The Story of Us, a short story by Teodora Vamvu at

The Story of Us

The Story of Us

written by: Teodora Vamvu



A novelist could have written the story of us, had we not wanted to write it ourselves.

In our eyes, the first time they locked, at a table at that restaurant our friends made a reservation for.

On our hands, they touched as we both reached for the check on the first date. I let you pay.

A novelist could have written our story, had we not written it on our lips the first time we kissed, under the flickering light of a worn-down lamp, a treasure passed down for generations until it no longer resembled a gain, but rather a barely hanging leaf in the family tree.

We wrote our story on the rocks we competed to throw as far as possible in that lake we stumbled across after an agonizing 4-mile hike. You wrote it in your passion for exploring nature and I in my passion for you.

In the car seats, as we headed to your parents’ home up East; on the Goodyear tires that navigated swiftly down the road, with all its twistings and winding.

I wrote it on a piece of paper I attached to your gift that first Christmas together. You wrote it on the toothbrush you smuggled in my bathroom cup.

We wrote it on the key chains we attached at each of our sets of keys, to the house we decided to move into together. We wrote it on the earth when we planted our first tulip bulbs. On the wooden planks, we chose to cover a small part of the garden so we could sit on chaise lounges and sip lemonade.

We also wrote it on other things.

You wrote it on the walls of our bedroom as they reverberated, riding the wave of your fury as you worked at your most expansive decibel level. The family lamp trembled.

I wrote it on your T-shirts when I accidentally washed them with a pair of hot pink yoga pants. Accidentally.

You wrote it on the inside of your palm as it imprinted on my chin. I wrote it as annotations in the book I threw at your head. You wrote it on the knuckles of your right fist as my stomach twisted and bent under its will.

I wrote it inside the ink of the pen I used to sign the abortion paperwork. You wrote it in the waiting room, on the chair you never sat on.

I wrote it on the lozenge kitchen tiles on which my tears and blood pooled together, never really blending perfectly, a maelstrom of stupor and despair.

You wrote it on my stunned expression as a brutally forceful pull took me aback. My pained realization as a piece of white cloth made it impossible to breathe. I wrote it on the single tear that streamed down my face before I closed my eyes and surrendered.

Now I’m scratching the entirety of our story on the insides of the wooden box I awoke in. You are writing it on the dirt and gravel, making it hard to drag. On the shovel that you are most certainly carrying under your left armpit.

I can hear the tulips shedding their last petals.

I am writing it on the back and front of my teeth as I grind them together. Because I am also writing it in the screams that I don’t let out.

The story of us could have been written by a novelist, had I not wanted to write it with you.

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