Writers (in order): Esosa Zuwa, Xinyi Chi, Keiss Chan, Najia Sultana, kaylee n, Lyra Thompson, Zolund Lee, Christian Cervantes, Lee M, Sol, M.S., J.C. Castle, Sadie Hicks, Langston Wu, Amann S. Mahajan, Anaya Sandeep, Camille Holliman, and Emerald Goldstein. Editor: Irene Tsen

<aside> 💡 This was a special 50th Prosetrain with a couple extra rules:


I noticed a cute boy, looking up at the sky during the Autumn Festival as tears ran down his cheeks. Maybe he had gotten into some kind of kerfuffle, a pushing of conflicts against each other. What was I thinking, trying to romanticize despair when I couldn’t figure mine out? I mean, the whole “falling in love with a stranger at a festival” was such a glorified trope, I knew I shouldn’t get my hopes up.

I finished my jam-filled pastry and moved closer to him in curiosity. The sky was speckled with dancing lanterns, accompanied by an orange moon. I basked in the beauty of the lights, but as much as I wanted to enjoy the rest of my food, he was still stuck in my mind. I thought of many crazy scenarios and what-ifs… All the while, the questions I had for him spun round and round in my mind like a merry-go-round, held back by my fear of asking them. Was I expecting him to get down on his knees with a quiver on his lips, hold out a primrose and call me his queen?

He turned around, and I was enchanted by the stars in his eyes. He was such an enigma to me that I mustered up the courage to ask him his name. We made eye contact and I had never really seen his face until now. He was so gorgeous, I was flabbergasted. I suddenly became self-conscious about my appearance. I cursed my genetics for giving me a huge nose and thin lips. (Not that my nose helped keep my sinuses clear.)

“Jason,” he answered, as I pushed my thoughts to the side. I thought about how my heart was crying out, wanting to know him a little more. I snapped back to attention, and he said, “What’s yours?” As the question was presented, my heart skipped a beat, eagerly trying to get formalities out of the way so I could indulge myself in his personality. With a bizarre name that stuns people as if it were a flying pig or UFO sighting, I swallowed and then told him: “Dansoft.”

I closed my eyes and waited, wondering what he would do, what he would say. I expected I'd be lucky to be let off with just a laugh. It felt like billions of seconds had passed by before he answered me. With every second, I wished I could go incognito, silently suppressing the urge to run and hide behind the Ferris wheel. And yet even through my admittedly abashed state, I couldn’t help but suppress the need to tell him everything about me. The good, the bad, and the truth that I was absolutely, hopelessly falling for him.

“Nice to meet you,” Jason said. And at that moment, I felt like a royal sprawled across a throne with the power of a million suns. I was soon robbed of my dreams of royalty and thrown back into the thoughts of the common land known as reality. How can one so flawed ever be paired with one of divine perfection? Besides, I was merely a young whippersnapper. What was I to know of love, of being worthy of love?

I was bamboozled with the mystery of love and desperation. He was all I craved that night; I glorified him into something so much more than a simple “Jason.” We continued talking until sunrise, eventually leaving the festival and taking a long, pleasant walk along the dark and quiet streets of the town, each passing moment serving as encouragement for me that this new adventure would play out the way I had imagined. And though I doubted myself the entire time, to this day I am so inexplicably thankful I asked him his name that night.

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