Our Agreement

Andrew Day’s short story, Our Agreement, appeared in NER 26.2:


Then one night she showed up alone, and sat down next to him, and said Hi, in English, in an accent he knew wasn’t Russian. By the time her friends came, he’d been talking to her for an hour. He was nice to them, her fellow language-school students, even the over-polite German guy whose heart she was obviously breaking. He bought them a couple of rounds of beers. She ignored the group. The few times they came in after that, they sat by themselves, and talked more quietly than before, without laughing so much.

Her drink hasn’t come. He motions to Yasha, who’s settling up with some guys at the other end of the bar. Yasha nods.

Last Friday, they were sitting right here, at just this time, 2:30, looking at one another in a way they’d grown accustomed to, at the ends of nights, a little drunk, giddy, knowing that in a few minutes they’d be in the back of a cab, kissing, as they sped through the nineteenth-century streets, and in ten minutes they’d wake the night watchman at her place, knocking on the grimy glass door with a ruble coin, giggling as he stumbled toward them to open up, and then they’d ride up in the rickety elevator, kissing some more, she stroking his neck and the close-cropped hair on the back of his head, his hands resting on the soft skin around her waist, and then they’d get to the top floor and go into her apartment and she’d drop her keys on the kitchen table and lead him to the living-room window, where they’d undress one another, slowly, still kissing, by the light of the moon, the sleeping city spread below them.

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