I scan the room. ‘Hmm.’
It’s a birthday drinks. I don’t drink, and I don’t like the birthday boy. And the guy I’m speaking to, I was
mildly obsessed with for about a year before he hooked up with my best friend – two days ago. So I’m having a whale of a time.
The only dating potential I’ve found so far is propping up the bar. He’s got a slight paunch – the mark of the mature student – and is wearing a t-shirt bearing the slogan ‘I love Cromer’. Get too close and he starts spouting poetry.
I’ve had enough of ‘elephant in the room’ conversation with smiling guy.
‘I’m gonna head. Goodnight.’
I do head, to the bar; I’m in the mood for a poem. Since we last spoke, Paunch has communed with a couple of beers, and I find him in high spirits. He might be gay – did I mention? – but he’s also frighteningly clever and well-read, and, well, you know what they say about opposites attracting.
Three missed Byron references later, I’m stammering out an apology/explanation, whilst he writes down, not his phone number, but a reading list. Yep. I leave the joint with the following prescription:
- Geoffrey Hill
- Kipling (not the cake – I checked)
- Some obscure poet