Short Story: When The Universe Conspires

“You still working? Oh well see you tomorrow!”

Tris greeted me as she rushed her way to the exit, I smiled and nodded then waved goodbye at her.

It’s these days in a month where I’m usually the last person in the office, the clock showed that it’s a little past 11. I stretched myself on my chair, looking at the screen of my desktop still running millions of data. Still 54%, I guess I’ll get myself something to drink then, I needed to get my ass moved too anyway so it wouldn’t get cramped.

The city that never sleep. I thought to myself, as I stood in front of the dark windows facing the road, 33 stories below. I sipped some of the hot tea I just made, enjoying the warmth creeping down to my stomach, pleasantly wrapping it in warmth against the cold room. These busy times actually couldn’t have come on a worse time. I’d been feeling rather down lately, I just moved out of my parents’ house, the house that I grew up in, to a nice apartment near the city center. It’s been almost three months and the fun period was over. The feeling of finally having freedom was replaced with the feeling of loneliness always having to  come home to an empty room. I know this feeling will eventually pass and I’ll get used to it, but for now I’d have to enjoy this suffering. I glanced again to the road below, a lot of cars were still passing, sometimes I can still even hear their engine hum and their horn honk. In this city inhabited by nearly ten million, I feel so alone.

I sipped my tea again, decided to get back to my desk to check how the data processing was going. It was almost done, I just need to wait until it finish processing, analyze the result (which wouldn’t take much time for me, I’m good at making narratives) and send it to the CFO so he could use it for the meeting on the next day.

87%…

I put my tea on the desk and glanced around, finally fixated on the miniature Darth Vader with a wobbly head that I bought to lighten up this place (a Darth Vader with wobbly head, what could go wrong?). I rest my head on my left hand and touched his head with my right hand so it would wobble. I let my body enter auto-pilot and allowed my head to wander somewhere else.

It wasn’t long until my absent-minded routine was broken though, all of a sudden the secured ID reader beeped signaling that someone just swiped their card through the reader and was about to come in. My seat is not exactly in the area where it’s immediately visible when you open the glass door, but if you look around just a little you’ll find me. So I lay my head a little lower, I wasn’t keen to exchange pleasantries. Not paying attention to the door and hoping that whoever walked through that door would be so kind as to leave me alone.

“Mas Daniel?” Said a curious voice.

Wait,

I’m familiar with that voice. That voice had been haunting my dreams for the last couple of days. So I raised my eye to face the source of the voice, immediately finding my favorite pair of eyes gazing back to me and so I acted cool and chill and definitely not happily surprised (yeah right) and answered, “I told you not to call me that” while throwing a smile at her.

“Hahaha sorry, I just keep forgetting that, still working? And alone too?” Said Alice with a little pity on her eyes. Alice was a new employee at the legal department and the girl I was having the biggest crush on. When she first joined, I wasn’t really interested in her, she’s pretty but there’re simple way many more prettier girls in this office. But then I had the chance to talk to her and the more I knew her, the more I like her. Like the fact that she loved Star Wars (and actually watched the movies, unlike all those hipster girls who’s only there for the hype) and that she loved playing video games (I overheard once that she was buying a second-hand PS4 game) and what I love most is the fact that she didn’t need to try to show her class but was classy anyway. I could probably write a 5000-words essay if you want me to describe her. (I know you guys don’t want to so I’ll keep it short)

“Yeah, it’s these days in the month again. What are you doing here so late?” I answered with a sad tone, trying to win sympathy points.

“Uh, right, I forgot the access card to my apartment on my desk, just realized that it’s not there when I was finished showering at the gym and was going through my bag.” She did look like she just finished taking a bath, her almost-dry not-so-long hair was hanging lazily around her hoodie and her cheeks were blushing red, I almost can smell the soap she used.

“Oh right, go ahead then.” I said and she proceeded to her desk which wasn’t that far from mine. What? Go ahead then? What the hell are you saying? Is that really the best you can do?  You shithead. But come on, you know me, I get nervous when it’s a girl I reaaaaaally like. I’m all chill and cool if it’s just any other girl, some girl even give me their number without me trying, but this is her we’re talking about.

“Ah, found it.” She said, raising an access card hanging to a small Lego block keychain. “Well, I guess I’ll be going first then, I’m a little hungry and I think I’ll make all the exercise I just did go in vain.” She said while patting her belly.

