short fiction

Q + U, As Teenagers / Briane Pagel

Q and U were hanging out together, as teenagers do, and as they did, almost always.

Q was at that awkward, in-between stage.

U was not; U’s capitalhood hung on U already, a spectre that U would become soon fully enough but which even now suited U.

This made things difficult between them.

Alone together they almost never talked, which was the way things should work, almost always. But times like today it was the exact opposite of perfect, it was a reversal of the mechanism and each of them could feel at times such as today that the mechanism of their time together, past and future, this great Rube Goldberg machine of their relationship stretching before and aft, was, at times like this, not just stalled but moving in reverse.

Q knew it but was not yet capital enough to tackle the challenge.

So U did, summoning shades of their cohort to assist her. Lowercases could not do this at all; Capitals did not need shades to talk.

U summoned her shades:

what is wrong

U asked.

Q shrugged, the lowercase in him still hanging back, at first, but braved it:

will you always love me

In this case, the homonym fit perfectly, as it did in U’s reply:

It is You

U said

Who decides when we are together.

Q’s insecurity, U found fetching. It made U forgive those rare times Q left this confabulation of them, because U knew Q would always come back.

by Briane Pagel


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