A Familiar Shadow: Part Five

Jaden and Marvin have been living in Jeremy’s house for a few weeks now. Jeremy lives in the house as well, but they never see him at all. In fact, they’ve never seen him before. If anything, they mostly see his shadow lurking and creaking through the hallways at night in the house. This was Jeremy’s request to Jaden and Marvin. Jeremy wanted them to be in their rooms from 12:00 am – 3:00 am, so that he could roam the house freely at night. Marvin did not care about the request, but it was strange to Jaden. Plus, there was something strangely familiar about Jeremy to Jaden. He just couldn’t figure it out. 

It’s close to midnight, and Jaden and Marvin are playing Mortal Kombat together in Marvin’s room. Jaden still has not forgotten about the fact that Marvin nearly choked him out to be in this house. He desperately wants to get far away from Marvin, but he fears that he’s trapped. However, Jaden is doing his best to keep things normal and casual with Marvin. Jaden does not want to anger Marvin again.  

They’ve been playing Mortal Kombat for a few hours now, and they’re on their last match of the night. Marvin is using Sub Zero, while Jaden is using Lui Kang. While they’re playing, Jaden hears the floor creak outside of Marvin’s room. Jaden takes a quick look, but he sees nothing but a person’s shadow on the hardwood floor. Jaden thought to himself that it had to be Jeremy’s shadow. It’s not midnight yet, so Jaden wonders why Jeremy is outside his room at this hour. 

Before he can think about it any further, there’s a loud yell from Marvin as he ends up beating Jaden the third round in Mortal Kombat. 

“Let’s go! I am the greatest of all time! No one can stop me,” Marvin yells. 

“Be quiet, I just got a little distracted,” Jaden says. 

“Whatever man, all I do is win, win, win, no matter what. Now, if you want to get that work again, I got you.” 

Jaden laughs, but there’s something strangely familiar about the back-and-forth between him and Marvin. All of a sudden, Jaden receives a text message. He’s worried about looking at the message because his mom was recently admitted to a hospital. She doesn’t have very long to live. Jaden starts tearing up because he wishes that he was with his mom and sister. 

Marvin quickly gets up and embraces Jaden. Jaden shakes his head and explains, “It’s just hard being here and not at home, especially with my mom being sick and everything. It’s only getting worse for her, and —

Jaden suddenly stops and realizes there’s something weird and strange going on. He feels like he’s said that before. Jaden starts sobbing in Marvin’s arms. 

Marvin whispers, “I got you, bro. You’re my best friend, and I’m always going to be there for you. You gotta push through the pain and hurt, alright bro?”

Marvin’s words are strangely familiar and eerie to Jaden. He doesn’t know why. Jaden looks at his phone and sees that it’s a text from Maria. 

The text reads, “Hey, I miss you. I was wondering if you wanted to come over and you know.” 

Jaden drops his phone, and he’s starting to freak out and shaking. Marvin doesn’t understand what’s going on. Marvin quickly picks up Jaden’s phone and sees that he got a text from Maria. 

Marvin smiles and says, “Bro, Maria is trying to get a piece of you.”

“What do you mean?” Jaden says without even thinking. He quickly puts his hand on his mouth and can’t believe the words that he spoke. 

Marvin lets out a big sigh and responds, “Jaden, my clueless friend, she’s trying to get with you and smash tonight.”

This is sounding all too crazy and familiar to Jaden. He doesn’t understand or know what’s going on right now. Then, Jaden adds, “Well, I’m not trying to see her bro. She’s getting married in a month.” 

“Ok, and? She’s trying to have a little fun with you before she’s committed to someone the rest of her life. She’s entitled to a little fun. Plus, you’ve been boyfriend #2 for two years and now you’re trying to dip on her? Know your role bro,” Marvin says. 

“I never wanted this role in the first place. This is annoying! I want something more than just fun and sex. It’s just been pointless and meaningless.” 

“You’re just tripping, bro. Why did you start this in the first place, then?” 

“I never wanted to start this situation in the first place. It just happened, and I thought she would break up with her boyfriend and be with me. It just never happened, and I’ve been a fool this entire time. I’ve been trusting and believing the wrong people.”

After Jaden said those words, there’s an awkward silence between Jaden and Marvin. Before Jaden can say anything, Marvin admits that he’s hungry and needs something to eat. Jaden’s heart starts beating faster, and he once again hears the floor creak again outside of Marvin’s room. Jaden looks and sees the shadow outside of Marvin’s room not moving at all. 

Before Jaden can say anything, Marvin says, “You know, this might sound crazy but maybe we should go to the Purple Eyes diner and —

Jaden interrupts, “Marvin, do you not know what’s going on right now? We’re reliving that night at Purple Eyes!”

“What are you talking about, Jaden?” 

“Marvin, doesn’t tonight seem a little too familiar and coincidental to you? We’re playing Mortal Kombat, we were talking about my mom, Maria sent me a text and you were about to convince me to come with you to Purple Eyes. We did all that before going to Purple Eyes.”

Marvin gasps and realizes that they are reliving that night in their own way. It’s not completely a copy of that night, but it’s pretty close. Marvin catches his breath and whispers, “Alright, this is a little freaky and weird. Ok this is no problem, all we have to do is not go to Purple Eyes and we’re good, right?” 

Before Jaden can say anything, Marvin gets a random text message from Jeremy. It reads, “Come to the living room.” 

Marvin shows the message to Jaden, and Jaden quickly looks back at Marvin’s open door and finds the shadow no longer there. 

“Hey man, I don’t think you should go to the living room. I think we need to stick together and get out of here.” Jaden pleads. 

“What are you talking about, bro? We’re gonna be fine as long as we don’t go to Purple Eyes. Plus, Jeremy is our landlord, so we really can’t ignore him,” Marvin explains. 

“I don’t know man, he seems kinda shady and weird too tonight. I kinda saw his shadow in the hallway, and why is he now trying to see us?”

“It is a little strange, but I think we’re okay. You’re more than welcome to come with me, I’m going to see him real quick and be right back.” 

Jaden tries to stop Marvin, but he’s quick to maneuver Jaden and get out of his room. Jaden is scared and worried about his friend. He thinks about getting up and following Marvin, but for some reason he’s struggling to move. 

All of a sudden, Jaden hears a shriek sounding like Marvin and something heavy tumbling down the stairs. Jaden’s heart is beating faster and faster now. 

Then, he hears Marvin yelling and begging for Jaden to help him. Jaden rushes out of Marvin’s room and goes to the steps. He sees his best friend’s body at the bottom of the stairs. Before Jaden can do anything, he’s pushed down the steps by someone. Jaden tumbles down the hardwood steps and ends up on top of Marvin. 

Jaden’s body is hurting and aching, and he cannot move or do anything. His vision has been compromised. Everything is a blur now. He’s scared and shocked. Marvin pushes Jaden off of him, and Jaden can kinda see Marvin trying to crawl away. Jaden listens as he hears someone walking down the stairs. He turns his head towards the steps and sees a black figure coming down the steps. The black figure is a blur to Jaden, and the figure mostly looks like a shadow. Jaden is assuming the shadow is Jeremy. 

The shadow goes over to Marvin first. Jaden cannot move or do anything. All he can do is watch and listen. He watches and listens to Marvin begging to have his life spared. Jaden listens to the constant and consistent stabbing taking place, the stabbing is loud, true and unbearable for some odd reason. Jaden listens to the cries his best friend is making. Jaden hears the laughter from the shadow for this is simply a fun, sick, thrilling game the shadow never wants to stop playing. 

This was all too familiar and crazy to Jaden. The stabbing comes to an abrupt stop. Jaden looks over and sees his best friend with multiple stab wounds in a pool of his own blood. Jaden watches the shadow figure get up and look at him. Then, he whispers, “You’re next.” 

Jaden instantly recognizes the voice. It’s his classmate’s voice from the night at Purple Eyes a few years ago. He’s alive, Jaden thought to himself. 

“How are you still alive? You’re Jeremy, right?” Jaden weakly asks.

There is no response from the shadow that is quite familiar to Jaden. The familiar shadow walks over to Jaden and gets on top of him. Jaden can see the butcher knife in his hand, and it looks like the familiar shadow is going to stab him. 

Jaden starts crying and realizes that he’s about to die. Then, Jaden whispers, “I’m so sorry.”

Jaden starts whispering more things, but the familiar shadow cannot understand the unclear, desperate whispers. The familiar shadow chooses to ignore the whispers. The familiar shadow kneels down to Jaden’s face and whispers in his ear, “So beautiful.” 

Jaden is shocked by this familiar statement, and he continues to whisper. The familiar shadow gets off of him and stands up. It’s as if the shadow figure is waiting for something to happen. Then, Jaden realizes what he must do. Jaden reaches and begs for help, but he’s kicked in the face by the familiar shadow. The blurry figure gets on top of Jaden again, and Jaden understands and knows his life will be taken away from him. Still, Jaden whispers and whispers while he’s being stabbed repeatedly by the familiar shadow. 

