THE SHARING SERIES • by Janet Savage

Back when I was in college, if you were lucky you had an electric typewriter and a private room. If you were really lucky, now and then, you had someone to screw in that private room. I needed the typewriter.

He had one. Also boyish good looks and a relaxed style. We came together in a sweaty bed one night after a party and woke, hung over, at dawn, to the faint opening music of the traditional Tequila Sunrise party on the main campus lawn. Dawn drinking parties. Only in college; we had to go. We did and let the ever-nearer beat of the party music drown out the nauseating thudding in our heads.

At noon we still lay on the lawn, our bodies linked under the warming sun. I felt we had glimpsed the edge of the universe. In one and the same night we had said to hell with other people’s rules and schedules. From then on we screwed, we drank, we played, we faced or ignored peril at our caprice. For us, the suns and the moons rose and fell with the trivial precision of a juggler’s balls.

We were powerful all right. Apparently powerful enough to stop even nature’s schedule. Five days late. Could be a glitch in the universe. Could be a start; could be an end. Could be both.

Perhaps nature could be deterred, but administrative bureaucracy could not. The term paper deadlines and exam dates were still on the calendar when I sneaked a peek. Eventually, exam week started. I saw little of him while I wrote my term paper and struggled to comprehend both the circuitous road to the French revolution and the unyielding laws of physics.

My term paper finally composed, it was time to ask for the typewriter. After all, he had finished his papers and our eyes had seen the glory together.

No, he said when we talked. No, because people get into trouble when they lend personal items to each other.

Well, I guess that was right. Trouble. The two of us were in trouble all right. Twelve days late and counting. Yet another clock had started. A new kind of thudding in my head.

I told him about that too. He said he didn’t want to share, didn’t have to share, didn’t know how I could be confused.

So, that’s how it works. One second leads to another, one event to the next. Loverless, baby-full. All for the want of a typewriter.

Janet Savage says: “I am an empty-nester, re-starting the writerly life that I missed. I have a wonderful husband and two splendid children and two dogs. Upon discovering that a genre existed that took advantage of my penchant for brevity and power in stories, I felt validated.”

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Rate this story:
 average 3.6 stars • 42 reader(s) rated this

Every Day Fiction

  • Michael Stang

    Thought the ending quite passive against a strong first paragraph. I could not bring myself to care for the characters.
    God save the Baby.

    • Sarah Crysl Akhtar

      The last sentence of the first paragraph stuck a pin in it, for me.

  • Paul A. Freeman

    I too found the characters difficult to sympathise with. Also the motivation of jumping someone’s bones so you can use their typewriter seemed a bit obscure.

  • Sarah Crysl Akhtar

    Sorry. This sounded like the bitter sharing of the latest member of a divorced women’s support group.

    The “boyish good looks” foreshadowed what came after, but the MC was as shallow as he. She could afford a single dorm room but not a typewriter? Couldn’t organize her time well enough to find a free machine in the library? I echo Michael’s last sentence. Two stars.

    • Gary Davison

      So young and foolish… been there, done some of that. I enjoyed much of the humor, thanks.

  • Von

    Wow. I thought this piece quite powerful. I love the contrast between the different types of sharing (or not sharing) that are depicted here. It’s a dark story, but I thought the author pulled it off quite brilliantly.

  • S Conroy

    I really disliked him (which is clearly the author’s intention) and couldn’t identify with her (I feel I should), but enjoyed the tempo and the character dynamics a lot.

  • The prose is really driving, puissant. Best I’ve read in a while. I would like to read more from this author.

  • Cassandra Jane Parkin

    I’m going to swim against the tide here and say I really, really liked this. I read it as a look at the ridiculous choices and beliefs we make and hold at that time in our lives. The central couple believe they’re special, revolutionary, unique and all-powerful when in fact they’re just a couple of college kids doing the things we all do at college (drink, have sex, panic about deadlines, make ludicrous financial choices). The last line made it for me – the painful return to a dusty, difficult reality.

  • Terry Franklin

    Nice, precise, economical. Evoking memory of a time and a way of thinking that goes with it.

  • Kate

    A brief, strong, relatable piece of writing Janet. You capture the delicious fleeting time of life when relaxing in the afterglow under “the warming sun” was the best part of college. The lessons learned about relationships and consequences were probably more lasting than physics and French history.

  • I like this a lot. “Loverless, baby-full.” Love that. With such brevity, so much was said, or shown. All is equal, perhaps, but not biology, alas. Great!

  • Amanda

    I’m jealous. If I relive my life I want these stupid moments to remember. Am drawn to the authors writing. Would have preferred her not
    mentioning her marital status etc. Leave it to our imagination. 4 Stars.

  • Tim STL

    I was fine with the “needed the typewriter” sentence. I took it as a whimsical rationalization from someone who is caught up in the free-spirited revelry that many folks experience while away at college. I think this story is contrasting a care-free, light-hearted excuse for a very poor decision with the lifelong, heavy consequences that followed.

  • The last sentence in the first paragraph sets up the whole story. It’s perfect.

    Fantastic work here. It was rather dark, easily relatable and never tried to be something it wasn’t. Best story I’ve read here in quite a while. 5 Stars. Thanks for sharing.

  • Marie

    Thank you for your comments and honest discussion. And I am very satisfied that this story found its audience.

    • Sarah Crysl Akhtar

      Yes. That’s one of the beauties of EDF. Authors with the guts to keep submitting will indeed find their audience. And will learn to distinguish valuable feedback from that which isn’t so useful. Cheers to you.