Short Stories

How I fell in love with You

“Mary Anne Schweikart,” I read out loud as my friend Rob played Angry Birds on his phone.

“What’s up with her?” He asked without looking at me.

“You know? You should really stop playing that game, it stopped being cool like ten to twelve years ago,” I replied.

He flipped me off and kept playing.

“So?” He continued.

“You know this new girl from first period?” I said.

“Oh yeah, she’s kinda pretty,” he said. 

“Um yes, she is, and you have a girlfriend,” I replied.

“Damnit…I lost,” Rob paused. “Don’t be dramatic, I said she was hot, not that I was gonna marry her, chill,” he said.

“When did ‘kinda pretty’ turn into ‘hot’? Anyway, yeah, I talked to her the whole class, Mr. Dominguez was PISSED,” I said playing with a partially deflated basketball.

“So? How is she?” He asked, initiating the level again.

“Dude she’s something else. Her eyes are so freaking beautiful, she’s got these big brown eyes and she smells like strawberries,” I said.

“In love much?” Rob joked.

“I’m not in love, don’t be crazy, I’m just saying she’s cute,” I said.

“If you say so, it sounds like you’re in love,” Rob continued.

I didn’t know if I was in love with her, I met her that day. Was she amazing? Yes. Was she pretty? Most definitely. Did we have a connection? I hope so. But in love? I wasn’t sure about that.

“It’s a very strong word to be throwing around like that Rob,” I said.

“Whatever. I told Melissa I loved her two days after our first date, but I could’ve told her the same day. And look at me, 4 years strong,” He said, again, without looking at me. 

It was true, Rob and Melissa had been together since forever. He didn’t talk much about their relationship but I guess it’s for the best since he’s the only one with a girlfriend in our friend group. She’s cool, last year she stole a bottle of Jack Daniels from her father’s secret stash and it’s fair to say we climbed up a few levels in the popularity scale.

“Did you watch the game last night? I swear I’m gonna die before I see the Ravens win anything,” Rob said, changing the topic of conversation.

“Did you know Mary Anne moved from Boston?” I said, changing it back.

“Who the hell moves from Boston to the middle of nowhere Tennessee?” Rob said.

“She said her dad works for an oil company,” I replied.

“Oh, she’s perfect for you. You love the Earth and she loves destroying it. A match made in heaven,” Rob said with palpable sarcasm in his voice.

“One, she’s not the one working for the oil company, it’s her dad, and two, her dad works in the division of transition to green energy,” I replied.

“Transition to green energy,” Rob laughed. “That’s like being in charge of customer health in a tobacco company,” he said.

I laughed. Rob wasn’t wrong, but, it was enough of a grey area for me to be at peace with my morals.

“So you only talked about creative ways to destroy the planet using her daddy’s money?” Rob asked.

“No. She’s also into musicals,” I replied.

“You hate musicals,” Rob said.

“Only the ones where they sing too much,” I replied.

I really didn’t like musicals.

“I get it, you like her because she’s pretty, makes sense,” Rob said.

Did I?

“No, she loves movies, she even told me she watches a different movie every day,” I said.

She did, she watched all of Kurosawa’s movies, she’s very much into Kubrick, her favorite romcom is Annie Hall and her most watched animated film is Wall-E.

“Oh Lord, not another film buff,” Rob said. 

I may or may not have talked a little too much about movies to Rob, I even forced him to watch a Bergman film once.

“If you two get together you’re gonna force me to watch those weird 3-hour-long Swedish movies,” he said. Rob was never a big movie aficionado, he was more of a fast car and explosions kind of guy.

“For every Swedish movie you force me to watch I’ll make you watch one of Fast and Furious, and there are ten of them,” He said chuckling.

“So, that’s it? She’s hot and likes movies, got it,” Rob looked at me and then continued playing.

It wasn’t it, but if it was those were two completely reasonable points to like her. She was very smart too, Mr. Dominguez didn’t do anything to us because she finished the whole group assignment in 15 minutes. She knew how to speak French and a bit of Spanish. She almost won a regional swimming competition and seemed to have a similar fixation for bacon like mine. After thinking about all of this I started thinking that maybe she was too good, like, out-of-my-league-too-good. Then I remembered….the message!

“Mary Anne Schweikart: Thoughts on Scenes from a Marriage? Also, see you tomorrow?” I read out loud.