A Familiar Shadow: Part Four

A few years have passed since the events that took place at the Purple Eyes Diner. Jaden and Marvin swore to never speak of that night ever again. They both graduated from college, and they were living in an apartment together after graduation. The lease on their apartment is up next week, and they’re trying to decide if they want a new lease or move somewhere else together. However, Marvin proposes an interesting opportunity to Jaden. 

“Hey bro, someone reached out to me about us renting two rooms in this really nice house in the city. You have to look at these pictures,” Marvin explains to Jaden. 

Marvin attempts to show Jaden the pictures, but he’s not in the mood to see them. Marvin asks Jaden what’s wrong with him. Jaden explains that he’s thinking about moving back home with his mom and sister. 

Jaden explains, “I don’t know man, I feel like I should be back home now. Everything has been on my sister to take care of our mom, and I need to help out in some way.” 

Jaden starts to tear up, and Marvin is quick to embrace him. He whispers to Jaden, “I get it man, you want to be back with your mom and sister. They could use you right now, but your mom and sister want you to live your life. They want you to be happy and free.” 

“I don’t know if that’s true, man. I just talked to my sister a couple of days ago, and she’s the one that asked if I was thinking about coming home. She wasn’t telling me to come home, but it felt like she was kind of hoping that I would come home.” 

“Jaden, you don’t know—

“Marvin, my sister has taken care of our mom for years! She needs a break and deserves a life too. It’s selfish of me to just live on my own, I have to help in some way or help even more now than ever! I have to go home!”

Jaden pushes Marvin off him, but Marvin is quick to embrace him again and Jaden struggles to get out of his embrace. Then, Marvin says, “I’m sorry, bro. You’re right, maybe it is best for you to go home and help your mother. Maybe that’s what’s best for you. I just want to show you this house, and I just want you to think about how happy and free you’ll be living in this place. Just for a moment.” 

Jaden sighs and reluctantly allows Marvin to show him pictures of the house. Marvin gets his phone out and shows Jaden the beautiful home in the city. The kitchen is perfect, the living room is spacious and there’s a huge backyard. Jaden is stunned that it’s a remarkable house, and the bedrooms are spacious and have their own bathroom. Jaden can’t believe the house, and Marvin says the best part is the rent. Jaden asks how much the rent is, and Marvin says that it’s only $500 for the both of them. Plus, they do not have to worry about paying for utilities or a deposit. 

Jaden is shocked and excited, but he is somewhat skeptical. The deal and offer sounds too good to be true for Jaden. He asks how Marvin came across this house, and Marvin explains that he was emailed about it by the homeowner. Jaden is confused, and Marvin shows Jaden the email. It read that there were two rooms available at the homeowner’s house that the homeowner was looking to rent out. The email was sent by someone with the name Jeremy. 

Jaden thinks the email is strange, then Marvin says, “Before you say anything, I emailed him back saying that we were interested in the rooms and got to Facetime with him.” 

“You Facetimed the guy? What was he like?” Jaden questions. 

“He was kinda quiet and didn’t say much, but he was cool for the most part.”

“Did you see his face? And did you ask him why he was renting out the rooms?” 

“Geez, so many questions. Yeah, I kinda saw his face. He was just talking about how he just wanted to make some extra bucks.”

“Wait, what do you mean you ‘kinda saw his face,’ Marvin?” 

“He just had on a hoodie, and he had the hood over his face. It was just kinda hard to see his face.”

Jaden sighs and says, “Bro, do you realize how sketchy and weird that sounds? I don’t know about all that, but if you want to live there then you go ahead. I’m going back home.” 

“Here’s the thing, I kinda need you in order to live there.” 

“What do you mean?”

“The rent is only $500, if you’re also going to be there. If you’re not, then it’s going to be $2,000 for me to rent a room, and I can’t pay that at all.” 

 Before Jaden can say anything, Marvin begs him to consider living in the house. Jaden refuses and says, “No, I just have a bad feeling about that place. Plus, I just told you that I want to go home. And how can you come up with that agreement without talking to me at all? I’m sorry bro, but you’re on your own.”

Jaden tries to walk away, but Marvin stops him. Then, he has this menacing, strange look on his face. Marvin coldly says, “Did you forget what I did for you that night? Did you forget how I saved your life? I didn’t leave you on your own, but now you’re trying to leave and abandon me?”

Jaden tries to assure Marvin that he’s not abandoning him, but Marvin pushes Jaden to the ground and continues, “You were almost going to have us killed that night. You owe me for what I did for you that night. You owe me your life.” 

Jaden doesn’t know what to say, but Marvin quickly adds, “Or if you feel like you don’t owe me anything, then maybe I should cut ties with you and tell the cops you were the one that murdered that kid that night, while I watched in horror.” 

Jaden shakes his head and can’t believe what he’s hearing from his best friend and roommate. It doesn’t make any sense to him. Marvin then gets on top of Jaden and starts choking him. Jaden is struggling to breathe and get out of the chokehold Marvin has him in. 

Then Marvin whispers, “I could talk about how I was whispering and whispering like crazy that night. How I was begging for you to stop the stabbing and killing, but you just wouldn’t listen. You just kept going and going, and you never wanted to stop and think. You were just so sick and twisted that night at Purple Eyes.” 

Jaden begs for him to stop and Marvin lets go of Jaden. He gets off of Jaden and says, “Great, I’ll let Jeremy know that we’ll be moving in next week.”


This is the end of part four of “A Familiar Shadow.”

Be sure to like, share and comment your thoughts on this short story.

The final part of this short story series will be posted next Thursday

A Familiar Shadow: Part Three

Jaden and Marvin find themselves trapped behind a dumpster in an alley, and they’re not sure what to do. The guy that Jaden recognized as his classmate starts walking into the alley more. Jaden and Marvin can hear his footsteps getting closer and closer to them. Marvin looks under the dumpster, and he can see the guy’s shadow getting closer to them. Jaden starts shaking and trying his best to control his breathing. Then, they hear more footsteps approaching. 

The shadow figure that was drawing near Jaden and Marvin stops in his place. He’s begging and pleading for his life to be spared. 

“P-p-p-please, p-p-please, please leave me alone. I-I-I-I I’ll give you my wallet,” the guy stutters. 

Jaden and Marvin hear the guy crying and pleading for his life to be spared. Jaden wants to do something, but Marvin stops him. 

Jaden whispers, “We have to do something. We can’t just let my classmate get hurt and beat up like this. I can’t listen to this”

“We don’t know what’s going on or how many people are trying to hurt him right now. We need to be quiet and protect ourselves first,” Marvin whispers back to Jaden. 

Suddenly, something hits the dumpster that startles Jaden and Marvin. Then, they hear something hit the ground. They both decide to look underneath the dumpster and see Jaden’s classmate’s body on the ground. Jaden’s eyes meet his classmate’s eyes, and his classmate is reaching to him for help. He’s begging and hoping Jaden will help him out of this frightening, horrific situation. Jaden does not know what to do, but he does not have time to do anything. 

Pocket knives are stabbing Jaden’s classmate’s body. The stabbing is loud, true and unbearable. Blood starts creeping and slowly moving closer to Jaden and Marvin. So much blood is being lost now. Jaden is close to throwing up, while Marvin is in shock with what he is witnessing. Yet, Jaden’s classmate still reaches for him. Despite the suffering and pain he’s enduring, he still reaches out to him. Jaden still watches in horror. Marvin and Jaden hear laughter from the attackers for this is simply a fun, sick, thrilling game that they never want to stop playing. 

“We have to do something, Marvin. I can’t keep watching and not doing anything about it. This is sick and wrong, we have to put in an end to it. I’m calling the cops,” Jaden whispers. 

Jaden reaches for his phone, but Marvin quickly stops him. Then, he whispers, “We can’t do anything right now. It’s too late. Even if we did call the cops, they would get away and we would be the ones in trouble somehow.”

“You don’t know that, we have to do something. They’re murdering a guy right in front of us.” 

“I know, but we gotta think about ourselves right now. The best thing we can do right now is stay hidden and be quiet, Jaden.”

“I can’t just be quiet, I have to do something. Do you not see a guy being stabbed over and over again? Do you not care at all?”

“Of course I care. But what are we going to do about it? Join him and die with him because it’s the right thing to do? No, I don’t know this dude and neither do you. He’s just a shadow in your class, but if you want to die with him too. Be my guest.” 

The stabbing comes to an abrupt stop. Marvin and Jaden kneel down again and see Jaden’s classmate’s body lifeless on the floor. Then, they hear footsteps walking away from the alley. They wait a few minutes before doing anything at all. Marvin eventually gets up and takes a quick peek to make sure nobody else is around. Marvin sees that no one else is around and assures Jaden that the coast is clear. 

