Contest #132 shortlist ⭐️

32 comments

Romance Drama

The first time we spoke about God was on a park bench in Munich. I was drinking lemon ice tea and you showed me how your dad used to pray. My dad, I explained, would not even let me watch Christmas movies as a child, as he worried the ‘religious message’ would corrupt my mind and make me join a cult. You laughed.


Later that day we walked back to my place. My apartment was a mess; blankets and cups and pizza crust all floating in a purple hue from the sun setting over the rooftops across the street. You hung your jacket over a dining chair and let your eyes linger on my many newspapers and article scraps, all cluttering the kitchen table. My lighter, the old one that barely worked, was lying on a pile of books. As you picked it up and flicked it, I asked myself if this was such a good idea. Earlier you had told me all about the commandments and the scripture and the rules and the food and the blessings and I had gotten lost somewhere between my prejudices and the thought of premarital intimacy. The last thing I wanted to do was to push you or make you feel unsafe. Still, as that weak flame danced right in front of your eyes, my doubt got lost in the thought of your hands in my hair, the sheets moving slowly beneath us, my fingers down your lower back…

“Would you like to stay the night?”, I asked without thinking, immediately regretting it and feeling both embarrassed and frightened, as if the sound of my own voice had awakened me violently from a dream. I anxiously looked at you, trying to think of something to say to not make you pick up your jacket and leave.

“Well…”, I began, “Maybe…”.

You fiddled with the lighter for a few more seconds before putting back down on the books.

“Yes”, you smiled and looked up, confidently, “I would like that very much”.  



The second time we spoke about God was a sunny afternoon in March. The air outside was cold and dry, and softened to a kind chill when it trickled through the window. You kneeled on our living room carpet. I had a latte.


“What does God look like?”, I asked you when you stood back up.

“How would I know?”, you laughed and picked up your watch from the coffee table. Before sitting down next to me you glanced back at the carpet “It’s not a skype-meeting”.

We sat in silence for a moment. I rested my head on your shoulder.

“What about your God?” you said, softly.

As I chuckled I lifted my empty cup in a small wave; “Does caffeine count?”

You shook your head, pretending to be disappointed.


It amazes me, now when I look at us from the future, how our worlds never collided. Yours, with the God and the book and the carpet and the kneeling was spinning neatly, almost politely, right next to mine. I saw you pray and read and contemplate. Never did I ask you not to. Never did you ask me to join. I know we could have done it differently, if we so desired. I would have worshiped any being you deemed worthy, and you would have left any path I considered unsound. Our worlds could have shattered as they met, the fragments creating new rooms, new clutter, new carpets and new newspaper scraps.


“The divine is beyond looks, I believe”, you said, as you put your arm around me, “As far as looks goes, it is his creation we should stare at and admire”. You sighed and leaned backwards, as if you planned to fall asleep there on the sofa.

“I agree”, I said, looking at you. 



The last time we spoke about God was in a hospital room. The walls were in an odd beige color, and the curtains were yellow. You sat on the bed with your sleeves rolled up, looking around with tired, but curious, eyes. The sick, feverish feeling of waiting hung in the air. You did not seem to notice it half as much as I did.

“Yellow is my favorite color”, you said, nodding towards the window.

“Huh”, I answered “I never knew”.


There were flies buzzing somewhere. It annoyed me. I got up and out in the corridor to get us some water. When I came back, you were laying down looking at the ceiling in deep thought.

I put down the glasses on the bedside table and sat down in the plastic chair next to it.

“In heaven there are rivers of milk and honey”, you said, your voice sounding distant, as if you were speaking to me from a windy place far away, “Did you know that?”.

“I’ve heard about it”, I shrugged, “Sounds uncomfortable to swim in”.

You laughed, “I assume so”.

There was a moment of silence. The only thing I heard were the flies, and an engine starting somewhere in the parking lot outside.

“Are you going to be there someday?”, you asked, turning your head to look at me.

“Where?” 

“By the uncomfortable rivers? With me?” 

I could not help but smile. You returned it, and for many seconds, you looked just like you had done four years ago, on a park bench in Munich, explaining to me how your dad would make sure the entire street was fed and happy before sitting down for grace.

“I suppose they do let some people in on good behavior”, I said, grinning.

Your eyes wandered back to the ceiling. The wind blew back into your voice.

“They must”. 



God came to visit me last night. I went to bed early without having dinner, keeping all my clothes on as I lied down on top of the cover, and suddenly he was just there. At first I got really happy, because standing in the shadow behind my open bedroom door, the light from the lamppost outside barely landing upon his face, he looked a lot like you.


February 11, 2022 22:02

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32 comments

K. Antonio
15:12 Feb 18, 2022

I loved how this story began. It gave me artsy, New York city vibes. I think you captured a really interesting romance, and I love how religion was a theme that permeated throughout. I had read this piece earlier in the week and I just thought it would end up doing really well against the mountain of other submitted stories. Good job and CONGRATZ!