“Oh, God. Tell her to sit somewhere comfortable,” Rob said.

I smiled a bit and texted back.

© Gabriel Berm

Short Stories

We Should’ve Kissed

I didn’t want to go to the party, none of my close friends were going, but I decided to go anyway since I didn’t have anything better to do on a Friday night. It was either that or eating a bag of Cheetos while browsing for a movie to watch — emphasis on the browsing — chances were, I wasn’t gonna watch anything at the end. I got to this new club called “The 8th.”

“Where are you?” I texted Marie, the friend who invited me to the party, her birthday party.

“Inside,” she replied. Of course, she was inside, where else would she be?

Marie and I go way back, we met in first grade, and I always had a sizable crush on her, we grew a little distant after high school, but we kept in touch. After navigating an ocean of people I saw her; she was wearing a bright pink dress.

“Long time no see, Happy birthday,” I said.

“Yeah, thanks,” she replied smiling; she appeared to have been drinking a little bit.

She then promptly walked away when one of her friends called her. I was left all by myself. I bought a beer to not look out of place and then saw one of my high school friends, Katie. She looked amazing, wearing dark red lipstick, Doc. Martens, and a black dress.

“Katie?” I said.

“Oh. My. God. James!” She said while jumping for a hug.

“How have you been?” I asked somewhat surprised to see her there; Marie and she were never the best of friends.

“Alright, I just finished my major. Statistics, baby,” she said, making a rock and roll sign with her hand.

“It’s so good to see you,” I said.

“Same,” she replied smiling.

I then asked her about her dog Sparkles, and then she went on and on for what felt like a solid 20 minutes. She loves that dog – well, loved, she died last month. I remember going to her house and playing tug war with the mustiest-looking French poodle you can imagine.

“You went to my house so often even Sparkles was expecting you every week,” Katie said, laughing.

“Good to know that just the dog was happy to see me,” I replied.

Katie laughed and nodded.

“You know Rachel hated it when I went to your place,” I said.

Rachel was my ex-girlfriend; we dated on and off since high school. The last time we broke up was because I said something along the lines of “Jenna Ortega is pretty,” and then she complained that she doesn’t look anything like her, and so on. A bit toxic, to put it mildly. I wasn’t a saint either; I broke up with her because she spilled coffee on my work computer a few months ago.

“Of course, she did, freaking sicko. Do you remember the time she called my house, and my dad picked up? She was just breathing; my dad thought we were gonna be on the front page of the news the next day. The poor guy slept with a baseball bat next to his bed,” she said.

“She was a little bit on the unhinged side,” I replied.

“Very much unhinged,” Katie said with a smirk.

“She called me last week and went on and on about you, actually,” I said and then took a sip of the beer. It tasted like what someone who doesn’t like beer would describe beer.

“Oh no,” she replied, looking amused.

“Yeah, she was talking about that time I had to sleep in your place because I left my car keys in your dad’s car, and then he and your mom went to some conference or something,” I said.

“YOU SHOULD’VE JUST TAKEN AN UBER,” Katie said, imitating how Rachel reacted.

“You remember,” I replied laughing a bit.

“In all fairness we did sleep together, like literally slept, you couldn’t handle Mad Max Fury Road,” she said.

“I’ve tried to watch it three times since, and I still can’t make it,” I replied. I hate that movie.

“We didn’t even get as close as a peck,” I continued.

We both took a sip out of our respective drinks and bobbed our heads to the beat of the song. 

“We should’ve kissed,” Katie said looking at the people dancing.

My heart skipped a beat. She was right, we should’ve. We should’ve dated, we should’ve kissed every day, but we didn’t. 

“Yeah, we should’ve, it’s the very first time I wish Rachel was right about us,” I said with a sense of regret in my voice.

I nervously looked at her. She was scratching off the tags of the beer bottle with her casino red fingernails. 

“…We still can,” I said.

Katie then moved her body slightly closer to mine. I could feel our shoulders touching. Her arms were covered in glitter and so was my shirt at that point. I lowered my hand and touched hers. Our fingers fiddled for a few seconds. She looked at me after I raised my eyes from our fingers fiddling to her face. She was looking every way as beautiful as I remembered and more. She bit her lip nervously. I went for it.

We kissed.

She held my face as soon as I was about to let go and kissed me.

“Was that so hard to do 5 years ago?” She said with a small smile on her face.

