It’s Nothing by Martin Brick

Tabitha tried her key again and again, but the car wouldn’t start. The library had closed, her co-workers gone, but a vaguely familiar looking man tapped her window.

“Need help?”

“It won’t start.”

“Pop the hood. I’ll look”

“That’s okay. I can call a truck.”

“It’s probably distributor wires. I used to have one of these old Cavaliers. Happened all the time.”

He went to work and after a bit Tabitha said, “You look familiar,” to fill the silence.

“I come into the library a lot.”

“That’s probably it.” She peered around the hood to study his face. This made him nervous.

“Try it now.” He avoided eye contact.

It started naturally.

“Thanks. Let me give you something,” as she handled her purse.

“Forget it.”

She looked at him. He examined the ground. He told himself he’d watch her eyes, but it was harder than he thought. And he couldn’t bring himself to say his rehearsed line: “I’d better go, it’s a long walk for me.”

“I suppose that was an easy fix.” Her voice was now slow and searching.

“I better go.” He wanted to say the rest so she’d offer him a ride.

“Did you go to school around here?”

He did. Just like Tabitha. Sat behind her in Spanish. Maybe if he responded, “Si” she’d remember. 90% of the words he’d ever exchanged with her were in Spanish.

“Well, thanks,” she said getting in her car.

“De nada,” he responded after she’d driven off. “De nada.”


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Filed under Martin Brick

8 responses to “It’s Nothing by Martin Brick

  1. How sad. How well you presented his loneliness in this story.

  2. Lovely. Another one I wish I had the guts to write.

  3. Awww, so sweet. I wonder that he’s been crushing on her for years…

    Nicely written.

  4. guy

    The disconnect can be read at least a couple ways. That he’s walking and hanging out the library suggests that he’s jobless and that romance is a luxury he can’t afford. Or you can read him as just a shy guy, or some sort of stalker. Great character.

  5. I agree with Guy here, and I like how you leave it up to us to decide, to fill in our own perceptions on this fantastic character.

  6. Pingback: Week #35 – Loose connections | 52|250 A Year of Flash

  7. yep, the ambiguity as to motive amps up the tension and the mystery. loser? lover? both? really great story. peace…

  8. Kim Hutchinson

    How clueless she is not to recognize him, and how sad he is to retreat behind his shyness. Well done.

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