Spreading Love | Teen Ink

Spreading Love MAG

April 28, 2008
By Emily Xia BRONZE, Warren, New Jersey
Emily Xia BRONZE, Warren, New Jersey
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

It is night in March, and the sun has set. February would probably be more appropriate for this, but when you get ideas on February twenty-fifth and they require as much effort to ­implement as this one does, well then, February isn’t really an option.

Pierre was drunk when he came up with the idea. He admits it proudly. No shame whatsoever – what’s there to be ashamed of? He’s legal; it’s well known that one is most innovative when inebriated, and it’s not like he had to drive. It’s Paris, and students in Paris don’t drive. “Driving,” Pierre says, “is for the overweight denizens of suburban America, with their gas-guzzling, Kyoto Protocol-violating SUVs.” Paris is the city of love, the greatest city in the world – obviously it must have decent public transportation. Jean-Luc is less loud about the idea, like he is about most things, but he admits that Pierre does come up with decent ideas once in a while.

So now, at 5:30 on a chilly March night, they are setting up on the sidewalk. To their left is a brightly lit ­family restaurant. It isn’t entertaining many patrons, this being a Thursday night. To their right is a boutique that’s already shut for the night and isn’t ­entertaining any patrons at all. Before them is the street; behind them is an ­alley. It’s as good a place to start as any.

Jean-Luc fiddles with the computer, watching it trace curves and figure eights while he straps a kitchen sponge on his right knee to match the one on his left. He reexamines the sponges on his elbows, flicks his helmet for luck, and plops down onto the sidewalk. They have ­already hosed it down and dumped soap on it, so instead of simply falling to the ground and wincing at the impact, he slides along the concrete.

Pierre does the same. They are slipping and rolling and dancing in the street – it’s like breakdancing, but any fun flippy moves are out of the question due to all the soap on the ground and Jean-Luc’s hand-eye coordination, or lack thereof. Instead he is reduced to a – not in any way comical! – scrambling motion, like he’s trying to stand up but not quite succeeding.

And it is then, exactly then, that the foreign students arrive. They are ­accompanied by three middle-aged women, probably their teachers. There are, Jean-Luc guesses, maybe 20 of them. All seem to be female. He imagines they are staring. He knows they’re giggling and chattering in English about the crazy French guys rolling around on the ground.

Any audience, however, is better than none.

He finishes with a squatting pivot around his left foot that makes odd scraping noises, and stands up. He glances at the ground where he’d been shuffling a moment before. Their ­bodies have pushed and prodded the clusters of soap bubbles, crushed and streaked them across the sidewalk in arcing vectors, looping around, seemingly purposeless, but all intercon­nected. They look beautiful, at least.

Pierre is holding his hands up, looking for all the world like an alien. We come in peace. There are ­actually a few boys among the mass of schoolgirls, Jean-Luc notes.

“Do you have a moment?” Pierre asks the group. Some frown without understanding, some stare blankly, some stand on tiptoe ­because they can’t hear. One of the older women says yes. This is Jean-Luc’s cue.

He picks up a clean sponge, exactly like the ones strapped to his joints. Slowly, carefully, he walks toward the students. There is one girl standing near the front, almost sideways. He starts rubbing the sponge on her back. She stands still for a moment, and Jean-Luc thinks, Yes, this might work! A second passes, two, three … and then she shifts, inching to the right. Jean-Luc can see he’s not wanted. It’s a failure.

He tries again.

This time it is a shorter girl, who only comes up to the first girl’s shoulder. Jean-Luc reaches out, and the easiest target is her face. He rubs the sponge against her face, but not like how he’d scrub a dirty counter. Instead he rubs it gently, like –

“No!” one of the women yells in French. “Not her face!” Whereas there had been an almost reverent silence, now a murmur begins snaking through the mass of students, showing in gossip and whispers.