“Apparently,” I replied and then kissed her again. 

Her lips smelled like Sprite chapstick but they didn’t taste of anything but her, and perhaps vodka martini beer.

We kissed for a while longer, losing track of time and space. It was as if we were the only two people in the club, everything else faded into the background. Eventually, we pulled away, both of us out of breath. We stayed close to each other, swaying to the music, our fingers intertwined

We then got out of the club, we took out a cigarette. 

“Want one?” She asked.

“I’m good,” I replied. 

We sat on the sidewalk and talked about the future, how we thought our houses would be, and where would our vacations be. She talked about how she would solve climate change and I rambled about the last movie I watched. We stayed there for about an hour, and she checked her phone.

“Damnit,” Katie said while her face was fully lit by the brightest screen in the history of mobile technology.

“What happened?” I asked.

“Ugh, why did you have to be here?” She said.

“Huh?” I replied.

“I have a boyfriend, James, we’ve been together since the second week of college,” she said.

“But that was like…,” I said while trying to make the mental calculations for that.

“4 years,” she responded.

“I only went to this stupid party because I was in town for the weekend, I have to go back to Cali tomorrow,” she said, looking confused.

We then called an Uber, each to their own place. When her ride was there, we kissed again.

“It was good to see you, James,” she said while entering the car.

And as soon as the car was about to start moving, I knocked on the window, she opened it. I kissed her again. It was one of those kisses that tasted like a goodbye rather than a see you later.

“I’m never giving this up again,” I said, in my best attempt to sound romantic.

She smiled, knowing that this time she was the one giving it up.

© Gabriel Berm

Short Stories

The Other Night in Piccadilly

“When did we stop doing that?” Charlie asked while pointing at a group of friends —probably not older than 20— drinking beer and laughing under the statue of Eros or well, as Charlie always obnoxiously pointed out, the Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain. “I’m sorry to inform you we’re not too young to be kids nor too old to be adults,” I said. “You’re such a granma Claire,” Charlie said. He stopped holding my hand to get a cigarette that he ended up choosing not to smoke, but rather throw into the tip jar of a guy singing Sinatra songs. We kept walking. Charlie’s plan was to go and eat something in Chinatown, I on the other hand simply wanted to get some takeout and eat it while watching whatever was on the TV at the moment. “Do you ever think about where you will be in 30 years?” He asked. “First, I don’t know if I’ll be alive or if there’s still a planet. Second, I would hope, settled, maybe with a family, not sure,” I replied. “You see? I would hope to be in the middle of Thailand taking street photography or in the Middle East eating some local food. There are so many things to do, places to be, people to know,” he said. For the record, Charlie has never been anywhere further than Birmingham, and it was by accident. “Since when do you want to do all of that, we’ve been together for 8 years and I’ve known you for 10,” I asked. In the past months, he’s been acting like his time is running out, as if he needed to do everything now. “Precisely, I’ve been the same Charlie forever. It’s been Charlie and Claire for God knows how long,” he said, not looking at me. “Eight years,” I noted. “Well yeah, eight years! That’s a kid in primary school,” he said. “You’re acting like it’s a bad thing we’ve been together for that long. I don’t have you tied up, you could’ve left,” I replied. “Could I? Could I, Claire? Eight years,” he said under his breath. I felt like crying, not entirely out of sadness but out of anger. “You’re such an idiot, Charlie,” I said aggressively wiping the tears off my face with my hand. “Perhaps it’s best if we…,” he said. “Perhaps,” I replied looking away. Charlie tried to reach for a hug but instantly regretted it. He kept walking, I turned around and walked in the other direction. I went back to the statue of Eros. One of the guys from the group shouted: hey you! Come with us. My first instinct was to ignore him and keep walking, but I didn’t want to go back home and explain to my mum everything that happened, so I turned around. As I was approaching them one of the girls said to the guy who shouted: don’t be an ass. “I won’t,” he said. “So, why are you crying, love?” He asked. “I don’t think she wants to talk about it Michael, shut up,” the girl said. “You’re right. Let’s drink to that,” Michael said while handing over a can of cheap beer. I opened it and chugged the whole thing. I hate beer. “Woah, I was not expecting that!” Michael said. “Are you from around here?“ she asked. “Yeah, Camden, my whole life,” I replied. She approached me and whispered in my ear: was that guy your boyfriend? “Yes, eight years,” I replied. “Men are such idiots,” she said. “Amen to that,” I replied. “I’m Katie by the way,” she said as she opened another can and handed me one. “I’d like to make a toast, to…—” Katie said while looking at me. “Claire,” I said softly. “— Claire. We often find and lose love at unexpected moments,” she ended. We sat around the fountain for what felt like an hour, I’d already had three beers on an empty stomach. We talked about politics, musicals, flamingos, and death. “I’ve got to go, my mum is probably worried about me,” I said simply wanting to go back home and cry my eyes out for hours listening to Taylor Swift or something. “Bakerloo line?” She asked. “Yeah, but then I’m taking Jubilee,” I said. “That’s alright,” she said. Katie said goodbye to Michael, she kissed him. “Text me when you’re home, love you,” he said. Michael stayed there with another guy to whom I didn’t talk to. We got to the station and boarded the train. “Was that your boyfriend?” I asked. “Yeah, we’ve been together since high school, I love that crazy man,” she replied. There was a moment of silence, the only thing we could hear was the rattling noise of the train and a group of — probably— lost Spanish tourists talking. “Do you know what hurts the most? That Cha—my stupid ex, virtually said that being eight years with me was somehow a bad thing, like a waste of time,” I said holding back my tears. “People who’ve been lucky for too long stop thinking they’re lucky and just think that’s how it’s supposed to be,” Katie said. “Baker Street,” the voice from the train said. We both got out. “It was lovely meeting you,” I said. “Me too,” she said. I walked towards platform 10 and she walked to another one. As I turned around to ask for her number or Instagram I could no longer see her.

