|posted on 19-Apr-2002 7:28:32 AM by katy_mae|
|This is actually an email that I received a couple of days ago. It's a short story, and it was originally written by a guy named Kurt Vonnegut. I thought it was such a romantic story that I just changed the character's names to Max and Liz...|
Hope you guys enjoy it!
Disclaimer: I don't own anything! Not even the story!
Summary: Won't put one, cuz it would ruin it.
This is how I pictured Max in this story:
Long Walk to Forever
by Kurt Vonnegut
They had grown up next door to each other, on the
fringe of a city, near fields and woods and orchards,
within sight of a lovely bell tower that belonged to a
school for the blind.
Now they were twenty, had not seen each other for
nearly a year. There had always been playful,
comfortable warmth between them, but never any talk of
His name was Max. Her name was Liz. In the
early afternoon, Max knocked on Liz's front
Liz came to the door. She was carrying a fat,
glossy, magazine devoted entirely to brides. "Max!"
she said. She was surprised to see him.
"Could you come for a walk?" he said. He was a shy
person, even with Liz. He covered his shyness by
speaking absently, as though what really concerned him
were far away--as though he were a secret agent
pausing briefly on a mission between beautiful,
distant, and sinister points. This manner of speaking
had always been Max’s style, even in matters that
concerned him desperately.
"A walk?" said Liz.
"One foot in front of the other," said Max, "through
leaves, over bridges--"
"I had no idea you were in town," she said.
"Just this minute got in," he said.
"Still in the Army, I see," she said.
"Seven more months to go," he said. He was a private
first class in the Artillery. His uniform was rumpled.
His shoes were dusty. He needed a shave. He held out
his hand for the magazine. "Let's see the pretty
book," he said.
She gave it to him. "I'm getting married, Max," she
"I know," he said. "Let's go for a walk."
"I'm awfully busy, Max," she said. "The wedding is
only a week away."
"If we go for a walk," he said," it will make you
rosy. It will make you a rosy bride." He turned the
pages of the magazine. "A rosy bride like her--like
her--like her," he said, showing her rosy brides.
Liz turned rosy, thinking about rosy brides.
"That will be my present to Henry Stewart Chasens,"
said Max. "By taking you for a walk, I'll be giving
him a rosy bride."
"You know his name?" asked Liz.
"Mother wrote," he said. "From Pittsburg?"
"Yes," she said. "You'd like him."
"Maybe," he said.
"Can--can you come to the wedding, Max?" she said.
"That I doubt," he said.
"Your furlough isn't long enough?" she said.
"Furlough?" said Max. He was studying a two-page ad
for flat silver. "I'm not on furlough," he said.
"Oh?" she said.
"I'm what they call AWOL," said Max.
"Oh, Max! You're not!" she said.
"Sure I am," he said, still looking at the magazine.
"Why, Max?" she said.
"I had to find out what your silver pattern is," he
said. He read names of silver patterns from the
magazine. "Albemarle? Heather?" he said. "Legend?
Rambler Rose?" He looked up, smiled. "I plan to give
you and your husband a spoon," he said.
"Max, Max, tell me really," she said.
"I want to go for a walk," he said.
She wrung her hands in sisterly anguish. "Oh,
Max--you're fooling me about being AWOL," she said.
Max imitated a police siren softly, raised his
"Where--where from?" she said.
"Fort Bragg," he said.
"North Carolina?" she said.
"That's right," he said. "Near Fayetteville--where
Scarlet O'Hara went to school."
"How did you get here?"
He raised his thumb, jerked it in a hitchhike gesture.
"Two days," he said.
"Does your mother know?"
"I didn't come to see my mother," he said.
"Who did you come to see?"
"You," he said.
"Why me?" she said.
"Because I love you," he said. "Now can we take a
walk?" he said. "One foot in front of the
other--through leaves, over bridges--"
They were taking the walk now, were in a woods with a
brown-leaf floor. Liz was angry and rattled,
close to tears. "Max," she said, "this is absolutely
"How so?" asked Max.
"What a crazy time to tell me you love me," she said.
"You never talked that way before." She stopped
"Let's keep walking," he said.
"No," she said. "So far, no farther. I shouldn't have
come out with you at all," she said.
"You did. To get you out of the house," he said.
"If somebody walked in and heard you talking to me
that way, a week before the wedding--"
"What would they think?"
"They'd think you were crazy," she said.
"Why?" he said.
Liz took a deep breath, made a speech. "Let me
say that I'm deeply honored by this crazy thing you've
done," she said. "I can't believe you're really AWOL,
but maybe you are. I can't believe you really love me,
but maybe you do. But--"
"I do," said Max.
"Well, I'm deeply honored," said Liz, "and I'm
very fond of you as a friend, Max, extremely
fond--but it's just too late." She took a step away
from him. "You've never even kissed me," she said, and
she protected herself with her hands. "I don't mean
you should do it now. I just mean this is all so
unexpected. I haven't got the remotest idea how to
"Just walk some more," he said. "Have a nice time."
