For the 300th issue of Recommended Reading, which happens to fall on Valentine’s Day, we opened submissions to your 300-word stories of love and heartbreak. Every day this week, we’ll publish two of our favorites from the nearly 500 submissions we received, along with contributions from three greats of flash fiction, Lydia Davis, Amelia Gray, and Kathy Fish. (Check out Vol. 2, Vol. 3, Vol. 4, and Vol. 5.)We think of this special five-part issue as a love letter to the thousands of writers who have submitted to Recommended Reading, and the hundreds of thousands who have read our magazine over the past five and a half years. Thank you for sticking with us, and cheers to 300 more. —Halimah Marcus
Shit Boyfriends Say
“i love you”
By Kathy Fish
this jealousy of yours is a problem you need to love yourself more you need to have more self-confidence I’m super attracted to confident women I have a lot of women friends she wrote to me really upset and I helped her out don’t you want me to be the kind of man who helps women out okay so I’m the bad guy here and you’re perfect right I love you but you’re not being reasonable you’re being a little crazy are you on your period what did your friends say about me do you believe your friends over me I’m being 100% honest with you here you went online to find bad things about me I just like to join websites under assumed names and follow women around I’m kind and interested in their lives does that make me a predator now I admit I used to ask women for pictures oh that email with my photo that I accidentally forwarded to you was an old email address I don’t know what happened technology am I right well it was just the kind of dumb thing drunk people do wait now you’re bringing up that woman again the one who claimed she and I were involved she’s crazy it was one long email exchange late at night talking about boring stuff life kids dogs we talked for three hours and she sent me pictures but I certainly didn’t ask for them and suddenly she thinks we’re involved jesus christ she’s crazy she took it wrong you shouldn’t believe her that’s always happening to me I guess I need to be more careful I wish you weren’t so insecure I wish you could be more forgiving I’ve forgiven you many times for your jealousy which is still a problem
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