© Gabriel Berm

Short Stories

For Old Times’ Sake

It was somewhat late at night, I was organizing my room for the third time since I was a small kid. Looking for anything I might think was important. In one not-so-old box which had been relegated to the depths of a drawer, I found several receipts, movie theatre receipts to be specific. The ink was barely there but I could make out some details such as the date, they were from four years ago. Suddenly it hit me. “Ava,” I thought to myself. She was pretty much the only person I went to the movies with four years ago, those tickets probably were from the first movie we went to together. I took a picture of the receipts and sent them to Ava. She replied about 12 minutes later: “receipts?” I texted her: “AMC receipts from 4 years ago.” “No way,” she replied. “Wanna go out for a movie? For old times’ sake?” I texted. For all I knew she could be dating some dude named Kyle or I don’t know, serving in the army. “I’m free tomorrow night, I still live in the same house,” she replied. The chances of her being in a relationship with a guy named Kyle or whatever significantly decreased. My stomach felt weird just to think about seeing her again, perhaps it was the $1 burritos my friend Erick’s “burrito guy” sold me that day. I started wondering if she still felt something or if she just remembered me like I remember that Starbucks barista with blue hair who wanted to become a writer but got pregnant and had to move to Denver with the kid’s dad. I couldn’t figure out if Ava even saw me as a friend. Did I ask her out as a friend?
I couldn’t answer that question if my life depended on it. Nostalgia is a powerful thing. I went online and bought a couple of tickets to the latest movie starring The Rock and went to sleep. The next day, at about 6:00 PM I drove to her house, she lived a ten-minute drive away from mine. When we were seven our parents agreed to take each other’s kids to school depending on the day, that’s how we met. Ava’s dad and my mom worked together. I texted her that I was outside, then I saw her walking out of the front door. “Nice ride,” she said, probably joking since it was the same car I had in high school. Once we got to the theater, she ordered the usual: small popcorn, medium Mountain Dew and king-size Snickers. Ava always said that there was some poetry to ordering one thing from each size category, I didn’t quite see the poetry there. The only thing I could see was that we had overpaid for the Mountain Dew but underpaid for the popcorn. I simply got bottled water, I have never been a fan of popcorn, they are great, but I hate when they get stuck between my teeth. I’m probably traumatized because of that time I went to the movies with a girl and ended up with my braces filled with whatever that mildly-hard part of the popcorn is. We sat in the last row of the theatre, and as I was about to start the conversation, an astronomically loud Samsung ad started playing; it was about a brand new feature that no one would care about in a year or less —like most things these days. I tried talking three or four times more, but it was impossible. Going out on a “catching up” date to the movies and an action-packed film of all types is, speaking from experience, a terrible idea. I believe Ava could see my frustration, and softly said: “maybe an ice cream after the movie?” Once the movie was over, we went to get a milkshake and then got into the car — just as we did four years ago— to drink while she picked the music. Ava set the volume to a low-enough-to-talk-but-not-low-enough-that-there-would be-an-uncomfortable-silence-when-no-one-spoke level. I started with the basic “How’s everything been?” Ava started talking about her work and college, eventually, she mentioned Tom, her —in Ava’s words— “guy I’m seeing but we’re nothing yet.” I told her about Kate, my ex, and how she always bought Ava up every time we argued. Ava laughed. So far the day had a feeling of an old sitcom reunion, everyone is a little older, they’re doing the same thing but it didn’t quite feel the same. I remembered a physics class with professor Stevens, he talked about the fact that you can move around however much you’d like, but if you end up in the exact place your displacement would still be zero. Ava and I went to college out of state, we were both pretty much out of it, thousands in student debt, work, new friends, her parents got divorced, her dad had a new kid named Alana, I almost died in a car accident last fall, but there we were, in the same parking lot of the same AMC, listening to some old music but mostly new music from old artists, in the same car. All of that combined made me feel at home. Yes, a lot of good things happened in those four years, but a lot of bad ones too. Feeling as if none of that happened, as if all of that was merely a dream or a passing thought, was amazing. Man, what a drug the past is, it makes us weep, but we still crave it. Ava’s face was dimly lit by my old car’s light, her eyes glimmering by the glimpse of the past. I touched her face to register if all of it was real, and then we kissed. Many things have changed, but I was glad to know her kisses haven’t. I drove her back to her house. As Ava was getting out of the car, she got a call from Tom. She acted as if it was nothing. I smiled and started driving back to the place I used to call home, but now it’s just “my parent’s house.” A few hundred feet before finally getting to the house, I stopped to let my old neighbor Mr. Smith cross the street with his dog. I checked my phone and saw a notification from the airline that my flight had no changes and was scheduled for tomorrow morning.