They get out from behind the dumpster and find themselves stepping in a pool of blood. Jaden sees his classmate’s body with multiple stab wounds and almost throws up. Marvin tells Jaden that they need to hurry up and get out of here.

Jaden replies, “No, we need to call him an ambulance and—

“You’re still trying to save this dude! We don’t have time for all that. We need to get out of here and get back home where it’s safe,” Marvin interrupts. 

“What are you talking about, Marvin? He needs medical attention, we have to do something.” 

“Bro, we need to leave! If somebody sees us right now, we’re going to be in some deep and serious trouble.”

“We didn’t though, and we can prove it to them. We can just explain that we—

“What did we do exactly, Jaden? Oh yeah, we watched a person literally get murdered and did nothing about it. We’re technically accomplices to murder, I think,” Marvin interrupts and yells.

Jaden does not know what to say, then Marvin continues, “Plus, we don’t even know where his attackers are or anything at all. They could still be in the city. They could be waiting for us right now because of all that whispering you did behind the dumpster! Maybe we should stop wasting our time trying to save a dead man! Maybe we should be thinking about getting out of here and worry about saving our own lives right at this very moment!” 

Jaden understands where Marvin is coming from and agrees that they should get back to campus. Then, Jaden feels a hand on his ankle. He looks down and sees it’s his classmate’s hand. He’s still alive. 

He whispers to Jaden, “Help me, Jaden, please.”

Jaden is shocked that his classmate knows his name, but he can’t believe he’s alive. There’s blood all over his classmate’s face, so he can’t really see him at all. Jaden is not sure he can help his classmate, Jaden does not know what to do. Marvin quickly comes over and kicks his hand off of Jaden’s ankle. Then, Marvin kicks him in the face. Jaden is stunned. 

Marvin turns to Jaden and says, “Let’s go, Jaden. We don’t have time for this. We need to get out of here right now. Come on.”  

Marvin runs out of the alley and yells back for Jaden to follow him. Jaden quickly kneels down to his classmate’s level and whispers he’s sorry. Before Jaden can leave, his classmate points at the wall. Jaden looks and sees a mural of some woman in a black veil with purple eyes. Then, his classmate whispers to Jaden, “So beautiful.”

He starts coughing up blood, and Jaden wants to help him more than anything. Instead, he runs away from him and follows Marvin out the alley. As he’s running, Jaden hears his classmate calling and begging for him to help him. Jaden ignores his classmate’s call for help and continues running out of the alley. Never looking back once.

This is the end of part three of “A Familiar Shadow.”

Be sure to like, share and comment your thoughts on this short story.

Part Four of “A Familiar Shadow” will be posted next Thursday.

A Familiar Shadow: Part Two

For Jaden and Marvin, the city is within walking distance for them. The college campus is only ten minutes away from the city. They both quickly get dressed, leave their dorm room and head to the city. It’s close to midnight, and Jaden is still feeling a little nervous about being in the city so late in the night. The city is different at night. It’s not as lively or chaotic during the day. There’s this eerie, strange quietness of the city. The city is a different world with nearly no one in sight. If there are people out in the city, they are simply lurking and hiding in the shadows. There are plenty of shadows and dark corners in the city. You never know what to expect, and the city late at night is a place where nightmares can become reality.

Jaden and Marvin finally make it to the city, and they find themselves a few minutes away from the diner. As they’re walking, Marvin is still trying to convince Jaden to go see Maria. 

Marvin says, “Look bro, all I’m saying is Maria is fine, and you need to get with her tonight.” 

Jaden is still unsure about going to Maria’s place, and he responds, “I don’t know man, I still feel like it’s wrong. Yeah she’s pretty and beautiful, but she has a whole boyfriend. Plus, it’s kinda late and who knows how long we’ll be at this diner. It’s probably going to be too late to see her anyways.” 

“I don’t think so, bro. We’re probably going to be at the diner for at most an hour, and I think she’ll still want to see you at 1:00 am. I think she wants you that badly, and you can have so much fun with her tonight.”  

Before Jaden can respond, they’re about to walk past the bus stop but see someone waiting there. Marvin tells Jaden to be cool, and Jaden listens to him. They walk past the bus stop and the person waiting there. Jaden takes a quick look at the person at the bus stop and instantly recognizes the person. The person is someone familiar at the bus stop. This person was a guy with glasses, a long sleeved gray shirt and blue jeans. He was someone in Jaden’s chemistry class. Jaden forgot his name, but he remembers the guy mostly keeping his distance and not really talking to people in class. He is this shy kid with a lot of anxiety, and Jaden wonders why he is in the city so late at night. He’s looking nervous at the bus stop, and Jaden thinks about going back to talk to him. 

Jaden tells Marvin that the person they passed is in his chemistry class. “Maybe I should just check on him real quick and make sure he’s alright. He seemed kinda nervous and scared at the bus stop,” Jaden explains. 

Jaden is about to turn around, but Marvin stops him. Marvin tells Jaden not to worry about him because they’re almost at the diner. Marvin also believes the bus the guy is waiting for will be coming for him soon anyway. Jaden is still worried about the guy, but he trusts Marvin. 

As they’re still walking to the diner, Jaden gets a phone call from Maria. Jaden forgot that he didn’t respond to her, and he’s nervous and reluctant to answer it. However, Marvin pushes Jaden to answer the phone. Jaden answers the phone, and Maria quickly asks if Jaden had received her message. Jaden admits that he received it, but he was not sure if he could come over. 

Marvin mouths, “What are you doing?”

Jaden tells him to shush, and Maria asks Jaden why he can’t come over. Jaden is trying to find a good excuse, and he comes up with a reasonable, good excuse. He says, “Well, my roommate and I are heading to this late night diner, and I’m not sure how long we’ll be there. I don’t want to keep you waiting.”

“Oh that’s okay Jaden, I’m a night owl and typically go to bed around 3:00 am anyways. Plus, I don’t mind waiting for you,” Maria responds.

Before Jaden responds, Marvin shouts, “Actually, we’ll probably be back on campus around 1 or 1:30 am, so Jaden will be all good to come to your place around that time.”

Jaden could not believe Marvin said that. Maria quickly says that time would work perfectly for her, and she was really looking forward to seeing Jaden later tonight. Jaden tries to object, but Maria adds, “Please Jaden, just for an hour, that’s all I need. I promise you that I won’t bother you for any more.

Jaden contemplates going over to her place, and he sees Marvin telling him to go over to her place. He reluctantly listens to Marvin and agrees to see Maria. 

She is happy to hear that Jaden is coming over and adds, “Just text me when you’re at my door. I’m looking forward to seeing you tonight, and I just know you’re going to love our study session a lot.”

Jaden understands and hangs up the phone. He turns over to Marvin and sees this big smile on his face. Then, he says, “I see you, Jaden! Playing hard to get, that’s actually really smart of you because now she really wants you.” 

Jaden shakes his head, and he can’t believe the situation he is in with Maria. As Jaden was thinking about Maria, Marvin and him find themselves in front of the diner they were hoping to get to. The name of the diner is called “Purple Eyes.”

“What kind of name is ‘Purple Eyes’ for a diner?” Jaden asks Marvin. 

“I don’t know, I kinda dig it bro. Also, everything in there is purple. It has a nice feel and vibe to it,” Marvin adds. 

They both head inside the diner, and they’re able to find a booth for themselves. A waitress comes up to them and asks if they want anything to drink. They both decide to get water, and they ask if they could have a few minutes to look over the menu. After a few minutes, Jaden decides to get some pancakes, eggs and sausage. Marvin decides on a burger and some fries. While they’re waiting on their meals to come, Marvins brings up Maria to Jaden. 

“I don’t know man, I don’t know if I want to do this,” Jaden explains to Marvin. 

“You’re not going to regret it. Look, I’ve had a lot of fun times with cheating girlfriends.”

“You have?”

“Yeah man, they’re something else. The best part about them is that they know what they’re doing and there’s no commitment involved. It’s honestly like a fun, exciting game messing with a cheating girlfriend. A fun, little Mortal Kombat game,” Marvin smiles and explains. 

“How so?”

“Well sometimes you’ll have flawless victories with girls that cheat with ease. Sometimes you’ll lose when girls change their minds, and that’s perfectly okay. Girls have a right to change their minds. Other times, they fight and start second guessing themselves. They’re not sure if they want to cheat on their significant other or not. So, you have to come up with the right moves and combinations that puts her mind at ease. Once you do that, you’re having fun times with a cheating girlfriend,” Marvin responds.

Marvin was making a little sense to Jaden, but he wasn’t sure if he wanted to play such a game with someone that has a boyfriend. Marvin then asks Jaden what’s stopping him from playing such a fun, exciting game. 

Jaden takes a deep breath and says that he wants something more. He wants love. Marvin looks at him and starts laughing. 

