Water and Oil, A Writing Arts Major’s Short Story

Nina Pantaleone walking along a pathway, surrounded by trees.

In honor of National Book Month we feature this short story, an original work by an aspiring student author at Rowan University

Nina Pantaleone, a sophomore writing arts major with a minor in romance from Marlton, NJ (Burlington County), shares her passion for writing with us by creating a short story featuring a sapphic relationship …

She was the love of my life.  No, everyone says that.  Besides, she was the love of everyone’s lives.

I can’t imagine life without her.  Dumb, considering the circumstances.

I see her in every speck of sunshine, every grain of rice.  No, that’s just cheesy.  Show some respect, Zoey!  Just write from the heart and let it flow…

Natasha and I were polar opposites, but somehow we made the perfect match.  I always thought the whole “opposites attract” thing was stupid, but now I completely understand it.  Our story of how we got together is one I tell at every party, and she used to blush and tuck herself into my arm as soon as someone brought it up.   

We were in the same biology class in college. I remember she caught my eye on the first day of class, sitting in the front of the room wearing those thick, purple-rimmed, goofy-looking glasses.  I sat right next to her to get a chance to talk to her at some point. After a bit, it became clear that I would have to make the first move and introduce myself.  One day, I did build up the courage to say hi.  The conversation was very short, let’s put it that way.  

Nina Pantaleone sitting outside Rowan's  Business Hall.

I had a feeling that if I could break her out of her shell, she’d be the most wonderful friend.  I was wrong only because she became more than just a friend to me.  She quickly became my whole world.  

I remember how she admired the fact that I was left-handed and always stared at my hand as I wrote out lab notes.  She’d laugh when I brought my hand up from the page, and there’d be a huge ink blob on the side of my pinkie.  Natasha was the kind of person who always appreciated the little things in life.  She always stopped to smell the flowers.  

We became lab partners in class, so I guess you could say that our first one-on-one hangout was to do a lab report.  We spent more time dilly-dallying than actually doing our assignment.  It was also a struggle to figure out whether our project should be a slideshow with straight facts or an “interpretive dance.”  Spoiler alert: I caved, and the interpretive dance won.  We “acted out” how water and oil react when they come in contact.  Natasha and I would touch hands and then float away from each other.  It was stupid and childish but an excuse to make physical contact with her.  I fell in love with her that night.

I sat back in my desk chair.  It was raining outside.  Natasha always loved the rain and how it smelled outside after a storm.  Tear spots had stained the paper while I was writing, but I hadn’t even noticed.  I figured I’d write the ending later.  I kept putting it off because coming to a conclusion felt like I was cutting Natasha’s story short.  

Nina Pantaleone sitting on a rock with a tree and a lake behind her.

I glanced over at the framed picture of Natasha on my desk from our graduation day.  She had posed so elegantly in her graduation cap and gown that day when we both got our degrees.  Natasha smiled at me from where the frame sat in the top right corner, angled towards me so I could look at her and miss her all over again, no matter what time of the day it was.  I remember the moment the picture was taken so vividly because I was the photographer. 

Returning to the page in front of me, with my pinkie ink-stained, I folded it up and slid it into my front pocket.  

It was the best and only eulogy I’d ever written. 

Like what you see?


Written by: Nina Pantaleone, sophomore writing arts major with a minor in romance

Story edited by: Valentina Giannattasio, junior dance and marketing double major

Facebook Comments Box