Sister Act

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CC Image courtesy of Indigo Skies Photography on FlickrI look up to see Tristan approaching.

‘Are you busy?’ he says.

I think of my post-holiday to-do list: twelve tasks and counting.

‘Err why?’

‘Could you witness the signing of a contract – if you’re not too busy?’

I glance in the direction of my boss.

‘Yes,’ I say, ‘that’s fine.’

I start to rise.

‘I’ll come and get you when my sister’s here,’ he says, ‘in about five minutes.’

‘Your sister? OK.’

 

I turn back to my computer screen. He could have asked any number of people: Tobias, Ryan, Harriet who sits opposite him…. I glance again at my boss, before bending to root around in my bag for a tube of lip gloss. Lucky I put on make-up this morning. It wouldn’t do to look sleep-deprived when meeting my future sis– oh for fuck’s sake. Frowning, I focus on the screen.

The minutes slip by.

I’ll say something really daft probably, offend her. ‘Hi!’ and a smile. That’s safe. I can’t say ‘I’ve heard so much about you’, because I haven’t really. I must remember not to say her name.

It’s definitely been more than five minutes.

I mutter words under my breath, looking for the best phrase for an email. This is good. I should be working when she sees me for the first time.

More like ten.

He rounds the corner. ‘Don’t worry,’ he says, ‘it’s fine. Harriet witnessed it.’

‘Oh, OK.’

He walks away.

I really need to get over this.

CC Image courtesy of HooverStreetStudios on Flickr

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No Reply

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CC Image courtesy of Iain Farrell on FlickrBeatrice and I laugh.

I’ve just told her that, with Tom proving to be flakier than dandruff, Viable Prospect is starting to look like a ‘safe haven’.

‘I’m laughing,’ she says, ‘but we both know…’

‘I know.’

‘What did he say?’

‘He said, “Anna. How goes? Sor–”.’

‘Oh for fuck’s sake,’ she cuts in. ‘”How goes?” Argh. You know anything the guy says is gonna make me angry.’

In contrast to how I felt when his message came through.

I was sitting at the kitchen table, trying not to look at my phone, hoping for a message from Tom (yes, that’s a legitimate activity for a Tuesday night). It didn’t occur to me that the message from an unknown number might be VP resurfacing. It even took me a moment to recognise his photo.

‘And I felt… nothing.’

‘That’s a really big thing,’ Beatrice says.

‘What do you mean?’

‘Well, think how far you’ve come. I mean, would you have reacted like that two months ago?’

‘I suppose not.’

I wouldn’t have contemplated not replying either.

CC Image courtesy of jcbwalsh on Flickr
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Hard To Find

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4858397745_fed336e4beBored of hiya, hey! and every other variation in the book, I decide to take matters into my own hands. I did it once before and depending on how you look at it, the outcome was pretty damn good. I went on the best dates of my life, laughed a lot and discovered what is now my favourite band. All of which would never have happened if I hadn’t… listened to Beatrice.

So I do a repeat: I send short messages to attractive prospects on Tinder and OkCupid written in the spirit of the kinds of messages I would like to receive. No heys, hiyas or how are yous (don’t care). And if they don’t reply in kind, I leave it.

Which is how, one Wednesday night, I come to be swapping messages with an attractive, witty lawyer who bears more than a passing resemblance to Karl and Neighboursomeone’s got a type. He also has a similar response time to my arch-nemesis, but like I said he’s attractive, witty and has a job, so what can you expect?

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Fade In

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CC Image courtesy of distopiandreamgirl on Flickr

After two weeks of not having heard from VP I’m finally starting to move on. No more waking up and glancing at my phone expectantly. I go whole days without looking at his profile or re-reading old messages. OK there might be the odd cry on the Northern line, and for ten consecutive evenings I do absolutely nothing with myself, and the irony of baking an elaborate cake on the day which happens to be his birthday isn’t entirely lost on me. But by day fourteen, I’m getting back on track. I even go on a date and resist the urge to compare it to the incomparable. That, I tell myself, was another life. A fantasy. And anyway, he’s gone. I have to get over it.

 

Monday morning. My flatmate is back from holiday and the creak of the bathroom floor wakes me. I put out my arm, a beam of sunlight catching the dial of my watch. Half an hour before I have to get up.

 

This was one of the things which, in the course of the past week, had gone back to normal. The Nytol I’d purchased circa Second Date was now gathering dust on the bedside table. In fact, things had gone to the other extreme: bed by ten and multiple snoozed alarms. An extra half hour of sleep would be enjoyed, luxuriated in.

 

I roll over and that’s when I see it, the small pulsating light. I run through a short mental list of people it might be, and an even shorter list of people it won’t, and swipe the screen.

(TO BE CONTINUED

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Wasted

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CC Image courtesy of francisco_osorio on FlickrThe Master of Ceremonies is wearing what looks like a high-end bin-liner.  ‘Turn to the person next to you,’ he says, ‘and share a story with the theme ‘Wasted’.’

‘I’m glad I’m next to the wall,’ I say, laughing.

Karl isn’t going to let me off the hook.  He goes first, with a story about how he wasted four months of his life working for an estate agents called Foxtons.  In that time he worked like a dog, to the point that he would get home to his girlfriend and be too tired to have sex.  ‘She used to beg me,’ he says, eyes wide with wonder, ‘but I just couldn’t!’  He shakes his head.  ‘It was such a waste.’

Now it’s my turn.  On reading the event description for the evening, I’d run a quick scan of the memory files for any relevant anecdotes.  Lately the saying ‘you regret the things you don’t do’ had been preying on my mind.  In Forget Me Not, the woman asks, ‘Any regrets?’  ‘Maybe,’ the guy says.  It’s a poignant moment.  Regrets, I realised, are something I never want to have and I don’t have many.  But there’s one I can’t seem to shake.  There it is, a wasted opportunity which fills me with feelings of regret.  It’s a trivial story, barely a story at all, but once lodged in my head, I can’t shift it.  And so, when Bin Liner invites us to share, it’s the only one that springs to mind.  I take a deep breath.

‘I should’ve gone to the ball at which I would have met the man I should marry but I didn’t because the guy who invited me I was still getting over and now the guy I should marry is going out with someone else….’

I said it was trivial, pathetic even.

Karl cuts in, ‘How do you know he’s the guy you should marry?’

I frown.  ‘Sorry?’

‘How do you know he’s the guy you should marry?’

I don’t, but the question is just annoying.  I mean, of course he’s the guy I should marry.

‘Because, when we did meet-.’

‘So you did meet him?’

‘Yes, we worked together…’

And if you’d let me finish the ruddy story, you’d have found this out!

‘… and we just got on really well.’

To the point that I was left in no doubt that he was the man I should marry.  Honestly, details.

‘But if you had met, you might have gone out together, and found it didn’t work.  I mean, you meet, you become lovers, and then you get to know each other, and then, if it works, it might become a relationship, but not necessarily.  More often than not, it doesn’t work.’

‘True.  But, well, I think it would work.  But anyway, now he’s got a girlfriend.  It’s such a waste.’

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