“How Love Happens” — a short story by Brian Greene

May 6th, 2019

 

.

.

 “How Love Happens,” a short story by Brian Greene, was a finalist in our recently concluded 50th Short Fiction Contest. It is published with the permission of the author.

.

.

.

 

.

How Love Happens

by

Brian Greene

.

___

.

 

 

…..On my second date with Samantha, I told her, “We shouldn’t fall for each other.”

…..Samantha was a hostess at a seafood restaurant in my hometown. I worked there as a waiter for the summer season, after my second year away at college. Samantha had also just finished her first year of college, at a local school. She was from the area, and a year younger than me.

…..As a hostess, Samantha constantly sat customers in sections that were closed, or gave one wait person three parties in a row while others on duty stood around without any customers at all. Upon realizing her blunders, she ran around and, in a heartfelt way, apologized to all concerned and set out to correct her errors.

…..Samantha talked loudly and flailed her body a lot. She looked you straight in the eye when she spoke to you, and gave her full attention to the conversation.  A few times, I overheard other female members of the staff making fun of Samantha, calling her a “spazz” and a “ditz.” She’d made it clear she had no interest in being accepted into their cliques.

…..Samantha’s uninhibited gestures, and her sometimes out-of-place loud laughter, could either put you off or make you notice her wavy blond hair, bright green eyes, nice figure, and smooth, olive-colored skin. After we’d been working together for a month or so, she told me that she was adopted, didn’t know who her birth parents were, and wasn’t particularly close with the couple who raised her and in whose home she still lived.

…..As I set into my summer that year, all I wanted was a couple months of relative ease. Going to the beach, earning some pocket money and finding fun ways to spend it, hanging out with old friends, spending quality time with my mom and enjoying the comforts of home, etc. I didn’t want to get emotionally involved in anything during my summer break.

…..But the more I worked with Samantha, the more I kept drifting up to the hostess stand to chat with her if I had a little downtime. All the dining room staffing schedules were posted to a bulletin board in the restaurant’s break room. Sometimes I swapped shifts with another wait person, to ensure I worked at the same times as Samantha. Once, when I was behind with my customers on a hectic dinner shift, as I stood at a wait station, furiously gathering items for my parties, I felt a hand slowly caress my back and neck. I knew it was Samantha, before I turned around to face the person who’d been touching me. She said, “You’re doing fine.” I said, “Now I am.”

…..Later that night, when I was about to settle up with my last table for the shift, Samantha approached me and, with her usual exaggerated smile, said, “Will you take me out to get fries after work?” When I nodded, she did a loud cheer and hugged me tight, drawing attention from customers and our co-workers.

…..Our first date went well, and the second one was heading that way. But I was thinking about my last two romantic relationships, both of which ended painfully. And I was thinking about August, when I’d have to leave the area. I looked into Samantha’s goofy/pretty green eyes and told her we shouldn’t fall for each other.

…..She crinkled her nose, shook her head wildly so that her blond hair flew around, put her hands on my shoulders, stared intently into my eyes, and said, “You can’t plan how love happens.”

.

___

.

 

.

Brian Greene writes short stories, personal essays, and pieces on books, music, and film. His work has appeared in 30 publications since 2008. Greene lives in Durham, North Carolina with his wife, their two daughters, and two cats. He’s on Twitter @greenes_circles and his writing blog can be reached by clicking here: http://briangreenewriter.blogspot.com/

 

.

.

Details about our 51st Short Fiction Contest

.

.

.

Share this:

Comment on this article:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

In this Issue

A Collection of Jazz Poetry – Spring, 2020 Edition There are many good and often powerful poems within this collection, one that has the potential for changing the shape of a reader’s universe during an impossibly trying time, particularly if the reader has a love of music. 33 poets from all over the globe contribute 47 poems. Expect to read of love, loss, memoir, worship, freedom, heartbreak and hope – all collected here, in the heart of this unsettling spring. (Featuring the art of Martel Chapman)

Interview

photo by Fred Price
Bob Hecht and Grover Sales host a previously unpublished 1985 interview with the late, great jazz saxophonist Lee Konitz, who talks about Miles, Kenton, Ornette, Tristano, and the art of improvisation...

Features

Red Meditation by James Brewer
Creative artists and citizens of note respond to the question, "During this time of social distancing and isolation at home, what are examples of the music you are listening to, the books you are reading, and/or the television or films you are viewing?”

Book Excerpt

In the introduction to Dave Brubeck: A Life in Time – the author Philip Clark writes about the origins of the book, and his interest in shining a light on how Brubeck, “thoughtful and sensitive as he was, had been changed as a musician and as a man by the troubled times through which he lived and during which he produced such optimistic, life-enhancing art.”

Interview

NBC Radio-photo by Ray Lee Jackson / Public domain
In a Jerry Jazz Musician interview, acclaimed biographer James Kaplan (Frank: The Voice and Sinatra: The Chairman) talks about his book, Irving Berlin: New York Genius, and Berlin's unparalleled musical career and business success, his intense sense of family and patriotism during a complex and evolving time, and the artist's permanent cultural significance.

Book Excerpt

In the introduction to Maria Golia’s Ornette Coleman: The Territory and the Adventure – excerpted here in its entirety – the author takes the reader through the four phases of the brilliant musician’s career her book focuses on.

