Friend first, wingman second: A short story from a vintage SFU photo

PC: Photo: Vancouver Sun (1975) 

What do you think SFU students were doing on campus 40, 50 years ago? In honour of National Novel Writing Month and inspired by the New York Time’s segment ‘Past Tense,’ The Peak asked writers to spin short stories based off of archival photos of SFU. Real photos. Fictional stories. All written by SFU students. 

 

Friend first, wingman second — WY

From afar, the two looked picturesque, sitting back to back with their books. What students didn’t see though was that Andie’s book was upside down, and James had been reading the same paragraph for 10 minutes now. The two were lounging by the pond that day for one thing and one thing only — hotties. Well, one hottie in particular in Andie’s case.

“You know, some people would find it creepy you memorized some guy’s schedule,” James sighed, flipping a page as his gaze stayed steady on the crowd. 

“It’s romantic! And thoughtful,” Andie shot back.“Besides, when Teddy sees me here, putting the hot in thoughtful—” 

“Definitely not how you spell thoughtful. And also! It’s a gorgeous day out, can’t we just relax and take in the view . . .” James trailed off.

Andie turned and followed James’ gaze to one of the sweaty figures running across the pond. Jet black hair. Lean. A baby face. Typical. 

“You know, David would be pissed to know you’re checking out other guys,” Andie said, turning to smile wryly at him. James shrugged noncommittally, gazing down. Andie’s brows knit in concern. Something was up.

“Hey, you doing OK? You seem off,” Andie said.

James let out a breath and swiveled his torso to face his friend.

“Well, now that you mention it, I—” 

“Shit! I thought she got out of class in the mornings, fuck, oh Lord, smite me, smite me,” Andie mumbled to herself, shielding her face with her book (which thankfully was right side up at this point).

James looked at her, confused. He followed his friend’s gaze until he zeroed in on what she was focusing on, his face dropping. Shit, indeed.

The friends watched in stunned silence as two women walked by, their hands laced together. The blonde, aka Andie’s ex, threw her head back in laughter and promptly kissed the unknown woman’s cheek. From the corner of his eye, James could see Andie’s face drop at the sight. Once the couple breezed across the pond, far from their sight, Andie let out a sigh of relief. 

“Well, her new girl definitely isn’t as pretty as you?” he offered. 

“You’re so lucky you have David, James. Being single is a nightmare,” she groaned. James winced. He might as well tell her now.  

“Actually,” James began,  “I didn’t say earlier but David and I—” 

“Like it’s so hard being the only single one in our group, y’know?” Andie lamented. James pursed his lips in annoyance but pressed on. 

“Well, funny story about tha—” 

“And like I just wonder, is love even in the cards for me, y’know? I—oh my gosh.” 

 She started swatting at him furiously.

“Ow, what’re you— OW, what’re you doing?” James asked. Andie continued to push against him, her gaze steady on a distant figure. 

“Teddy got out of class early! You need to go! Hide in the bush or something, what if Teddy thinks we’re together?” she urged. 

James let out an exasperated sigh. “Andie, this sounds like a you problem, I’m not moving.”

“Jesus, James, not all of us have a perfect fucking boyfriend. You have no idea what it’s like being single,” Andie snapped. 

James whipped around to face her and shot back with, “What boyfriend? David just dumped me!”

Andie’s arms ceased swatting, her arms limp at her sides. Her eyes softened.

“James . . . I-I didn’t know—”

“Well yeah, you didn’t ask,” James snapped, gaze downward. Andie pursed her lips, unsure of what to say. 

“I’m sorry,” she said in a small voice. James sighed in response and rubbed the back of his neck in response. The silence stretched on between them. 

“Am I interrupting something?” A new voice asked.

The two turned to swivel to look at the new figure. Shit. Teddy. 

Andie scrambled to her feet, flipping her hair.

“Teddy! Oh my gosh, so funny running into you here,” she smiled, just a tad strained.

“Yeah, I just got outta class,” he replied. His eyes surveyed Andie, his eyes lingering on her torso. James inwardly recoiled — straight men were as subtle as a brick to the face. 

Teddy ran his fingers through his greasy hair and shot a grin to Andie. ‘Here it comes,’ James thought. “So this is random but I was going to grab some coffee in the AQ, would you wanna join me?” He grinned. 

James looked over to Andie who looked absolutely starstruck. He sighed. They’d talk about this tomorrow, James figured as he bent over to pick up his neglected book.  James began planning his commute home. He could catch the 144, hopefully it would be empty enough so he could curl up at the back of the bus. Did he still have that bottle of wine in his fridge? Was it a red or a white? Either way, it was going to be a lo—

“Actually Teddy, I’ve got plans,” Andie said.

James turned to his friend, confused. All Andie did in response was link her arm with his and gave him a wink.

“Really? With who?” Teddy asked, his brows furrowed.

James felt a smile growing on his face and squeezed Andie’s arm in response; he already knew the answer.