© Gabriel Berm

Short Stories

About Time

“What should we do with the body?” I said while doing my best impression of a CSI investigator. “Stop it,” Olivia said, chuckling. “No, but seriously, what are we gonna do with Mark? We can’t just leave him here,” I asked. “Fine, we’ll take him with us, pray my dad is asleep or out watching a football game. Is there any game tonight?” She said, audibly nervous. “Two things, one, it’s three in the morning, two, I wouldn’t know there was a football game if I was physically there,” I replied. I called an Uber, we were the only ones left or, for that matter, able to acknowledge our very own existence. When the Uber arrived, Olivia and I lifted Mark, and to the best of our abilities sat him on the backseat. Mark’s skin was fish-belly white, at least three tones lighter than sober Mark. “Is that guy ok?” The driver asked. “He just needs some air,” Olivia said. Phyllis —the driver— opened the window on Mark’s side, his hair looked like a hair product commercial. Once we got to Olivia’s house we carried Mark into the living room and placed him on the floor. Olivia put a pillow under his head. “How thoughtful of you,” I joked. She threw a pillow at my face. “Water?” I asked. She nodded. I brought two glasses of water, and we sat on the couch, staring at Mark’s drunk self. “I can’t believe you once had the biggest crush on him, what a taste,” I said, feeling my head slightly dizzy. “Shut up, I had a crush on you too,” Olivia said, seemingly regretting saying it. “You did?” I asked, somewhat surprised. She nodded, visibly embarrassed. “Well, I had a crush on you too, or have, I don’t know,” I said, feeling dizzier. “No, you didn’t,” she said. “Since fourth grade, I fell in love with that girl with the huge eyeglasses and the rubber band collection,” I replied, feeling slightly drunk, it was as if my body was now allowed to process the beers after we sorted the Mark situation. Olivia rapidly sat on the edge of the couch and looked at me. “Tell me you’re joking,” she said seriously, she had that stare that made you confess even your deepest secrets. “I’m not,” I replied. “When did you have a crush?” I asked. Olivia sat there in silence for a few moments, then answered. “Fourth grade, I even liked those stupid shorts and your weird obsession with pirates,” she said with a nostalgic voice. “I still wear shorts, and my love for pirates hasn’t but increased over the past several years,” I said. She smiled. “And Mark?” I asked. “I thought if I liked your best friend you would be jealous,” she noted, with her cheeks looking more red with every second of silence proceeding it. “So, do you still…you know?” I asked. My heart was beating with emotion, and my head was spinning courtesy of Coors Light and Olivia. She turned around without looking at my face. “Do you?” She asked. “Every day more since fourth grade,” I replied, thinking that sounded like something Michael Bublé would say. Olivia turned around, smiling and with her eyes sparkling. I grabbed her hand, she looked into my eyes. In a heartbeat, Olivia kissed me, and I kissed her back. “I’ve been wanting to do that for a while,” she said. As I placed my hand on her face to properly kiss her we heard a grunt. “About fu-hiccup-ing time,” Mark said and then went back to sleep. We laughed, her laugh hasn’t changed one bit in all these years.