“But can’t you see what we’re ­doing?” Pierre pleads. “We’re using sponges to pass love through the city! It is a grand project! We will all be connected by sponges!” Jean-Luc demonstrates, rubbing his arm mercilessly with the sponge, forging intangible bonds of love. He can see them, connecting him, connecting the two girls who received his treatment.

“No.” The woman stands her ground. “Not her face. She has an ­infection.”

“We are spreading love! Love cares naught for infections!” Jean-Luc demonstrates, stuffing the sponge into his mouth hungrily. He is willing to make contact with infections – only quarantine is harmful. It creates fear, separates people. He sees the students cringe away.

“Don’t touch the children.”

“Well then, obviously it’s not working! We should love each other, don’t you see?”

“Don’t touch the children.”

Pierre throws his hands into the air. “Come on, Jean-Luc,” he says. “We’re leaving.”

Jean-Luc eyes the woman. This looks like it will be harder than they thought. He packs up the sponges, ­piling them on the cart with his laptop. As he and Pierre walk away, the laptop plays “Tristan und Isolde.” Pierre is a fan.

And they are off now, spreading love with sponges.

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This article has 81 comments.

on Jul. 10 2010 at 9:37 pm
fictionlover10 SILVER, Scottsdale, Arizona
6 articles 0 photos 59 comments
This was a good piece! It was cool you added in the girl with the infection- it really struck me that now the men are off spreading "love" when really they're infecting the people of Paris. Good job!

Curly_Sue said...
on Jul. 10 2010 at 3:23 pm
Curly_Sue, Sand Springs, Oklahoma
0 articles 0 photos 75 comments
this is a very good idea but it's really wierd

on Jun. 18 2010 at 2:38 pm
livsinthecity SILVER, Toronto, Ontario
6 articles 13 photos 40 comments

Favorite Quote:
Love means never having to say you are sorry.
-Erich Segal (in Love Story)

this is good...plz see mine in poetry section too

yetya101 said...
on May. 27 2010 at 7:32 pm
This is a really great story..... wish i could write like this

agypup BRONZE said...
on May. 27 2010 at 6:57 pm
agypup BRONZE, York, Maine
3 articles 0 photos 17 comments

Favorite Quote:
1.Stallions are like protectors, Mares are like caregivers, Foals are like birds flying free in the sky.
2. The arabian stallion is so magnificent, the mare quite glamorous, but the airy-fairy foal just steals your heart away!

btw how do u comee up with ideas?


agypup BRONZE said...
on May. 27 2010 at 6:56 pm
agypup BRONZE, York, Maine
3 articles 0 photos 17 comments

Favorite Quote:
1.Stallions are like protectors, Mares are like caregivers, Foals are like birds flying free in the sky.
2. The arabian stallion is so magnificent, the mare quite glamorous, but the airy-fairy foal just steals your heart away!

my b-day is february 25th!!! hehe

on May. 27 2010 at 5:28 pm
olympian-queen, Charleston, South Carolina
0 articles 0 photos 39 comments

Favorite Quote:
Yesterday is history. Tommorrow is a mystery. And today? Today is a gift that's why they call it the present.

beginning starts off VERY slow. im not saying jump straight into the action--i'm just saying don't add unwanted words because the reader wil become BORED! i litterally didn't finish because it lost the "interest" factor from the beginning.

on May. 27 2010 at 3:40 pm
maddielissa BRONZE, Wildwood, Missouri
1 article 0 photos 4 comments

Favorite Quote:
"It has been my experience that nothing changes a person’s life more than the discovery of one solitary truth: There is a meaning and purpose to life. More specifically: There is a meaning and purpose to your life."

this is really good!! 

- if anyone could check out some stories on my account (:

on May. 5 2010 at 3:06 pm
awesomeaugust GOLD, Boston, Massachusetts
10 articles 0 photos 176 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Keep your eyes on the stars and your feet on the ground"
~Theordore Roosevelt

What a crazy, wacky, and wonderful idea! I sometimes have ideas for stories but I think, "No, that would be too difficult to write down without making it sound crazy." Now I realize that this isn't neccesarily true! Keep writing!

