She woke and snuck off without a sound as soon as they barged into the room and kissed without turning on the light.
She was sitting on the staircase when he came out into the hallway. She did not look up as he passed her. He turned around and saw the sadness in her face.
He stared at her too long not to say something. “You Beth's roommate?”
“Where you from?”
“I'm sorry if we....”
“I couldn't sleep anyway.”
“You guys get along?”
“We are not guys.” She had yet to look at him.
“You don't seem very happy.”
“Did we upset you?”
“No, no.” She was looking up now, but not at him.
“Been roommates with Beth long?” He sat beside her.
“You like her.”
“Because she brings guys to your room?”
“You want to know if you are the first one?”
“I'm sorry,” he said.
“For keeping you up.”
“You were not there for long.”
“Want to get back at her?”
“Scusa?” For the first time she looked at him.
“You want to keep Beth awake?”
“Je suis ici pour parler français, pour étudier français. C'est pas français ça et vous êtes dégoutant.”
“I just started. Je ne comprendre pas.”
“Je ne comprends pas,” she corrected.
“Je ne comprends pas,” he repeated.
They sat on the staircase in silence.
for a translated version of the story,
words: Jónas Knútsson, Iceland (more)
photo: Steve Wing, Florida (sand shadow)