Then, he says, “Jaden, love is overrated, especially in college. Take it from me when I say that college is all about trying new things and having fun. Don’t lose out on Maria. Have fun with her and who knows, maybe you two crazy kids will fall in love. Also, maybe things are not going so well with the boyfriend, and she’s trying to take a chance with you and start something new. Just take a chance man and go for it, too.”

Their food comes after Marvin makes that statement to Jaden. While they’re eating, Jaden wonders how true Marvin’s words are to him. Jaden is not sure what to think anymore. 

After they’re done eating, they leave tips for the waitress and head out of the diner. They both enjoyed their food a lot and admitted that they would want to come back to this diner again for their food. 

“Yeah man, that diner had a nice, chill vibe to it and the food was so good,” Marvin says. 

“I know it, we gotta come back here again. Also, the service was pretty good,” Jaden adds. 

As they continue to walk back to campus and praise the diner, they are surprised by someone running towards them. It appears to be someone crying and begging for help. They both see some blood on the person’s face. Marvin and Jaden cannot tell who the person is, but they can tell that he’s been hurt and in a lot of pain. They think about helping the person. Then, they see three figures chasing after the person. Marvin pulls Jaden back and tells him to run and follow him. Jaden listens to Marvin. 

They end up running back near the diner, but they’re not sure about going inside the diner. Marvin directs them through the alley that’s next to the diner. They rush through the alley, and Marvin pulls Jaden near a dumpster. They hide behind it and start to hear footsteps. 

Their hearts are beating, and they’re not sure what to do. Jaden asks Marvin if they should call the cops, but Marvin tells him to shush and be quiet. 

Jaden and Marvin hear the footsteps getting closer to them, and someone yelling, “Can you two please help me? These three guys are trying to rob and kill me. I tried to get into the diner, but the doors were locked. Can either of you call the cops or something? Help me, please.” 

The voice sounds familiar to Jaden. He thinks it’s the one guy from his chemistry class. The guy that was alone and scared at the bus stop.


This is the end of part two of “A Familiar Shadow.”

Be sure to like, share and comment your thoughts on this short story.

Part Three of “A Familiar Shadow” will be posted next Thursday.

A Familiar Shadow: Part One

It’s late at night for Marvin and Jaden. They are in their dorm room, relaxing and playing some Mortal Kombat together. They’ve been playing for a few hours now, and they were on their last match of the night. Marvin is using Sub Zero, while Jaden is using Lui Kang. Before the match begins, they go back and forth trash talking to each other. Then, the match begins. Jaden wins the first round, then Marvin wins the second round. In the middle of their final round, Jaden receives a text message. Jaden looks away from the game for a brief moment, and Marvin takes advantage of him being distracted. Marvin hits Jaden’s character Lui Kang with a fatal blow and finishes him with Sub Zero’s fatality. 

Marvin yells, “Let’s go! Get wrecked, son! Did you honestly think that this was a game to me?”

Jaden starts laughing and telling him to shut up. Marvin chuckles and continues, “Nah man, I’m enjoying this victory. You were talking all that foolishness for no reason. I earned the right to brag because all I do is win.” 

Marvin laughs some more and replies, “Bro, shut up! The only reason you won is because I got distracted by my phone.”

“No excuses, Jaden, that was your fault. It’s not my fault that you weren’t focused. Do you know why?” Marvin asks. 

Jaden asks why, and Marvin replies, “Cause all I do is win, win, win, no matter what. I’m the GOAT and King Kong ain’t got nothing on me, and you better not ever forget that. Or I’m gonna have to give you that business again.” 

Marvin and Jaden start laughing together and Jaden says, “Whatever man, but that was a good win for you, I’ll give you credit. Just enjoy it cause it ain’t happening again, you know that right?”

Marvin chuckles and says, “Yeah, yeah, we’ll see. But yeah man, good game. So who texted you?”

Jaden takes a deep breath and hopes it’s not a text from his sister or mom. Before Jaden looks, Marvin puts his hand on Jaden’s shoulder and assures him that everything will be alright. 

Jaden shakes his head and explains, “It’s just hard being here and not at home, especially with my mom being sick and everything. It’s only getting worse for her, and I’m just worried that any text I receive from my sister is going to shatter and destroy my world. I love my mom, bro. I can’t imagine a world without her.”

Jaden starts to tear up, and Marvin quickly embraces him. Jaden sobs and continues, “I just feel so much guilt being here. I should be at home helping take care of her, too. I’m just leaving it all for my sister to deal with alone.” 

Jaden continues to cry and hold onto Marvin. Marvin assures him that it’s okay. He tells Jaden to let it all out and not to hold back. After a few minutes, Jaden starts to calm down and thanks Marvin for being here for him. 

Marvin replies, “I got you, bro. You’re my best friend, and I’m always going to be there for you. And remember, your sister and mom want to see you still living and enjoying life. We’re graduating in a few months, and you know they want to see you walking and getting that degree. That’s a blessing for them. You gotta push through the pain and hurt and get that blessing for them. Alright, bro?”

Jaden wipes the tears of his face and nods his head in agreement with Marvin. Jaden thanks Marvin for the encouragement, and Marvin tells him that it’s no problem at all. 

Jaden takes another deep breath and looks at his phone. He’s relieved to find that it’s not a text from his sister or mom, but it’s a text from Maria. She’s a girl in Jaden’s chemistry class. 

The text read, “Hey I was wondering if you wanted to come over and study for a little bit.” 

Before Jaden responds, Marvin asks if everything was alright. Jaden shows Marvin the text he got from Maria, and Marvin gets excited. Jaden does not understand the excitement, and he asks Marvin why he’s so excited. 

Marvin responds, “Bro, Maria is trying to get a piece of you.”

“What do you mean?” Jaden wonders. 

Marvin lets out a big sigh and says, “Jaden, my clueless friend, she’s trying to get to know you and something else late in the midnight hour.”

Jaden still doesn’t understand, and Marvin groans and says, “Oh my gosh, I really gotta spell this out for you. Bless your precious, innocent heart. Look, she’s trying to have a little bit of the sex with you tonight. She’s trying to smash.”

There’s a shocked face on Jaden’s face, and he tells Marvin that it’s not true. 

“She just wants to study because we do have a big test coming up in a few days. The library is closed right now, and we just so happen to live on the same floor. It just makes sense that she would just want me to come over. It’s convenient,” Jaden explains.  

Marvin chuckles and says, “Yeah, you’re convenient alright. She is not trying to study with you. It’s almost midnight, and ain’t nobody trying to study at this hour. I know girls bro, and that girl right there is trying to get with you.”

The more Jaden thought about it, the more it was making sense to him that she might want to have sex with him. Then, Marvin asks if he can see a picture of Maria. Jaden quickly went to Maria’s Instagram and showed her profile to Marvin. Marvin looked at a few pictures, and he immediately thought that she was beautiful and gorgeous. 

Marvin says, “I see you Jaden! This girl is fine. You need to hurry up and respond because you have a goddess waiting for you.” 

Jaden gives a nervous chuckle and tells Marvin that he’s not going over to her place. He asks Jaden why not, and Jaden takes a deep breath and tells Marvin that Maria has a boyfriend. 

Marvin gives Jaden a puzzled look and says, “Ok, and?”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean, are you worried about the boyfriend on campus or something?” Marvin asks.

Jaden replies, “Well, not necessarily, I mean he goes to a school in another state. And—

“Bro, you’re all good. He’s like a couple hundred or thousands of miles away from us, so you’re good to smash,” Marvin interrupts. 

“But Marvin, she still has a boyfriend. I don’t know if I’m comfortable being with someone that has a boyfriend. It just feels wrong,” Jaden explains. 

“Why does it feel wrong?”

“I don’t know, it just feels like I’m disrespecting the relationship that she has with her boyfriend.” 

 “Jaden, I promise you her boyfriend is probably smashing some other girl right now in college and that’s why she’s texting you to come over. She needs a distraction right now, and you could use a distraction yourself. You’re doing her a disservice right now by not answering her booty call. Shame on you,” Marvin says. 

Jaden doesn’t know what to say, then Marvin continues, “And they probably have little to no respect for their relationship if she’s trying to get with you right now. Why is that your problem? If she’s not respecting her relationship with her boyfriend, why do you feel obligated to respect it?”

Before Jaden can respond, Marvin admits that he’s hungry and needs something to eat. Jaden admits to being hungry, too. Jaden asks if Marvin wants to go to Taco Bell, but Marvin admits that he’s not really feeling Taco Bell at this hour. Then, Marvin remembers something about a new late night diner that recently opened up a couple of weeks ago in the city. Marvin looks it up on his phone and finds it on Google. He sees that it’s still open and suggests going to the diner with Jaden. 

Jaden admits that he’s a little hesitant about going to the city late at night. However, Marvin assures him that they’ll be fine, and the food is probably going to be so good. 