Dilemma GOLD said...
on Apr. 17 2010 at 12:42 pm
Dilemma GOLD, Allstn, New Hampshire
11 articles 0 photos 4 comments
Absolutly amazing! I love ideas like that. I love people like that. They are just so fun and wako. They make the world go 'round. They spread the love!

on Apr. 13 2010 at 12:59 pm
I love this. It is so witty, true, and life-like. I hope you can get somewhere with it. Good luck and keep writting!

on Apr. 13 2010 at 10:37 am
live.create16 GOLD, Dedham, Maine
11 articles 4 photos 23 comments

Favorite Quote:
Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead.
- Louisa May Alcott.

i really like this :]

on Mar. 22 2010 at 6:59 pm
SilverLuna SILVER, _________, Washington
8 articles 0 photos 229 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Come fairies take me out of this dull world, for I would ride with you upon the wind and dance upon the mountains like a flame.".... W.B. Yeats.
"Flying is learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss." - Douglas Adams

I think this is a really good piece because it is so "out-there." It's somewhat hard to comprehend but the main idea is still there and it's different. It implies a much deeper meaning then when someone jsut says "I love you." I liked this alot, maybe you could read some of mine too?

mkgirl395 GOLD said...
on Mar. 22 2010 at 5:13 pm
mkgirl395 GOLD, Coppell, Texas
10 articles 0 photos 51 comments

Favorite Quote:
"My friend, let's not think of tomorrow, but let's enjoy this fleeting moment of life."
-Omar Kyyam

I agree Kennisld, this narration threw me off. It's an interesting idea- all you have to do is sprinkle some more detail onto it. This story was a bit too vague. That's what makes it interesting, its vagueness, but just be careful with how much you have. I do love that idea- how did you come up with it? Were you once a foreign exchange student, or did you just read about this somewhere? Anyway, this was quite intriguing. Just change the narration and add more detail. Then you're good to go!

on Feb. 28 2010 at 6:43 pm
Dandelion PLATINUM, Franklin, Massachusetts
20 articles 8 photos 173 comments
My first thought when I saw the title to this piece was, "Oh, just some other cliche love story." However, the "MAG" icon caught my eye, and I am glad I read the article. It is anything but cliche! :D

on Feb. 28 2010 at 12:06 pm
xLoVeLyCuTiEe428x PLATINUM, Nanuet, New York
24 articles 0 photos 102 comments

Favorite Quote:
"To me, Fearless is not the absense of fear. It's not being completely unafraid. To me, Fearless is having fears. Fearless is having doubts. Lots of them. To me, Fearless is living in spite of those things that scare you to death."
— Taylor Swift

I really like it. It's a little confusing, but after rereading it, I found it really well-written and a nice story.

acc13a GOLD said...
on Feb. 28 2010 at 10:28 am
acc13a GOLD, Chicago, Illinois
12 articles 3 photos 20 comments
overall its good, but pretty confusing...i must be missing something

on Feb. 6 2010 at 9:26 pm
slightlymad BRONZE, Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania
1 article 0 photos 12 comments

Favorite Quote:
“I can't dislike you, but I will say this to you: you haven't got long before you are all going to kill yourselves, because you are all crazy. And you can project it back at me ... but I am only what lives inside each and every one of you.”

Is there a continuation. Pretty good but makes no sense. :)

on Feb. 6 2010 at 6:22 pm
Audrea15 PLATINUM, Murphysboro, Illinois
25 articles 0 photos 15 comments

Favorite Quote:
Everybody wants happiness. Nobody wants pain. But you cant have a rainbow. Without a little rain.

Lovely please please check out my stuff

Bliss SILVER said...
on Feb. 6 2010 at 5:23 pm
Bliss SILVER, Poland, Ohio
8 articles 0 photos 18 comments
cool story