Art

Art by Charles Ingham
Charles Ingham’s “Jazz Narratives” connect time, place, and subject in a way that ultimately allows the viewer a unique way of experiencing jazz history. Volume 7 of the narratives are “Torn from Its Moorings", "Watching the Sea" and "Plantations" (featuring west coast stories of Ornette Coleman and Billie Holiday)

Interview

Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, Carl Van Vechten Collection
Richard Crawford’s Summertime: George Gershwin’s Life in Music is a rich, detailed and rewarding musical biography that describes Gershwin's work throughout every stage of his career. In a Jerry Jazz Musician interview, Crawford discusses his book and the man he has described as a “fresh voice of the Jazz Age” who “challenged Americans to rethink their assumptions about composition and performance, nationalism, cultural hierarchy, and the racial divide.”

Jazz History Quiz #138

photo by William Gottlieb/Library of Congress
Shortly following their famed 1938 Carnegie Hall performance, Benny Goodman’s drummer Gene Krupa left the band to start his own. Who replaced Krupa?

Interview

photo unattributed/ Public domain
In a Jerry Jazz Musician interview with The Letters of Cole Porter co-author Dominic McHugh, he explains that “several of the big biographical tropes that we associate with Porter are either modified or contested by the letters,” and that “when you put together these letters, and add our quite extensive commentary between the letters, it creates a different picture of him.” Mr. McHugh discusses his book, and what the letters reveal about the life – in-and-out of music – of Cole Porter.

Book Excerpt

The introduction to John Burnside's The Music of Time: Poetry in the Twentieth Century – excerpted here in its entirety with the gracious consent of Princeton University Press – is the author's fascinating observation concerning the idea of how poets respond to what the Russian poet Osip Mandelstam called “the noise of time,” weaving it into a kind of music.

Short Fiction

photo Creative Commons CC0
Short Fiction Contest-winning story #53 — “Market & Fifth, San Francisco, 1986,” by Paul Perilli

Photography

photo by Veryl Oakland
In this edition of photographs and stories from Veryl Oakland’s book Jazz in Available Light, Frank Morgan, Michel Petrucciani/Charles Lloyd, and Emily Remler are featured

Poetry

photo Bret Stewart/Wikimedia Commons
“Afterwards — For the Spring, 2020” — a poem by Alan Yount

Book Excerpt

A ten page excerpt from The Letters of Cole Porter by Cliff Eisen and Dominic McHugh that features correspondence in the time frame of June to August, 1953, including those Porter had with George Byron (the man who married Jerome Kern’s widow), fellow writer Abe Burrows, Noel Coward, his secretary Madeline P. Smith, close friend Sam Stark, and his lawyer John Wharton.

Interview

photo by William Gottlieb/Library of Congress
Con Chapman, author of Rabbit's Blues: The Life and Music of Johnny Hodges discusses the great Ellington saxophonist

Humor

photo by William Gottlieb/Library of Congress
"Louis Armstrong on the Moon," by Dig Wayne

Book Excerpt

This story, excerpted from Irving Berlin: New York Genius by James Kaplan, describes how Berlin came to write his first major hit song, “Alexander’s Ragtime Band,” and speaks to its historic musical and cultural significance.

Pressed for All Time

In this edition, producer Tom Dowd talks with Pressed for All Time: Producing the Great Jazz Albums author Michael Jarrett about the genesis of Herbie Mann’s 1969 recording, Memphis Underground, and the executives and musicians involved

Interview

photo by Bouna Ndaiye
Interview with Gerald Horne, author of Jazz and Justice: Racism and the Political Economy of the Music

Great Encounters

photo of Sidney Bechet by William Gottlieb/Library of Congress
In this edition of "Great Encounters," Con Chapman, author of Rabbit’s Blues: The Life and Music of Johnny Hodges, writes about Hodges’ early musical training, and the first meeting he had with Sidney Bechet, the influential and legendary reed player who Hodges called “tops in my book.”

Poetry

The winter collection of poetry offers readers a look at the culture of jazz music through the imaginative writings of its 32 contributors. Within these 41 poems, writers express their deep connection to the music – and those who play it – in their own inventive and often philosophical language that communicates much, but especially love, sentiment, struggle, loss, and joy.

“What are 4 or 5 of your all-time favorite Blue Note albums?”

"What are 4 or 5 of your all-time favorite Blue Note albums?"
Dianne Reeves, Nate Chinen, Gary Giddins, Michael Cuscuna, Eliane Elias and Ashley Kahn are among the 12 writers, musicians, and music executives who list and write about their favorite Blue Note albums

In the Previous Issue

Interviews with three outstanding, acclaimed writers and scholars who discuss their books on Irving Berlin, George Gershwin, and Cole Porter, and their subjects’ lives in and out of music. These interviews – which each include photos and several full-length songs – provide readers easy access to an entertaining and enlightening learning experience about these three giants of American popular music.

In an Earlier Issue

photo by Carol Friedman
“The Jazz Photography Issue” features an interview with today’s most eminent jazz portrait photographer Carol Friedman, news from Michael Cuscuna about newly released Francis Wolff photos, as well as archived interviews with William Gottlieb, Herman Leonard, Lee Tanner, a piece on Milt Hinton, a new edition of photos from Veryl Oakland, and much more…

Contributing writers

Site Archive