“Trust me, bro. Let’s get something good to eat and enjoy a little bit of the city at night. Nothing crazy is going to happen,” Marvin explains. 

Despite Jaden being unsure about going to the city, he trusts Marvin and is interested in trying something new. Jaden gives the approval about going to the diner in the city.

Marvin smiles and says, “Awesome, let’s go to the city.” 



This is the end of part one of “A Familiar Shadow.” 

Be sure to like, share and comment your thoughts on this short story. 

Part Two of “A Familiar Shadow” will be posted next Thursday.  

Choosing Your Best Friend Over Love

Two years ago, I was Facetiming and talking on the phone with my friend Charlotte. We were having our usual, fun, chill conversation on the phone, and she told me that one of her guy “friends” admitted to liking her. For me, this did not come as a surprise. 

Charlotte was practically this beautiful, Instagram model. She looked good in all of her Instagram posts. She would mostly have famous, professional athletes slide in her DMs, and she would hook up with them sometimes. Plus, Charlotte and I had met through Tinder at the time. She was this gorgeous, attractive girl that I really wanted to get with. However, the more I got to know her, the more I realized that we would be better as friends. I didn’t think that we were compatible, and I couldn’t see myself having a long-term relationship with her. Something was just missing with her. Nevertheless, I still liked talking to her and decided we were better off as friends. 

Anyways, Charlotte was telling me that this guy that was her friend was heading off into the military, but he ended up confessing his feelings for her. Charlotte told me that it really came out of nowhere, and she didn’t feel anything romantic with him. He told her that he always had feelings for her, and Charlotte was kind of weirded out and confused by that. 

Charlotte asked, “Like Isaiah, if he knew he always had feelings for me, why didn’t he say something from the beginning and just act like my friend all this time?”

It was a valid question, and I responded, “Well, some guys just don’t really like being honest and truthful about their feelings. I don’t personally believe in the Friend Zone, but some guys that do would rather keep you close and be stuck in the Friend Zone because it’s a safer option. They don’t get rejected, and they can pretty much stay close to you and wait for a better opportunity to make their move.”

Charlotte then asked me why I don’t necessarily believe in the Friend Zone. I said, “Well, I just don’t think you can be stuck in the Friend Zone. For a guy or girl, you can choose to either tell your friend how you feel, never say anything or walk away from the friendship. However, it’s all your choice. You’re only stuck because you chose to be stuck.”

 Charlotte was impressed with my answer, but she’s still annoyed that most of her guy friends just randomly profess their love for her. I understood her frustration, and I assured that she always had a friend in me. She was glad to hear that I just intended to be friends with her, and she started talking to me about her guy best friend that she really cared about. His name was Billy. She told me that they had been friends for years, and she could always count on him. Billy sounded like a really good friend.  Then, she told me some interesting things about him that made me question if he was a good friend. 

She explained to me how every time he talked to a new girl or had a girlfriend, he would just cut her off. Billy would tell Charlotte that his girlfriends were not comfortable with him being friends with her. I thought that was a little weird because I just had a hard time believing that all of his girlfriends were telling him to stop talking to Charlotte. I felt like he just wanted to cut her off, but I didn’t say anything. Charlotte also added that everytime it didn’t work out with any of his girlfriends, he would just be messaging her like crazy talking about he’s sorry and wanted to be friends again. 

Charlotte said, “Yeah, he just messaged every 10-15 minutes for weeks saying that he missed me and wanted to be friends again. It was so annoying getting messages from him and just ignoring him, but I also thought that it was sweet that he was constantly messaging and apologizing to me. It showed that he was serious about our friendship and knew he made a mistake, and I just had to eventually forgive him.” 

I blurted out, “Well, that sounds like harassment to me. I get that it was somewhat sentimental to you, but that’s also kinda childish and pathetic to me. You clearly didn’t want to talk to him, and he didn’t really respect the fact that you wanted to stop talking to him. But you didn’t block him or tell him to stop for whatever reason, and it ended up working out. Now y’all have a wonderful, life-long friendship together.”  

Charlotte said I was right, but she said that Billy doing all that wasn’t pathetic to her. It meant a lot to her. I could tell there was a little change in her mood. She was bothered. It’s possible that I may have revealed and shared too much of my thoughts. I was thinking that maybe I shouldn’t have said all that, when she just wanted to share something sentimental about her best friend. I was thinking I had to be more careful with my honesty and transparency. Some restraint is necessary and important. 

Thankfully, I was able to change the subject, and we were able to go back to having a chill, fun conversation. I was relieved that our conversation about her best friend Billy didn’t ruin our time FaceTiming and talking with one another.

A couple of days had passed, and Charlotte messaged and told me in the afternoon that she met the most amazing guy. I was all excited and happy to hear that, and I wanted to know so much about the guy that got her in her feelings. She told so much about him, and how he slid in her DMs and is practically her dream guy. Charlotte felt a real connection with this guy, and I was genuinely happy for her. I wanted her to find the one, and I couldn’t wait to Facetime her and talk about the guy. 

Around 6:00 that day, Charlotte messaged me again and told me that it wasn’t going to work out with the guy. I was devastated and hurt. I was invested in this potential relationship, and I wanted to see it come to fruition. How could it be so short lived? They were supposed to have some rom com moments, have some cute pictures together, decide if they want to be public or private about their relationship, get married, have kids and grow old together. I was rooting for this potential couple, how could it be over so soon? I needed answers. I needed an explanation for this romance that literally lasted for a few hours. 

Charlotte and I Facetime each other around 9:00, and I immediately ask what happened with her dream guy. I admitted to her that I was rooting for them, and I just thought that they were meant to be. Charlotte thought that I was sweet thinking that, but she said there was a lot that happened. She explained how everything was going well as they were talking and connecting with each other, but then he brought up guy friends. I knew it was about to get crazy. 

Charlotte said, “So, I told him that I have guy friends and that I have a guy best friend named Billy. I told him that we’re really close, but he had nothing to worry about. Billy is honestly just a friend.” 

Then, she told me that he was uncomfortable with her having a guy best friend. He was worried that they would get close and develop feelings for each other. I was certain that Charlotte would tell the guy that he had nothing to worry about, but she ended up dropping an unexpected bomb shell to me. 

She stated, “Well, Billy and I had kissed and made out before.” 

I was shocked and couldn’t believe what I heard. I needed more information and details about this unexpected plot twist. So, Charlotte continued, “Well, it was a couple of years ago and we were just hanging out with each other. One thing led to another, and we just ended up kissing and making out. But nothing else happened after that. We just felt like it was weird and decided we were better off as friends.” 

There were a lot of questions and concerns that were racing in my mind with Charlotte and Billy. Like how could y’all be friends after that? It wasn’t like they kissed for a few seconds. The way Charlotte described it to me, it sounded like they kissed for a good 15-20 minutes before putting a stop to it and going further. And how did Charlotte know if it was genuinely weird for him, too? He might’ve just said that because you said that. And if he saw you as just a friend, why does he always ghost you the minute he has a girlfriend? It just seemed like Charlotte was something more than just a friend to him. The math was not mathing to me at all. I was thinking all those things to myself, but I refrained from saying anything because I remembered I didn’t want to be too honest and transparent with her. 

Anyways, Charlotte added that she told the guy what had happened between her and Billy, and the guy told her that she needed to end her friendship with Billy. Charlotte explained, “Yeah, he was saying that he’s uncomfortable with me and Billy’s friendship, and I essentially had to choose between him or my best friend. That was just so unfair to me because we had just met, and you’re already trying to dictate who I can and cannot be friends with. That’s ridiculous and a huge red flag to me.” 

I understood where Charlotte was coming from, and I agreed with her to a certain extent. Charlotte and the guy really had not gone on even a first date, and he really had no business/right telling her who she can and cannot be friends with. However, I will say that if their relationship was more established, then he could have more of a say. I do believe that friends of the opposite sex can get in the way of a relationship and disrespect it as well because they may not know how to respect boundaries. That’s unfair to your partner if he/she feels that a friend is disrespecting your relationship and disregarding certain boundaries. I feel like it’s important for your partner to feel safe, comfortable and secure with you.   

Charlotte stated that she couldn’t believe the ultimatum the guy gave her, and she said that she would choose her best friend. The guy understood and decided that they should just stop talking to each other. Then, Charlotte asked me what I thought about the whole situation. 

I was thinking a lot of things about Billy, her and potential future relationships where her friendship with Billy could be a problem with guys that were interested in her. However, I said, “Well, I think he definitely gave you an unfair ultimatum, especially with y’all not really going on a first date yet. You made your choice. Your friendship with Billy is clearly important to you, and you don’t want to compromise that in any way. He clearly wasn’t the guy for you, and that’s okay. The right guy is definitely gonna come your way soon.”

