have bucked teeth and he somehow manages to make himself look like that. The way he juts his chin out. Is he trying to be cute? It’s embarrassing. I can’t stand it.

She gives him a squinty-eyed smile back, gritting her teeth.

“There it is.” She looks up to see the football stadium sized building in its trademark blue with yellow letters that are roughly three-stories tall.

“The Swedish furniture mecca! We’ll practically fill your apartment in a one trip.”

“That’s the plan.”

After spending hours agonizing over dressers, end tables, chairs, shelving and everything else under the bright florescent lights, they finally found themselves at the end in textiles and home accessories.

“Will you stop rushing me?” There was an edge in his voice.

“How can you not know what you like and want? There are only so many options here.” She plops down on a display bed and crosses her arms, watching him as he goes over his list and the myriad of numbers he’s written down.

“Well I want to make sure I make the right choice. So just hang on.”

She gets up and walks on ahead of him anyway. “Look, there are all of the dishes. Isn’t that on your list?”

He catches up to her standing in front of the wall display of tableware. “What about the blue ones over there?”

“Everything you pick out is blue.”

“It’s a good color.”

She walks to one end of the display, he to the other. “What about these white ones?” he asks.

“These brown ones are cool. Neutral. Square.”

“I think I like the white.”

Of course you do. White like your t-shirts. White like your SUV. White like the walls of your apartment are and will remain.


“Hey, I think I see pillows and bedding over there.” He says pointing.

“Yes! Replace those bags of sand you call bed pillows.”

They walk over and begin feeling out all of the pillows on display. Foam, cotton, feather. She rests her head the fluffiest down pillow she can find.

“I’ve found one.” He motions for her to come over, holding the pillow out for her to touch.

“Feels good to me.”

“Will you put it in the bag?” she takes it from him and puts it in the obnoxious oversized bag she’s been carrying around for the last hour.

“You’re only getting one?”

“Yeah, it’s all I need.”

“Oh. OK.”

He puts his arm around her shoulders as they start walking toward the warehouse, “I’m really glad you came with me today.”

She stares on ahead of her, “Me too.”


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