by Elizabeth Kate Switaj

Before they ever spoke, Linda and Meg had sat next to each other in the cramped lecture hall for three weeks, their thighs touching, while Dr. Laurens showed slides of ancient Japanese art. Meg's eyes never left the screen, but Linda glanced at her as often as she dared. Meg sometimes mentioned visiting museums when she was teaching in Japan, so she must have taken time off from school after her BA, but there were no white strands in her black hair.

At the end of class, Linda invited Meg over to her apartment. —My roommates and I have a weekly DVD night.

—I'm pretty busy. I'm not sure I can. What are you watching?

—Lost in Translation

—Then no. I hate that movie.

Linda flushed and pulled her purse to her chest. —I thought you'd like it since it's about foreigners in Japan and . . .

—No, it's about rich white people whining about how hard their lives are. Japan's a backdrop.

—I . . . didn't realize . . .

—The girl goes to a Buddhist temple and then gets upset because she didn't feel anything, but why should she? She's not Buddhist

—I haven't seen it before. Um, I'll see you tomorrow?

Meg nodded. The next day she sat in her usual spot, but Linda sat in the last row.