She was appreciative of my encouraging words, and she was glad that I was her friend. We ended up changing the subject and just talking and having our normal, usual conversation. Before we hung up, she mentioned the guy again and couldn’t believe how much they connected with each other. She felt like it was real, and it would’ve been nice to see him in person and go on a date with him. 

“I can understand that, but you can’t keep thinking about it. It wasn’t like you were in a full blown relationship with him, and y’all weren’t talking very long either. Do you know how pretty and beautiful you are? There are gonna be better, sweeter guys that will come your way and treat you better,” I said.

Charlotte was thankful for everything that I said, and she’s glad that I can be so hopeful and optimistic. She just thought that she had a real chance at love. I just couldn’t believe that she chose her best friend over love.

That’s the end of the short story “Choosing Your Best Friend Over Love.”

Be sure to like, comment, and share your thoughts on this short story.

The Strangest Compliment: Episode Two

In this episode, I received not one, but two strange compliments from a girl that I consider a friend. The first compliment wasn’t weird or crazy, but it was an unexpected compliment that made me feel some type of way. It was a compliment that she didn’t give to her boyfriend at the time, but she wasn’t afraid to give me this compliment. I didn’t necessarily know how to respond to the compliment, but I think that I gave a reasonable response. The other compliment was more of a realization of where I stand as her friend. It’s a compliment that I think a lot of guys get, but they don’t know nothing about it. Let me tell you all about it.

Last summer, I was hanging out with my friend Rosa at Taco Bell on a Saturday afternoon. It had been a while since I hung out with Rosa, and it was nice to have an opportunity to catch up with her. At Taco Bell, we both got Doritos Locos Tacos and some drinks. We’re sitting down, taking bites of our tacos and we start to realize that there’s something missing in our tacos. We both smiled and realized that we needed some hot sauces on our tacos. So, I got up and went to get a handful of different sauces for our tacos. I brought the sauces back to our table, and we went crazy and drenched our tacos with hot sauces. Then, we started eating our tacos with pure satisfaction.

After we were done eating, we started talking, sharing a few laughs and catching up. I ended up telling her about this girl that I had been on one date with and how there was something strange about her. Rosa was excited and ready for me to spill the tea. So, I explained that on my first date with this girl, she was talking about being exclusive.

Rosa was surprised to hear this and said, “Wait a minute, she asked if you wanted to be exclusive on the first date? That’s interesting, but I know that must’ve freaked you out.”

Rosa knows me and knows that I don’t believe in putting all your eggs in one basket. Meaning, I don’t believe in hopelessly chasing after ONE girl and putting all your time and energy into that ONE girl, even after one date. I think that it takes time and 4-6 dates to determine if you want to be exclusive with that person.

Going back to the story, I replied, “Yeah, it kind of caught me off guard. It surprised me. I guess she was really feeling me on that date.”

“Wow, and what was your response?”

“Well, I said alright and told her that I wouldn’t be talking to other girls anymore. It would be just her.”

“Really? Why would you say that? Aren’t you talking to three other girls?”

“I was, but not anymore. I gave my word that I would be exclusive to her, and I’m keeping it. I cut them other girls out, and I’m just talking to her. I mean, I guess I kinda like her and maybe there’s something there.”

Rosa smiled and said, “That’s what’s up. I hope things work out.”

I shook my head and said, “Yeah, I just have a bad feeling about just being with her. I don’t know, I feel like I’m gonna be disappointed at the end of it all.”

Rosa groaned and replied, “Isaiah, you are such a pessimist when it comes to girls. I just don’t understand it.”

I explained, “I just don’t trust y’all. It’s just that y’all be playing too many games.”

Rosa responded, “Says the guy that talks to multiple girls and has a really hard time committing to one girl.”

I chuckled and said, “First of all, I don’t have an issue committing to one girl. I believe in pursuing the right girl rather than aimlessly chasing after some girl like a hopeless romantic. By the way, why do girls find hopeless romantics attractive?”

She responded, “Because there’s just something sweet about a guy obsessing over you and thinking about you and only you. He goes out of his way to win your heart and treasures everything about you. It’s so romantic.”

I replied, “But that kind of sounds forced and tiring for the guy though. Plus, that level of consistency is unrealistic, and how do you know it’s authentic? What if a guy’s just being this way to catch you like a fish. He has the right bait by being a hopeless romantic, and he ends up deceiving and catching you and you’re disappointed with the results?”

“Isaiah, you’re reaching, that’s not how it is.

“I’m just saying that it sounds like hopeless romantics force love and try to control it, but that’s not how love works. Love is this beautiful, uncontrollable, natural force. It’s patient and kind, and it’s something that is shared and mutual between two people, and it’s not so one-sided.”

Rosa was impressed with my thoughts on love, but she still pointed out that I was still the guy that talked to multiple girls. I sighed and said, “Oh my goodness, y’all are just as bad if not worse. Y’all be talking to other guys too, y’all are just really slick about it.”

Rosa shook her head and replies, “Maybe before we meet a guy, but once we start dating a guy, we’re invested in him.”

I responded, “I definitely believe that, but y’all still have guys around in case things don’t work out. Y’all just have them disguised as your ‘guy’ friends.”

Rosa rolled her eyes at me because she knew where I was heading. She knew that I was about to bring up an interesting rule that I apply to girls all the time. This rule could also be attributed to guys, but in most cases it’s attributed to girls. It’s called the 20% rule. This rule implies that at least 20% of a girl’s friends that are guys are attracted and interested in being with her. For instance, if a girl has 20 straight guy friends, then at least four or five them are interested in being with her.

Rosa couldn’t necessarily say anything because this rule is accurate with her. In our friend group, it was me, her, Jake, Paul, Stanley and Bryce. Five straight guys total that she was friends with. Three of them (Bryce, Paul and Stanley) were trying to get with her. That’s way above the 20% mark with it being 60% of the guys she’s friends with were trying to get with her. Jake and I knew this, and Rosa eventually and slowly found out about this. She claimed that she was oblivious to this, but I didn’t necessarily believe that. I do think that some girls are oblivious to guys liking them, but for the most part girls know when guys are interested in them. Rosa is a very smart, attractive, flirtatious girl, and she always knows when guys are trying to get with her. Rosa likes receiving attention from guys, so it was hard for me to believe that she was clueless about the whole situation between Bryce, Paul and Stanley, but that’s another story.

Going back to this story, Rosa asked me then if I think it’s wrong for a girl to have “guy” friends. I quickly replied that it’s not wrong at all. I do believe that a guy and a girl can have a genuine friendship with one another as long as boundaries are created and set. At the same time, I do believe that girls keep certain guys around in case things don’t work out with their significant other because you never know. I think girls have backup options because I don’t think girls want to completely start over, and it’s more convenient for them to have backups.

Rosa understood where I was coming from, but then she had another question. She asked, “So, do you think that the girl you’re dating now has backup options?”

I replied, “Yeah, she probably does. I just really don’t care too much about it. I’m aware of it, but I’m not gonna stress about it because it’s not necessary. I’m mostly just thinking about her. I promised to be exclusive to her after one date, and that’s what I’m gonna do. I’m gonna be as real and as honest as I can be, and we’ll see where it goes.”

Rosa liked my response and assured me that things would definitely work out with us. They did not, but that’s another story. Let’s just say that I will never again put all my eggs in one basket.

Alright, let’s get to the juicy part of this story. I ended up asking Rosa how things were with her boyfriend Dexter. Rosa quickly told me that Dexter wasn’t her boyfriend. I was confused, and Rosa told me that he doesn’t necessarily believe in titles. It sounded like they were in some kind of a situationship. This surprised me because she is the type of girl that wants to claimed, and it just sounded like she was settling for less.

I asked her if she was okay with that. She replied, “Yeah, it’s honestly not a big deal for me. We’re definitely in a good place, and he’s just so romantic and sweet with me. We have amazing conversations and our text messages are funny and ridiculous. He’s just so obsessed over me, and he’s such a hopeless romantic, I love it.”

I responded that’s what’s up. As she was talking about him more in detail, it sounded like they were “single but together.” I asked Rosa how long have they been together, and she told me eight months. I was shocked. Then, I said, “Oh that’s what’s up! Look at y’all going all strong and everything, that’s awesome! Being all in love and everything and—

Rosa interrupted, “Oh, we’re not in love. We’ve never said ‘I love you’ to each other.”

This was quite strange to me because Dexter and Rosa had been together for eight months, and they never said “I love you” to each other. I asked Rosa how come they haven’t, and she just told me that it’s not a big deal to them. They just haven’t felt it for each other.

Rosa and I kept going back and forth about them not saying “I love you” to each other because it’s just super weird and confusing to me. How could you not love someone after being with them for eight months?

I started joking and saying that they’re in “luh” rather than in love. I explained that it’s a term that my best friend Obi created. It means that you have a little bit of love for a person, but you’re afraid to be fully in love with a person. You’re simply in “luh.”