© Gabriel Berm

Short Stories


Today my calculus professor told us that we were probably having a long weekend since the campus was getting some sort of wiring improvement, which was great since I could finally spend some time with Emily. I called her, and she agreed to take a 10-hour bus from Denver to visit me. I would’ve gone to Denver but her roommate hates me for some reason, so my dorm was our only choice. My roommate Farid was always cool when Emily came over, he was going to have his annual Harry Potter marathon with some guys from his major anyway. Since Emily was going to take the night bus I had to clean the dorm as much as I could, weeks upon weeks of RedBull cans and Cup Noodles’ remains close to fossilization didn’t exactly go away with Lysol. Farid had this habit of saving stuff for later to recycle, the thing is he never actually went and recycled it. Farid left the dorm at around 7:00 PM. “Enjoy the weekend my dude,” he said, wearing a Slytherin hat. After an hour and a half of cleaning, the dorm looked somewhat presentable. The only problem I had was it didn’t exactly look like a nice place to have a date, it —still— looked like a boys dorm. So I called my friend Erin for help. She got there in about ten minutes. “So? What’s the emergency?” Erin asked. “Would you like to have a date here?” I said. “No,” she replied decisively. “That’s the problem,” I continued. “Is Emily coming?” She asked. I nodded. “What about not taking her here?” She said. “I have $25 left, those books professor Anderson asked for were ridiculously expensive,” I said. “Fine, I’ll be back, give me ten…fifteen,” Erin said as she left, almost jogging. It actually took her 20 minutes, but she got there. She was carrying a cardboard box filled with a barrage of different objects. Erin started taking out of the box a set of garden lights, two scented candles, a psychedelic-tablecloth-looking thing, and a Bluetooth speaker. Once she arranged the lights, set the candles, and the speaker on top of the tablecloth thing she said “I want all of this back by Monday.” “You’re awesome,” I told her. “I know,” she replied. I set the alarm to 6:00 AM to get ready and pick Emily up at around 7:00 AM and went to sleep. The next morning, I got woken up by Shaggy’s sweet voice singing Bombastic —that has been my alarm since I was 15. As I checked the messages I noticed a text from Emily. “The night bus was full, I’ll take the 8 am one, love you.” I was half relieved and half sad, on one hand, I could resume my sleeping but on the other, I was going to see her less. “Got it, text me when you’re close, love you too,” I texted her. Nine and a half hours later I went to pick her up. We kissed and we hugged, then drove back to campus. When we entered the dorm and I tried to turn on the lights, but, they didn’t turn on, in fact, nothing did. The sun hadn’t set yet, but unless it suddenly decided not to set for the first time in billions of years, we were out of luck. “Weird, didn’t they tell you something about the power going off on the weekend?” Emily asked. I quite frankly forgot that the dorm was indeed part of campus hence it would be subject to the wiring situation. “I’m sorry,” I replied. Emily laughed. “I can see you had quite something planned here,” she said, admiring Erin’s setup. We ordered some Uber Eats and ate it while sitting on the tablecloth with the candles lit and Vocalise Op. 34 playing in the background. The sun, not skipping another day, eventually and predictably flawless set. The room was now fully lit by nothing but the two candles Erin left. We talked about college and how different it was from high school, she told me about a guy who got arrested on campus for selling fake AirPods and I told her about a girl who got caught cheating using glow in the dark ink and UV-light-emitting pen. It was around nine or ten, the already almost finished candles were with every ten minutes burning even dimmer, Emily said that perhaps we could see the stars since all the lights were off. I took two red SOLO cups, a carton of cheap wine Farid and I had stashed just in case, and we got out. Emily was lighting the way with her phone’s flashlight. I took her to the roof of the computer science building, the tallest on campus. We sat there, admiring the starless sky, but from the distance, we could see the reason we couldn’t see the stars —the city— shining brighter than any trace of a star we could try to spot. I placed my arm around Emily, and she said “it’s beautiful up here” and I replied looking at her eyes reflecting the not-so-distant buildings “it really is.”

