For You: a short story

By LING LIN

Staff Writer

She lies on the desk, scanning through the old texts on her phone. She’s finally back in her city. After arriving home, she put her new phone into the drawer next to her bed, and took out an old iPhone 4s that had been quietly lying in the drawer for two years.

She wipes a slight layer of dust off the screen. The number hasn’t changed; her parents have kept paying the bill out of habit. However, most names in the contact list have become unfamiliar as she completely lost contact with them over two years abroad. “Are you home yet?” “We’re meeting this Friday, is that okay?” “I’ll see you next time!” … Slowly sliding down her finger, she sighs – some people she once opened herself to are no longer there for her. There aren’t many recorded numbers, so she soon reaches the bottom.

And she sees the name.

She begins typing. How are you?

After minutes of hesitation, she sends the message from her phone. It is August 10, 1:02PM.

Maybe he uses a different number now. She doesn’t expect a reply – she sends it partly for herself, for the memory kept in her mind.

She locks her phone and buries her head in her arms.

He was in her class two years ago. He slept in class, seldom turned in assignments, and kept cigarettes in his pocket on school days. Besides the fact that everybody was trying to avoid him, she was one of the few that would talk to him. She just appreciated him a little bit more than others did. She would tell him she loved the paintings he made at the back of the class, congratulate him for winning prizes in art competitions and sometimes just simply greet him in the corridor. When she was leaving to pursue a higher education in a foreign country, he met her outside the school to wish her good luck. That was the last time they talked.

!

The phone vibrates and wakes her up.

“Not bad, how are you?”

She is relieved that they are still able to talk like old friends.

Before she leaves the city, they meet. He tells her he no longer smokes, he works out on weekends, he plans to join the army in the future. “If I earn enough money, I’ll buy an island and live there forever.”

At last, she waves at him when her bus comes.

“Please promise me to take good care of yourself.”

He smiles back: “I will.”

On the bus, she receives a message from him.

“See you next year.”

After replying back, she slides her finger up on the screen to review an old text.

“You’ve meant a lot to me lately, and I know you can make a difference in other people too. I’ll miss you.” It is received on June 19th, 2014 1:29PM

 

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