Then, I said, “You and ole boy are in luh. You can’t deny the luh that you two have for each other. Your luh is real.”

She laughed and told me to shut up. I chuckled and continued, “Dexter has so much luh for you, and you’re playing games. You luh that boy, and he luh you. It’s that simple when it comes to luh.”

We both started laughing, and she said, “Oh my goodness, I can’t with you. You sound so ridiculous. But nah, I’ll say it when I mean it. I don’t want to say it if I don’t mean it, you know? Plus, I don’t want to look like a fool. When I say it, I mean it, especially with a guy.”

I nodded my head in agreement and said, “Yeah, I agree and understand. You should definitely say it when you mean it. At the same time, you shouldn’t be afraid to love somebody.”

Then, Rosa looked at me in my eyes and whispered, “I mean…I love you.”

Honestly, I wasn’t expecting that strange compliment from Rosa. It took me by surprise because it came from a place of vulnerability, and it meant something more than just a friend. For a second, I didn’t know what to say, but I knew I had to say something fast. So, I smiled and responded, “Aww thank you.”

After I said this, I could tell that my response kind of upset her a little. So, I added, “I’m just kidding, I luh you too, girl.”

My comment put a smile on Rosa’s face, and she just responded, “Isaiah, you’re something else, you’re so weird and extra.”

We both laughed, and I said, “Yeah, I am a little crazy and weird every now and then. And I most definitely extra, I can’t even front. Also, I’m not ashamed of it thank you very much.”

We continued talking some more, and we eventually ended up leaving Taco Bell. I drove her home, and we said our goodbyes. As I was driving home, I couldn’t stop thinking about how Rosa told me that she loves me. What does that even mean? Then, I slowly realized that she does in a sense see me as a backup option for her. I didn’t know how to feel about being Rosa’s backup option, when I just saw her as a friend and nothing more. It’s honestly a strange, weird compliment to be someone’s backup.

It’s kind of nice to be someone’s backup, but I wonder if Rosa and I could still be friends. Can I really be friends with someone that has strong feelings for me? I have an answer to this question, but that’s another story. I just can’t believe the two strange compliments that I received from my friend Rosa

This is the end of “The Strangest Compliment: Episode Two.”

 

 

The Strangest Compliment: Episode One

In this episode, I witnessed an old man give one of the strangest compliments I ever heard to a female coworker of mine. It was compliment that had me dying of laughter, and it really made my day. I remember the old man trying to explain his rationale to me, but the damage had been done. The compliment he gave was weird, off the wall and a little creepy. It’s a compliment that one should never use on a woman, especially a young woman. It’s a compliment that all men should stay away from. Let me tell you all about it.

Back when I was working at Sheetz, I remember that I was coming in for my usual 6am-2pm shift. It was a Friday, and I was somewhat in the mood to work with only four hours of sleep. I came in at 5:59, and I saw this new female coworker of mine behind the counter. Her name was Fate, and it was her third day on the job. She was a gorgeous, attractive, young woman, and she was a very optimistic and happy person at Sheetz. I enjoyed working with her all of the time. It was always fun and cool working with her. She would always make me laugh, and I would always make her laugh too, and we just had a really good vibe. It also helped that she was black too. It was nice that another person of color was working at Sheetz, and I didn’t feel so alone.

I walk inside, see Fate behind the counter and say hi to her. She gives me a big smile and says hi back to me. One of my other coworkers, Sara, noticed my interaction with Fate. I put my head back and sighed because I knew what was coming. I went to the backroom, clocked in and saw Sara. I said hi to her, and she gave me a big smile. I chuckled and said, “What is it, Sara?”

“The new girl is kinda cute, huh,” Sara said.

I laughed and replied, “Yeah, she’s cute, I can’t deny it.”

“So, when’s the biggest flirt in the store gonna get her number?”

I laughed and said, “Sara, I’m not a flirt. I’m just friendly, that’s all. I am not flirtatious in any way.”

“Whatever makes you sleep at night, flirt, just go out there and work your magic,” Sara replied.

I just laughed and shook my head. Before I could say anything, Sara left and went to the kitchen. I grabbed my headset and went to the front where Fate was stationed. There was a little line formed to the register, so I wasn’t too concerned with taking care of it by myself. I went to an open register and started ringing customers’ items. I saw that Fate was almost finished with a customer, so I said, “Hey Fate, after that customer, you’re good to go, I can take care of this line myself.”

“Wow, you’re so eager to push me away, I thought we had something special,” Fate joked.

I laughed and replied, “Nah, we don’t, it’s about time for you to go and get the steppin.”

We both laughed, and she said, “You’re so silly, but I have to help you with this line.”

I didn’t object because if she wanted to stay, then that was her prerogative. If the situations were reversed, I would’ve been gone already. Her shift was over, and there was no reason for her to stay and help me out. At the same time, it was sweet of her to stay with me and bring down the line.

Anyways, I was ringing up a customer when this old, black man was at Fate’s register. He was in his late 40s, early 50s. He was a regular customer that would come in Monday-Friday in the morning before he had to go to work. However, he was at Sheetz earlier than usual. I wondered why he was at Sheetz, but then it was revealed. He looked at her and said, “My oh my, I heard about you but you looking even better in person. How you doing?”

Of course, he came for Fate. I was nervous because I didn’t what this old man was about to say to Fate, but I knew that it was going to be something crazy and off the wall. I just had a feeling.

Fate gave a nervous chuckle and said, “Oh wow, I’m doing good, I’m just about to be—

I interrupted, “Fate, hurry up, we got a line forming, you gotta talk and work.”

I interrupted because I knew that Fate was about to tell him that she was about to be done with work. There was no reason for him to know that, especially with the fact that he came for her. The old man laughed and said, “Isaiah, she’s doing a fine, great job with me, you don’t have to worry about her.”

I chuckled and said alright. Then, he continued, ” By the way, you’re such a pretty, little thing. Isn’t she pretty, Isaiah?”

I nodded in agreeance and Fate thanked him for the compliment. Now, I thought that he was done after he said that. That would’ve been a good stopping point for him, but there was more. Yes, what he said next was a truly strange compliment. He said, “Now, are you sure that you’re old enough to work here at Sheetz? You don’t really look that old, but you’re looking  just as cute and pretty as a 12-year-old girl.”

My mouth was wide open when he said that. I was so confused and perplexed that I didn’t know what to do. I looked at Fate, and she had this horrified look on her face. I’ll admit that Fate did look young for her age but to call her a 12-year-old girl was kind of pushing it and a little bit more of an insult than a compliment. How was she going to respond? I wondered. She looked at him, gave a nervous smile and chuckled and asked him what did he mean by that. He explained, “Nah, I meant that you have this youthful look about you. You know what I mean? It’s like this, you look like you’re 16 years old. It’s a compliment to your youthful look, baby girl.”

I was trying so hard to keep my laughter, but it was so hard. I was in tears and just trying to keep it together. Then, Fate laughed and said, “I’m older than 16 years old, though. That’s kind of messed up that you think that I’m a child.”

“No, it ain’t even like that,” he said. The old man tried to plead his case, but he was failing miserably. He wanted me to help him out, but I couldn’t. I was trying to keep my composure because I had just heard the weirdest compliment I ever heard. Eventually, he ended up looking at his watch and realizing that he needed to go. He grabbed his things, looked at Fate and said, “I’ll see you around, baby girl. You doing an amazing job, don’t let Isaiah tell you otherwise.”

Once he left the building, I ended up just laughing like crazy. I was rolling. Fate smiled at my laughter and asked me what just happened. I ceased laughter, wiped the tears out of my eyes and said, “Clearly, he likes them young, my bad, real young with his old, pedophilic self. I can’t believe he compared you to a 12-year-old girl.”

We both ended up laughing, and she just couldn’t believe it herself. She said, “Yeah, it was so weird and creepy, I hope I don’t see him again.”

“Oh, you will. He likes you, and he’s trying to get to know you. These old men that come in here, are trying to get young, pretty girls that are employees here like you in any way they can. They think they can say or do whatever they want to you because you can’t run away from them. Ironically, they think you’re product in the store that they can own. It’s sad and pathetic, which is why you gotta be careful here, especially with the male customers. This place is toxic towards the women that work here, remember that.” I stated.

She understood, but she wondered what she was going to do about the old man. I replied, “Oh, that’s easy, all you gotta do is just tell him that you gotta boyfriend,” I responded.

Fate laughed and responded, “But that’s lying, Isaiah. Plus, maybe I won’t see him again.”

It’s true, she wouldn’t see him again. In fact, he would come in the very next day trying to find her. She wouldn’t be there, but I would be there. However, that’s another story. I just really wasn’t expecting such a strange compliment at Sheetz.

This is the end of “The Strangest Compliment: Episode One.”

