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The World is Round (a nonfiction short story)

Being a romance writer at heart, I am fascinated by the inner workings of relationships, intimacy, and the greatest of these, love and its definition and application.

Not shockingly, I wrote my love story in a short nonfiction piece. And in the spirit of Valentine's weekend (and as a prequel to an entry about dating/relationships), I would love to share it with you, dear readers.

Happy reading!

The World is Round

by Katherine Kwiatek

December 26, 2018

“What are your intentions with my daughter?” my dad asks Michael.

Michael and I are sitting on the couch, mom and dad in the chairs adjacent.

This was it. The moment of truth.

“When I first moved from California,” Michael started, “your daughter was the first person to talk to me.”

I wondered why he was telling this story. I mean that was the night I first heard God say Michael was the one, but Michael didn’t know that.

“She invited me to play Jailbreak,” he said. “After the game, she got up on stage to worship. A few minutes into worshipping, I heard God say, “You’re going to marry her.” I was in a rebellious stage, so I dated the next girl I saw. But through everything, Katherine and I have come back to one another. No matter what arguments or disagreements we went through, we came back. And now, I just know it’s time.”

We got mom and dad’s blessing.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

September 8, 2019

“Did it,” I text Michael.

“Did what?” he says.

“Talked to Mrs. Teixeira,” I say. She’s Michael’s aunt.

“Yea? What did she say?”

“She said she’d be happy to work with me,” I say. “She actually looked for a grant writer before at the school near them but couldn’t find one.”

“Look at that,” he says.

“God’s timing.”

“It’s amazing. Isn’t she nice?” he asks.

“She’s so nice!” I say. “I really like her. She and your mom sound sort of similar—the way they talk—tone, certain stops and pauses. It made me feel more comfortable.”

“Haha, I knew you would like my family,” he says.

“I love your family!” I say with a heart-eyes emoji.

“You’re going to work soon right?” I ask.

“No.”

“Your schedule confuses me,” I say and add a laughing emoji.

“But,” he says, “I’m watching Friends if the love of my life would like to join me.”

I blush and turn into myself. This is the first time he’s called me that. Sure, he’s said “I love you,” but this is different, deeper, more all-space-and-time consuming.

Sorry, but this is kind of a big deal! So. Don’t judge me for getting emotional over a text.

Okay? Okay.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

December 26, 2019

It feels like we’ve never not been this way. In love.

Both of us were back for a few weeks to see our families in Wilmington, and we were taking today to celebrate our one-year mark.

In the Whole Foods parking lot in Raleigh, NC, Michael kneels down to put ice in the cooler. We’d just bout a fantastic feast for the double feature drive-in movie we are on our way to see. I stood watching, waiting to help with whatever he might need.

“Oh my gosh,” a lady says behind him as she climbs out of her red Toyota. “I thought you were proposing!”

We laugh.

“Don’t give her any ideas,” he says joking.

I can’t stop laughing about it.

“I mean it could be romantic,” I say. “Proposing in a parking lot.”

“How could that be romantic?” Michael asks.

“Just because of how random it is,” I say.

Maybe it’s just me, but anywhere, anytime would be romantic. It would be a dream. All I want is as many more years as I can have loving him and being loved by him. I want eighty more years of drive-in movies, grocery shopping, road trips, a million more stories that haven’t been told.

Yeah, all I want is all of him.

Unsanitary crowded airports with crying children and running businessmen would be as romantic a place for a proposal from him as on the white cliffs of Grease or rolling hills of California or sunrise on Wrightsville beach or in the very spot we first met or had our first date.

I know it sounds like I’m blowing smoke, but it’s the truth.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

November 5, 2018

I look it up: lovesick. And I’m both “in love, missing the person [I] love so much that [I am] unable to act normally” and lovelorn, “unhappy because of unrequited love”.

This is how my body and brain react to the guy I’ve hated and loved three years legitimately asking me out: stomach won’t settle, can’t eat, feel like I’m going to vomit half the time, hide it from the world, analyze, overthink, over feel, come up with a million questions.

Why? Why? Why now? Is this a trick? Is this payback? Is he still in love with her? Am I just his rebound? Is he using me? What are the expectations going into this? How do I act cool when I’m freaking out? If he wants to, how do I kiss? Is it pathetic that I YouTube the answer to that question at 19 years old? What kind of conversation are we going to have? What is he planning? Is he even attracted to me? If I have to ask that, should I even be going out with him? Am I going to mess this up? Is this a mess-up? God, what a mess. I’m such a mess!

I need to call him and talk through this. I can’t call him. What am I thinking! But it might be the only thing that just barely pulls me up from my precarious position dangling off sanity’s cliff-like edge. Jesus help me.

“Who calls in the morning?” I think. “Better yet, who asks for the guy’s schedule? Frick. I’m going to scare him off. He’s going to think I’m obsessive and clingy. Ah! I’m an idiot!”

He knows me—knows me better than most because he can read me like a Walmart clerk’s scanner reading a barcode. Nothing I feel is unknown to him or too difficult for him to interpret.

Thoughts are a little trickier, but he still sees through my skull sometimes. My soul—that is, the collective part of me including mind, will, and emotions—is no match for this guy.

My spirit, however, the part of me that’s one with the Holy Spirit, with God, it can call his bluff and make him blush, perhaps even challenge him.

“You have to write this story,” my gut tells me, “regardless of the ending, if for nothing else than to relieve the pressure of your soul against your body’s walls.” Whether happily ever after, heartbreak, or changeless and flat—think the world before the discovery that it is, in fact, round—recording the experience, this experience, is necessary.


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