Yet, what is there to say to someone you don’t know at all? Nothing, or everything.

From Talking to Strangers

Short story

Published at The Irish Literary Review

How is it that we can feel distant from friends and close to strangers? Nate met Christina at a college debate competition. It was lunchtime, and they were sitting together at a table with other students from the Boston area discussing international politics.

“Elections in Latin America are always so screwed up,” said a boy wearing thick glasses.

“Have you ever been to Latin America?” asked a sallow-faced girl.

The boy admitted that he hadn’t.

“Then you shouldn’t judge what you don’t know,” the pale girl said.

Christina set her fork down loudly. She said, “We always have to judge what we don’t fully know.”

Her words were still ringing in Nate’s ears five hours later as he stepped up the stage amidst the applause for winning the singles division. It gave him the courage to ask Christina for her phone number.

“How about an address?” she said. “You could write me a letter.”