Be sure to like, comment and share your thoughts on this short story. There are more episodes to come in this short story series “The Strangest Compliment.”

 

 

Getting Condoms With A Friend

Last summer, my friend Marvin and I were working out at Planet Fitness. It was a Thursday, around 8:30 when we met up at the gym. We ran on the tread mill, worked on our stomach and arms. We ended up being done at 10:00. After we’re done working out, I remembered that I needed to get some water and bread from Walmart. I asked Marvin if he wanted to come to Walmart with me, and he said yeah sure. As we were walking to our cars, I joked, “Hey Marvin, while we’re at Walmart we should get some condoms.”

I laughed at my comment, and Marvin had this confused look on his face. He looked at me and said, “Oh my God, Isaiah. Why would we get condoms? There’s no reason for us to get condoms, bro.”

We both started chuckling, and I said, “You’re right, there’s no reason for us to get condoms. After all, I have so many anyways.”

Marvin stopped walking. I looked at him, and he had this shocked look on his face. I started laughing like crazy at his face, and he was yelling that this was not a laughing matter. He wanted an explanation. So, I chuckled and explained, “Yeah man, I got two in my wallet, four in my backpack, two in my jacket and two in my car. I may have a few at home, too. Other than that, I don’t have that many.”

Marvin exclaimed, “Oh my God, Isaiah. Why do you have so many condoms? There’s no reason for you to have that many condoms, considering you’re…you know…a…um…a…

“A what? Come on, say it with your chest. Don’t be scared,” I interrupted.

Marvin nervously said, “You’re…you know…a…um…virgin. And there’s nothing wrong…

“I know that there’s nothing wrong with being a virgin, thank you very much. Do you know how many girls have been trying to get with this irresistible, caramel body? I’m thankful and blessed to be a virgin, it’s nothing that I’m ashamed or embarrassed about, and you shouldn’t be either,” I said.

Marvin chuckled and said that I was right. Then, we went back to talking about me having condom. Marvin asked for proof of condoms that I had. I said okay, and I showed the two condoms in my wallet and the two in my jacket. Then, we went to my car, and I showed him the two condoms in my car. Unfortunately, I didn’t have my backpack and jacket with me, but the condoms that Marvin saw were enough evidence to him. He had this horrified look on his face, and he said, “Oh my God, Isaiah. Why do you have condoms in the first place? Are you talking to someone that I don’t know about or something, bro?”

I laughed and said, “Nah man, I ain’t talking to nobody. I mean, I hung out with that one girl and nothing crazy happened. I just have condoms for protection, and it’s nice to have them because you never know.”

“Oh my God, Isaiah. Wait, are you still trying to wait till marriage?” Marvin asked.

I told him that I was still trying, then he said, “Then, aren’t you more likely to have sex with a girl if you have a condom with you?”

I laughed and replied, “No because having a condom is like an emergency break for a car. You’re never gonna use it, but it’s good to have it with you. You’ll only use it in case of an emergency.”

Marvin didn’t understand my argument, and we kept going back and forth about me having a condom. We argued for five minutes, until we decided to agree to disagree. Then, I smiled and added, “Well, I think you should get some condoms at Walmart.”

Marvin asked why he would do such a thing. I said, “Well, aren’t you going to visit your girlfriend in Virginia this weekend? You don’t want to be unprepared when she’s ready to get it on and all.”

Marvin blushed and said, “Oh my God, Isaiah. You honestly think that me and Mary are gonna do it?

I chuckled and said, “Oh yeah, it’s very possible. I’m like 80% sure that y’all are gonna do it. You two haven’t seen each other in months, and it just wouldn’t surprise me if y’all did anything.”

He agreed with me, and I told him that it honestly wouldn’t hurt to get some condoms. Then, he looked at me and wondered if maybe he should try to wait like me. The thought of having sex made him nervous. He didn’t know if he was ready or prepared for something like that. I laughed and said, “Relax man. You’ll be fine. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. You just gotta go with the flow man. You love her, right?”

Marvin nodded his head, I shrugged my shoulders and said, “Well then, it wouldn’t hurt to be prepared just in case something does happen.”

My friend understood exactly what I was saying. We talked a little bit more, and we ended up walking to our cars and heading to Walmart.

When we made it to Walmart, we went in the grocery section, so that I could get some water and bread. After I got those things, Marvin and I headed to the other side of Walmart to get some condoms. As we were getting closer to the treasure, I noticed that Marvin was getting a little nervous. I asked him what was wrong, and he said, “It just feels weird getting condoms at Walmart. Like what if somebody sees us?”

I laughed and dramatically said, “Now that I think about it, we are very, very bad boys right now for getting condoms. I mean, these people in Walmart, who probably aren’t virgins themselves, will probably look at us with judgment and disgust. Why, they’ll be thinking to themselves, ‘Those boys are nasty. Getting condoms to have safe, protected sex. It makes me sick. How dare they consider it. Fornication makes me sick. Lord, please forgive these sinners for even considering getting condoms. I beg of you, Lord Jesus. I cannot believe what I am seeing with my unclean eyes. I am appalled at these heathens.'”

“Oh my God, Isaiah,” Marvin laughed.

Then, I continued, “Yeah, they just need to wait till marriage. That’s all they need to do. I mean, I didn’t do it, it was hard for me. It was a struggle, but they can’t know that it was hard for me too. They just need to know that it’s expected of them, and they can surely do it. They don’t need no condoms at all until they are married to their wife. And if one of them do decide to fornicate and shame a girl, well then she’ll just end up pregnant and it will be all a part of your plan, God, for his life.”

“Oh my God, Isaiah. You’re so dramatic,” Marvin said.

I laughed and said, “Of course I am. But look man, I promise you that these people in Walmart don’t care what’s going on with us. And it’s normal and responsible of us to get condoms. It’s nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about, I promise you.”

Marvin appreciated my words, and he admitted to me that there was some fears he had in regards to religion and how they would view it. I replied, “Look man, I wish the church would be more helpful in these situations. I wish that they were more open and honest with the young people that are confused about their sexual desires. I wish the church would be willing to educate and help those that are confused about sex, but they don’t want to deal with that in an effective way. They want to continue to do what they’re doing, even though it’s clearly not working because it’s the way it must be according to the elders. This old-school mentality to just abstain from sex and fear fornication when it’s clearly not working. You still have people in the church getting pregnant left and right because you’re afraid and uncomfortable to have an open dialogue about sex.”

“Oh my God, Isaiah. You’re right, it’s up to us to really be responsible,” Marvin said.

I nodded my head and said, “Yeah man, you just need to get some condoms because you never know what’s going to happen. You could easily have sex with Mary or maybe nothing’s going to happen, but it’s good to be prepared and responsible with some condoms. If you do end up having sex without any condoms, and she ends up pregnant, then your life is going to change completely. Why take that risk? Just get some condoms man for protection.”

Marvin appreciated my words of wisdom and thanked me for them. Then, he was ready to go to the condoms. We looked at different condoms from Skyn, Trojan, Magnums, Durex and others. Marvin ended up finding the right ones for himself, and we ended up checking our things out. Then, we headed out of Walmart.

When we made it outside, we headed to our cars with our things. As I was putting the water and bread in my car, there was a thought that came in my head. There was something important that I needed to tell Marvin. So, I rushed over to his car and yelled wait before he left. He got out of his car and asked what was wrong. Then, I said, “Make sure you practice putting the condoms on before seeing Mary.”

Marvin laughed and said, “Oh my God, Isaiah. Is that really necessary?”

“It’s absolutely necessary. You need to make sure you know how to secure that thing. Otherwise, it will be going all over the place. I’m just trying to help you out man,” I replied.

“Ok will do, bro. And thank you again for helping me out with this. I would’ve been lost without you,” he said.

I told him that it was no problem, and I was glad that I could help him out. As I walking away, Marvin asked me to wait. I turned around, and he asked, “Do you think that you’ll still be a virgin till marriage?”

I was surprised by this question, and I was surprised by my answer. I said, “I don’t really know man. I don’t know how I feel about waiting till marriage anymore. I remember that I was 15 years old when I got my purity ring, and I’m 22 years old now and I’m a different person now. I don’t have the same views like I did before, and I don’t know if I want to retain some of them. For right now, I don’t know anymore if I want to be a virgin till marriage.”

“Oh my God, Isaiah. My boy’s gonna have a little bit of the sex,” Marvin responded.

I laughed and said, “I don’t know about all that man. I mean, if I fall in love with a girl, then maybe I will. But again I don’t know man, it’s something that I need to think about. I mean, I don’t know if I want to be open for business for these ladies that have been waiting for me, and just give them everything they needed and wished for such a long time. But for a girl I love, maybe. It’s open to interpretation.”

This is the end of “Getting Condoms With a Friend.”

Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone, and I hope that people that are having a little bit of the sex tonight have protection.