We hadn’t seen William in at least two years when we went to pick him up at the train station, and we were killing time waiting for him by pointing out weird people we saw. I was doubled over with laughter having identified someone who looked exactly like William if he became a crazy, disheveled mathematician ten years from now when my friend Nicee gently touched my arm and said, “That is William.”

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Rating: 7.9/10 (13 votes cast)


Their country was in the throes of civil war when his wife received an irresistible job offer in America, and so he followed her and watched the years unfold on her steadily increasing rank and wealth. In time, their children became successful doctors in New York and LA, and still he couldn’t convince himself that they wouldn’t all have been better off staying in the country of his birth.

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She had always found the botanical gardens incredibly boring. But on her first date with the botanist, he ran around throwing his nose into the best-smelling flowers and guiding her hands over strange-feeling bark; and it was a whole other world.

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Rating: 7.3/10 (12 votes cast)

The Exchange Student

Her friend had traveled a long way to visit but the school refused to allow her to bring any guests to class.

He tagged along anyway, and she  introduced him as a foreign exchange student to all of her teachers, while he nodded awkwardly and pieced together broken English which was, in fact, his native tongue.

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Rating: 8.0/10 (10 votes cast)


His parents sent him to a Christian boarding school against his will. When the boys next door held their weekly bible study, he would play Ani DiFranco at top volume, usually putting a song with gratuitous cursing like “Untouchable Face” on repeat.

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Rating: 2.6/10 (5 votes cast)

Urban Escape

The city girl spent exactly 12.5 hours at the agriturismo before making her apologies to the owner, checking out early, and catching the first bus to Rome. It was a salvation to step onto the metro, to make her way through the bustling crowds at the station, and to fall asleep listening to a cacophony of sounds beneath her window.

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Rating: 5.1/10 (7 votes cast)