They started walking again.
"How did you expect me to react?" she said.
"How would I know what to expect?" he said. "I've
never done anything like this before."
"Did you think I would throw myself into your arms?"
"Maybe," he said.
"I'm sorry to disappoint you," she said.
"I'm not disappointed," he said. "I wasn't counting on
it. This is very nice, just walking."
Liz stopped again. "You know what happens next?"
"Nope," he said.
"We shake hands," she said. "We shake hands and part
friends," she said. "That's what happens next."
Max nodded. "All right," he said. "Remember me from
time to time. Remember how much I loved you."
Involuntarily, Liz burst into tears. She turned
her back to Max, looked into the infinite colonnade
of the woods.
"What does that mean?" asked Max.
"Rage!" said Liz. She clenched her hands. "You
had no right--"
"I had to find out," he said.
"If I'd loved you," she said, "I would have let you
know before now."
"You would?" he said.
"Yes," she said. She faced him, looked up at him, her
face quite red. "You would have known."
"You would have seen it," she said. "Women aren't very
clever at hiding it."
Max looked closely at Liz's face. To her
consternation, she realized that what she had said was
true, that a woman couldn't hide love.
Max was seeing love now. And he did what he had to
do. He kissed her.
"You're hell to get along with!" she said when Max
had let her go.
"I am?" said Max.
"You shouldn't have done that."
"You didn't like it?" he said.
"What did you expect?" she said--"wild, unbridled
"I keep telling you," he said. "I never know what's
going to happen next."
"We say good-bye," she said.
He frowned slightly. "All right," he said.
She made another speech. "I'm not sorry we kissed, "
she said. "That was sweet. We should have kissed,
we've been so close. I'll always remember you, Max,
and good luck."
"You too," he said.
"Thank you, Max."
"Thirty days," he said.
"What?" she said.
"Thirty days in the stockade," he said--"that's what
one kiss will cost me."
"I--I'm sorry," she said, "but I didn't ask you to go
"I know," he said.
"You certainly don't deserve any hero's reward for
doing something as foolish as that," she said.
"Must be nice to be a hero," said Max. "Is Henry
Stewart Chasens a hero?"
"He might be, if he got the chance," said Liz.
She noted uneasily that they had begun to walk again.
The farewell had been forgotten.
"You really love him?" said Max.
"Certainly I love him!" she said hotly. "I wouldn't
marry him if I didn't love him!"
"What's good about him?" said Max.
"Honestly!" she cried, stopping again. "Do you have
any idea how offensive you're being? Many, many, many
things are good about Henry! Yes," she said,"and many,
many many things are probably bad too. But that isn't
any of your business. I love Henry, and I don't have
to argue with you!"
"Sorry," said Max.
"Honestly!" said Max.
Max kissed her again. He kissed her again because she
wanted him to.
They were now in a large orchard.
"How did we get so far from home, Max?"
"One foot in front of the other--through leaves, over
bridges," said Max.
"They add up--the steps," she said.
Bells rang in the tower of the school for the blind
"School for the blind," said Max.
"School for the blind," said Liz. She shook her
head in drowsy wonder. "I've got to get back now," she
"Say goodbye," said Max.
"Every time I do," said Liz, "I seem to get
Max sat down on the close-cropped grass under an
apple tree. "Sit down," he said.
"No," she said.
"I won't touch you."
"I don't believe you." She sat under another tree,
twenty feet away from him. She closed her eyes.
"Dream of Henry Stewart Chasens," he said.
"What?" she said.
"Dream of your wonderful husband-to-be," he said.
"All right, I will," she said. She closed her eyes
tighter, caught glimpses of her husband-to-be.
The bees were humming in the trees, and Liz
almost fell asleep. When she opened her eyes she saw
that Max really was asleep.
He began to snore softly.
Liz let Max sleep for an hour, and while he
slept she adored him with all her heart.
The shadows of the apple trees grew to the east. The
bells in the tower of the school for the blind rang
"Chick-a-dee-dee-dee", went a chickadee.
Somewhere, far away, an automobile starter nagged and
failed, nagged and failed, fell still.
Liz came out from under her tree, knelt by Max.
"Max?" she said.
"H'm?" he said.
"Late," she said.
"Hello, Liz," he said.
"Hello, Max," she said.
"I love you."
"I know," she said.
"Too late," he said.
"Too late," she said.
He stood, stretched groaningly. "A very nice walk," he
"I thought so," she said.
"Part company here?" he said.
"I thought so," she said.
"Where will you go?"
"Hitch into town, turn myself in," he said.
"Good luck," she said.
"You, too," he said. "Marry me, Liz?"
"No," she said.
He smiled, stared at her hard for a moment, then
walked away quickly.
Liz watched him grow smaller in the long
perspective of shadows and trees, knew that if he
stopped and turned now, she would run to him. She
would have no choice.
Max did stop. He did turn. He did call. "Liz,"
She ran to him, put her arms around him, could not
I really don't need feedback cuz it's not my story. I just want to know what you guys think about it. So please put something.