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Oma S. Ari
16:04 Feb 18, 2022

Thank you! This comment means a lot. I was sort of worried, since I am not 100% in English and still decided to make it difficult for myself and go with past perfect (googling thousand different versions of "had awakened"). But I am really happy it turned out okay, and that people seemed to like it! Thank you!

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Shea West
12:22 Feb 18, 2022

This story was nuanced in a way that had me sorting through the smallest details to unveil bigger meanings. The cheeky way they say that some get let in on good behavior is sweet and also an attempt between these two to say, where your go I'll follow. Welcome to Reedsy 😍

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Oma S. Ari
13:04 Feb 18, 2022

Thank you Shea! This is such a kind comment. I am so happy you enjoyed the story. ❤

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Shea West
15:32 Feb 18, 2022

Way to go with your shortlist😍😍😍

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Oma S. Ari
16:05 Feb 18, 2022

🥰🥰❤

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Kathleen Fine
15:19 Feb 18, 2022

Great story and it has a poetic feel to it! I love your style!

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Oma S. Ari
16:05 Feb 18, 2022

Thank you so much Kathleen! I really like your work!

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Kasey Cooper
22:12 Feb 16, 2022

Very lovely story. I loved the more poetic notes.

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Oma S. Ari
10:10 Feb 18, 2022

Thank you so much Kasey! Writing short stories is completely new to me. And I still haven't learned how to do story telling in such short span of time and words. So I just... go for tools I would use when writing a poem instead. As a poet yourself, maybe you have some advice on how to write stories without falling completely into the well of poetry? Because sometimes I worry my writing sounds a little pretentious and silly, when I want it to be down to earth and concrete.

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15:16 Feb 16, 2022

I don't think yellow is her favorite color, Oma, but I like how she so cleverly made it one. You don't just tell us she's sick. We discover that small yet important part by ourselves because of how neatly the feelings are placed. I like the sort of relationship they developed about religion and God in such a short span. She believes in another world—heaven—and he does not. Yet both are contented in that knowledge and love each other and that's beautiful. It is a short piece but it's just brilliant and well written. Good job!

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Oma S. Ari
10:06 Feb 18, 2022

Thank you so much for this comment. It made me really happy! I think it's interesting to explore how differences in faith or ideology can be transformed by others. Even if people say they stand on opposite sides, time and love slowly makes them come closer, even if it's only noticeable in hindsight. In the end, the "I" sees the "you"s God everywhere, even if "I" never believed. Thank you so much again!

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Ella Australia
18:34 Feb 15, 2022

A star is born!! Amazing piece Oma.

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Oma S. Ari
18:36 Feb 15, 2022

This is so sweet. I am happy you liked it!

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Jannah Sandy
14:34 Feb 14, 2022

I was absolutely blown away by this story. It is one of the shorter ones I've read and still it's so powerful. I can feel the sorrow and love. This is art.

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Oma S. Ari
16:28 Feb 15, 2022

Thank you Jannah. That means a lot.

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Ada Ossi
09:45 Apr 11, 2022

Great story! I love how religion is a theme as many writers don't capture that in their romance novels. It's short but amazing. Love it!

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13:46 Feb 28, 2022

What a sweet story.

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Neyli Ranathunga
20:39 Feb 22, 2022

The best story ever lots of meaning to it.

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Oma S. Ari
13:21 Feb 23, 2022

Thank you so much Neyli! I am super happy you liked it!!❤

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Amanda Lieser
15:29 Feb 21, 2022

Oh my gosh! This story was such a beautiful first submission. I really love how you captured the different beliefs and the tragic twist at the end. It felt very reminiscent of “A Walk to Remember,” which is one of my all time favorite stories. I love how you created the time line and explained each step that the characters took together. Thank you for writing this piece. It was a well deserved short list! Congratulations! If you have a moment, please consider reading my latest submission, “The Tumbleweed” because I am always eager for feedba...

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Oma S. Ari
09:07 Feb 22, 2022

Thank you so, so much Amanda, for your kind words. I am so happy you liked it! I am really looking forward to read your work, I am heading to your profile now! Sending hugs!

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Philip Ebuluofor
17:04 Feb 19, 2022

I think I am somehow the narrator in really life. Fine work.

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Oma S. Ari
09:05 Feb 22, 2022

Thank you Philip! I am so happy it came across that way! Sending love!

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Philip Ebuluofor
09:04 Feb 26, 2022

Welcome.

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Kate Winchester
17:03 Feb 19, 2022

Congrats on the shortlist! Well deserved!

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Oma S. Ari
09:05 Feb 22, 2022

Thank you so much, Kate!

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Kate Winchester
13:36 Feb 22, 2022

Welcome! ☺️

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J.C. Lovero
17:00 Feb 19, 2022

Great story Oma. It was an easy read, and I really liked the dialogue. Congrats on being shortlisted!

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Oma S. Ari
09:06 Feb 22, 2022

Thank you! This comment made me so happy :)

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Suma Jayachandar
03:37 Feb 19, 2022

What a wonderful work of art! Congratulations!!

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Oma S. Ari
14:48 Feb 19, 2022

Thank you so much Suma! ❤

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