© Gabriel Berm

Short Stories

Close your eyes

I was finishing a can of cheap beer when the doorbell rang. I knew it was her, she always arrived ten minutes late to everything, after some time I simply learned to adjust my schedule ten minutes past the agreed-upon time. I opened the door. “Hi,” Miranda said while waving her hand nervously. We sat on the living room sofa. The lights were dimmed, the TV was off, it felt as if nothing bad could ever happen. “Are your parents home?” She asked. “Pediatricians summit,” I replied. “So?” I asked curtly. “So what?” She replied. “So why did you want to see me?” I asked dryly. “I can’t see my boyfriend now?” She replied. “Your boyfriend? I’m glad I still am, it doesn’t look like it,” I replied. “What the hell are you talking about?” She asked, annoyed. “Miranda, I know why you’re here, Josh heard it from principal Jenkins,” I said with a soft trembling voice. My eyes started to get wet, I could feel my eyelids doing their best to prevent a single tear from escaping. Miranda’s eyes looked exactly how I thought mine did. “Charlie,” she said hardly being able to speak. “I’m happy for you, you know that, you deserve that and more, you deserve the world Mimi, every single fucking inch of every good thing out there,” I said, now being able to feel some teardrops sliding down my cheeks. “I lov-“ she said but I interrupted her. “Don’t. Don’t say it, not now,” I said while placing my hand on her thigh. “I don’t even know if I’ll succeed, it’s still a one a million chance,” she said. “If there’s someone that will make it, that’s you, LA is going to love you,” I said with a smile. She jumped and hugged me, her tears started wetting my shirt. “So, who’s this big shot producer?” I said trying to delay the inevitable. “I’m not really sure, I mean, he’s legit and all, he said something about a teen’s show or something, he liked my voice after watching an Instagram post,” she replied wiping her tears, her eyes now visibly red. “Charlie, we could…I don’t know…try long-distance? Maybe?” Miranda said. “Mimi, I don’t want to distract you from your dreams, and let’s face it, you’ll have no problem finding a better-looking guy than me in LA,” I said. “But I want you, Charlie, I don’t know why you don’t even want to try,” she said, crying a little. “Because you deserve better, LA or not, you deserve a guy who drives you to Target to buy some weird kitchen contraption to make an Instagram recipe or goes to your house in the middle of the night because you feel lonely, or…or,” I said, then stopped to take a deep breath. “Or, tells you how beautiful you are every single fucking day because you’re and I just want to kiss your face and tell you how much I love you but I’m not that guy, I’m not,” I finished, crying. “Charlie….,” she said and kissed me. “I don’t want to see you leave,” I said. “I have to go,” she replied. “I know, I literally don’t want to see you leave, I’ll close my eyes and then you can go. Good luck Mimi, I’m proud of you,” I said as I slowly closed my eyes, seeing her face less and less with every fraction of an inch my eyelids got closer to each other. I waited for a second or two and said with a soft voice “I love you,” not knowing if she heard me or not.

© Gabriel Berm



Wondrous days

Of eternal hope

That leave us all alone

Frighting nights

Of calm abroad

Fill our hearts

With nothing but sorrow

But on that evening

Among thunderstorms in May

We saw that perhaps

There’s some glory in pain

© Gabriel Berm



When the stars
Seemed a little brighter
And clocks
were ticking faster
I felt sometimes
Your hand on top of mine
When mornings cried light
And your heart
Beat closer to mine
That’s when I knew
That your eyes
Time defied

© Gabriel Berm


Rhyme #7

Your eyes were as big as my doubts

Your words less hard than I thought

The love 

Unrequited as it must

Yet my hands were shaking as you talked

Your smile prevented me to cry

The reason why

Shall only be known by the stars in the sky

For all of those things are barely memories

And I’m not the one you want in your routine

My God what I would give for you to see me

In the way that you see him

My God what I would give 

For you to say the words “I do too”

When I say I love you

© Gabriel Berm