She’s in a great shape though.

“Right, bye!” I said, waving to her.

As she walked to the door and I regretted my stupid spineless self, I resigned to my reclining seat and glanced at the screen of my computer.

99%…

“Alice….” I called almost unconsciously. “Yes?” Her head popped out peeking from the door. “You know what, umm, I’m almost done here and kinda starving myself, how about you wait just 5 minutes and I can make yourself feel better because I can accompany you make your workout go in vain. We’ll get fat together.” I said, patting my belly.

She smiled (as if finally getting what she was waiting for) and said, “I don’t usually let people get me fat, but I liked the way you said it. So yeah sure I’ll wait.” Just in time for the computer to finish processing the data, so I copied what I need to a flash drive and packed all my stuff. I can continue at home, not getting any sleep tonight is totally worth it, I thought.

As I walked out the office with her, I glanced again to the dark windows on the other side of the room; only this time rather than focusing on the dark windows separating me from the world outside, I focus on the world outside. I never realized that the city lights is so beautiful at this time of the night.

***

So what do you think? Is it messy? Too long? I didn’t portray Alice good enough didn’t I? Is is too cheesy for you? Dammit just give me a comment! Hahaha!
Anyway I feel like I need to explain something, what I didn’t like from the way Alice called me was how she added ‘Mas’ to my name, that’s a honorifics to call an older male.
Oh well I guess I’ll see you later! 🙂

Picture Source: unsplash.com

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11 thoughts on “Short Story: When The Universe Conspires

  1. Freaek says:

    This was a great short story I can relate to, Star Wars criteria is the best criteria. I don’t know why but I would’ve liked to know her hair color, glad he reacted on time though! I’m gonna keep reading your other stories if you don’t mind hahaha

    1. Asna says:

      HAIR COLOR! Right why didn’t I emphasize on that, maybe I thoughtit was too long. Oh btw she’s a brunette.

      Definitely don’t mind at all, please do! 🙂

  2. kutukamus says:

    Very much enjoyed the scent description. By the way, ‘Mas’ like among [some] Indonesians? A little more telling about this kind of addressing (and as to why you don’t like it) might help, I guess. Nice reading, nevertheless. 🙂 🍸

    1. Asna says:

      Thanks for coming! Yeah I also think I’ve done quite a good job with the describing.
      Oh actually, exactly that, Daniel is of Indonesian descendant. Actually simply because it makes him feels old and he hates growing up.

  3. Becca Barracuda says:

    I enjoyed the story, and I liked the visual you ended with– focusing on the outside rather than the barrier, beautiful. There were a couple times I noticed you switching verb tense; most of the story was told from the past tense, but you used present tense verbs a couple time. (A nit-picky thing I always notice.) I really liked the character’s inner banter in his head, but I think it could be a little more stream-lined, if that makes sense. But he’s definitely relatable, which I really liked. 🙂

    1. Asna says:

      Ah yes, I put quite some time to find the right way to end it, so glad to know it’s likeable 🙂
      Right! That actually also bother me, because at one point of the story it stopped being a story-telling and start describing current events, but I should’ve stick with past tenses.
      Stream-lined? If you could explain maybe I can make it that way the next times.
      Thanks for coming! 🙂

  4. lisakunk says:

    I enjoyed your story. And I too am glad you did’t let her leave. I am assuming English is not your first language and you are doing a fine job of writing in a second or third language. I could never do that even with several years of studying French. What I see that needs editing most is the matching verb tense with the subject. Example. In a comment reply above you said “That actually bother me.” The verb bother should be bothers. With an s. There are several instances like that in the story. It is common among people who have a different first language and certainly understandable. My suggest would be to have an English fluent friend go through and help with the verb conjugations. But again, this is a nice story.

    1. Asna says:

      Hi Lisakunk!
      Glad you enjoyed the story! Yes I usually omit the last check to make sure the tenses and the phrasing are done well enough, and just post it as is. Maybe in the future when I’ve gotten more audience I’ll pay more attention to it!

      Much appreciated! 🙂

    1. Asna says:

      Glad you liked it!!!
      I haven’t been able to write for quite some time tho, but I’ve meant to continue their story for quite a while, I hope I can write again soon, please read it when I do! 🙂

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