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November 22, 2007


DISCLAIMER: John Ware is not actually a stalker ( to my knowledge)

This is the seminar piece worked from our partner's short story. I mistook the assignment and thought we had to amalgamate it into a style of a different short story alltogether. Classic schoolboy error. Anyway, I rewrote John's story in the style of this dubious sci-fi short story I found on the internet about a man who remembers everything, literally everything. It ended up creating an interesting stalker-like effect, though I wasn't that pleased with the piece as a whole.


John saw the woman standing outside the party. She had left for the ladies room, in the wrong direction, at 12.15. As it was now 12.27, he knew that she had been standing out here alone in the dark for a full 12 minutes. He calculated that during this time she must have smoked 2 and a half of the cigarettes in the slightly crushed packed clasped in her hand. He approached her back cautiously.

‘I love you’ he repeated again, or rather, he corrected himself, almost repeated. The fist time he had actually said ‘I’m in love with you’, at 12.05 in the west recess of the marquee on the 13th of October. If she had replied in words he would have remembered them exactly, as he remembered everything. Instead he was left to memorise her slightly confused, slightly upset expression.

The woman’s shoulder blades rose and fell with a long smoky exhaled breath that shook slightly. She did not turn round. John looked at a tissue she had dropped, strangely bright in the darkness against the black tarmac.

‘I have since the first time I saw you, Tuesday the 8th of August, 2005, 10.15 in the morning and you were shopping. You were standing outside of Morrisons, you had lots of bags and you smiled at me because the wind was blowing your hair and skirts and shopping bags everywhere and you had to smile at it or be embarrassed. You were wearing that brown skirt and a blue shirt I only ever saw two more times. You had your black rimmed glasses on. You had six shopping bags and they were digging into your arms they…’

‘John…’ She didn’t turn to face him.

‘Do you remember?’

‘No John I don’t really remember...’

‘And then the second time I saw you, on September 12th, you didn’t remember me but I remembered you, in Starbucks and I was sitting on my own…with a house blend coffee, a large house blend coffee, and you sat at the table next to me and I saw your briefcase and knew we were working in the same building and…’ she turns, exasperated ‘Do you remember?’

‘Not really John I think…’

‘You were reading a magazine, Grazia, an article on PTS’ Her blank expression brightened a little, as if she remembered, and he felt encouraged. HOwever,before he could go on and pour out all the memories of every time they had spoken or passed in the hall, she looked back at the marquee silencingly.

‘Look, I’m gonna go. I’m going. I’m sorry’ She starts putting her cigarettes in her clutch bag, but changes her mind and hands him the packet sadly. She starts to walk away but he grabs out at her arm in desperation. She stumbles at the contact and falls onto her hands in the carpark. She lets out a small cry of distress and he tries to help her back to her feet, mortified, but the woman shrinks back and hurries back into the party, holding her bleeding palms out before her like she is carrying a tray of drinks.

John blinks at her retreating figure, absently counting the number of steps it takes her to reach the glowing tent in her heels and committing them to memory. He pauses and then pulls out a kinked Marlborough light, smoothing it and putting it into his mouth. His trusty box of matches, in which he knows there are 37 matches left, is where it should be in his tuxedo pocket and he lights the fag gingerly. He inhales deeply and tremorously and as the memories of every instance in his existence flow gently past him he recalls automatically his first ever drag of tobacco. It was a rollup, damp with a friends spittle, behind a building in school. It was June 9th 1998, 2.47 pm between maths with Mr Ross and Geography with a supply teacher who was wearing a particularly hideous pink scrunchie. The scrunchie had fallen out of her hair and onto the desk halfway through class. It was difficult, being forced to remember things like that- having a brain like a sponge for the most trivial and frustrating details. John kicked at the soggy tissue at his feet and walked off into the night.

March 2023

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