I Don't Know

August 4, 2017


At some dance party, I made friends with a girl from Magadan. By the end of the night, we were already kissing on the lips. We said goodbye and exchanged numbers. She called me and invited me out to another party. There we were kissing again, on the lips. It was intense. She turned down my invitation to my place. I called her the next day and invited her to meet up one on one.


She said: “Why do you want to spend money on restaurants? Let me take you to this rager. We can see each other there, and I’m saving you cash, see?”


At the party, she didn’t leave me for a second. We danced and kissed. But again she didn’t want to come over. I met up with her like that at five, maybe six house parties. We danced, ate, drank and kissed. And she doesn’t want to see me one on one. I’m going crazy. The music is loud at these parties, the drinks are free. I can’t talk to her for real!


Today I went to a Jewish theatre with my Mom to see a play in Yiddish. The girl heard about it, bought an expensive ticket, and came too. She came up to us during intermission, met my Mom, flattered her, kissed me very earnestly on the lips, then fled back to her seat. My Mom was astonished.


“Sasha! Why didn’t you tell me about her? Who is this nice Russian girl?”


I reply honestly, “I don’t know.”



Alex Galper was born in Kiev, Ukraine in 1971. He came to America in 1990 escaping draft to the Soviet Army. Alex graduated from Brooklyn College majoring in Creative Writing in 1996. He still writes in Russian and is well-known in Moscow and Saint Petersburg literary circles. Alex's short stories about living in New York appear regularly in major Russian newspapers. He works for New York Department of Social Services and does acting part-time. Alex had a small part in HBO miniseries “Show Me a Hero”. His poems and short stories were translated into English, Swedish, German, and Georgian. The above story was translated by his friend Jordan Lee Schnee.


I Don't Know is a Fiction War Magazine Open Call submission.
Please do not reproduce without permission from the author.
Originally published at fictionwar.com. Image credit:

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Fiction War Magazine is a quarterly independent literary journal published by Wolvesburrow Productions, Chicago.