Writer’s Block

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Beatrice comes back in. ‘You don’t have to leave.’ CC Image courtesy of kuchingboy on Flickr

‘No, it’s fine,’ I say, reaching for my bag. ‘It’s only… I don’t know what to do!’

‘How did you leave it?’

‘He said he’d be in touch today, to arrange where to meet.’

‘Does he know where you are?’

‘I said I had a thing in Old Street til, like, 8.’

‘And you haven’t heard from him all day?’

‘No.’

‘Hmm.’

 

I should have learnt the first time. Or the second time. Or last night, when he rang…

‘So,’ he says, ‘I’ve ordered food for two, just in case.’

I laugh. We’ve been here before. I say no, he asks why, and I say I’d rather meet for the first time ‘not at one of our flats’.

‘So… bye?’ I say.

‘No!’ He steers the conversation in a different direction.

We leave it that the following evening, after my friend’s birthday party, we’ll meet for a drink. Somewhere public, though he does joke that he’ll book the whole place out.

*

Beatrice, one year older and definitely wiser, tells me what only good friends do. That I’m worth more than this. That he knew I was busy til 8 and he still hasn’t been in touch to make a plan. That I shouldn’t contact him.

 

Wednesday night. I’ve just got into bed. My phone buzzes into life. I recognise the number, partly because of our call history, partly because of the number of times I’ve deleted it from my phone. I let it ring out.

When he calls again, I do a quick Google and install the relevant app.

CC Image courtesy of ant.photos on Flickr

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No Reply

What I’ve Learnt From Tinder

28 Days Later


Little things

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CC Image courtesy of Pensiero on FlickrIt was such a little thing

When you came and sat beside me

But I felt safe

And quiet

And like I didn’t have to speak

You didn’t speak

At first

Only smiled

A small, secretive smile

And stole a glance

 

Your question

When it came

Was simple and kind

My mind a mess with yes and no

And everything in between

You could have made me feel small

And low

 

At the end of the evening

I went out onto the balcony

And found you there

Two empty chairs

I took the one to my left

And saw your mouth twitch

CC Image courtesy of NCM3 on Flickr

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The Eyes Have It

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CC Image courtesy of markhassize11feet on Flickr

As I arrive a girl is coming out. She seems to know me.

‘I’ve got a blind date,’ she says. ‘He just called to say he’s here, so I have to go!’

She tells me the back story.

‘This time last year,’ I say, ‘I went on a really good blind date, so… hopefully it’s a lucky time of year!’

I do talk crap sometimes.

‘Aaw yes, hopefully.’

We say an affectionate goodbye – I still have no idea who she is – and I make my way downstairs to the bar. So much for not remembering the significance of today’s date.

 

Several hours later…

I see him first in a group. We’re introduced and there’s a moment – eye contact, I think they call it – before the crowd separates us.

Later it brings us together.

‘Tristan,’ he says.

‘Hi. That’s an unusual name. I called a character in something I’m writing Tristan but I’ve never met one in real life.’

As opening gambits go, I’m pretty pleased with this one, even if it does raise some awkward questions…

‘You’re a writer?!’ he says.

‘Oh, well, sort of – it’s not my main job but I like to do it on the side.’

‘What sort of thing?’

‘Like… romantic comedy?’

‘Cool, so, what, short stories?’

‘More like vignettes.’

Vignettes. Nice. I should talk about writing more often while under the influence. I go on:

‘But hopefully they’ll turn into something more substantial at some point.’

Just like that, without me having to so much as lift a finger. Wouldn’t that be nice? Speaking of nice…

Tristan moves closer, his eyes still fixed on mine. ‘But you said it wasn’t your main thing. So, what is?’

However original the opener, it always comes back to that inevitable question. And, after we’ve parted company, he having said he’d like to talk more at so-and-so event in a few weeks’ time, that he’d like to read some of my stuff, that ‘we’ll… Facebook’ accompanied by typing gestures – after all that comes the inevitable truth…

‘I like Tristan. Is he single?’

The hostess looks apologetic. ‘He’s got a girlfriend, and she’s one of my best friends so I have to look out for her.’

I like the implication that if the girlfriend wasn’t one of her best friends Tristan would be fair game.

 

The next day I find myself on said girlfriend’s blog, trying to determine a) how long they’ve been together, and b) (and this is the more challenging part, read: total waste of time) how happy they are. It’s preferable to hanging out on Tristan’s Facebook profile. I hadn’t noticed straightaway on meeting him but now, faced with an album of stills, the resemblance is unmistakeable. Long face, square jaw, good teeth, full lips… everything is the same – eerily so – except the eyes which, instead of a clear bright blue, are dark brown. But that aside, Tristan, well… he’s just another Viable Prospect.

CC Image courtesy of Unfurled on Flickr

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Back To The Future

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CC Image courtesy of 96dpi on FlickrI’m sitting on the train, bound for a New Year’s Eve party, and for some reason I’m reading old texts from VP. I say ‘for some reason’; it’s probably because I know that tonight VP is just 11 miles away. On finding this out I did something I’ve never done before: alone, at home, I cracked open a bottle of Martini and had a drink.

So I’m reading old texts from VP, from the top. I’ve got as far as the one where I’m telling him about an evening I spent with Perky who incidentally I’m en route to meet before going together to the aforementioned party. Perky’s been a saint recently, fielding endless messages from yours truly containing scintillating bulletins such as:

Tinder tells me VP is in London.

It’s a wonder she hasn’t blocked my number.

So I’m sitting there, reading, when something happens. Something I’ve been hoping for ever since a certain conversation took place in early October but which I didn’t really believe would ever happen.

VP’s messages, six months old, are before my eyes, when up pops… a new message. And suddenly we’re back there: back to holding my phone like it’s a piece of fine bone china, so that I don’t accidentally hit the message bubble, open the window, allow the message to show as ‘read’ before the ink is dry on the page. Back to staring at my phone with the most ridiculous grin on my face, wondering what it means, what to do next.

‘It makes me angry,’ Perky says, when I tell her. ‘He still hasn’t done anything.’

Tell me about it.

And when Karl comes on to me around 2am at the party, I cut my losses and tell him too. He knows about VP, whereas my neighbour – the main reason I don’t feel entirely comfortable making out with Karl in the hallway, or anywhere for that matter – is as yet undisclosed information.

‘You’re the ball of wool,’ Karl says.

‘Huh?’

Even without the four glasses of prosecco coursing through my veins, I don’t think I’d catch his drift.

‘What do you mean?’

‘You’re the ball of wool, and he’s the kitten in this scenario.’

I know he’s right.

‘How do I not be the ball of wool?’

‘You have to not care.’

‘Hmm.’

Like that’s gonna happen.

CC Image courtesy of Alicakes* on Flickr

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Mr. Chips: Part II

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(Continued from Mr. Chips: Part I)CC Image courtesy of the green gables on Flickr

We’ve had probably two conversations over the course of the three-year period I’ve been living in my flat, excluding the sporadic texts he sends asking if he can use our parking space.

The first was walking between the electric gate and his front door, when he attempted to persuade me to attend the upcoming street party. The sociopath-recluse in me wanted nothing to do with it, but after three different neighbours took it upon themselves to ‘check’ I was going, I didn’t feel like I had a choice. The second conversation took place at the party itself. I can’t remember the details but I do remember him saying something a bit catty about the neighbours who hadn’t put in an appearance. I defended them on the grounds they might have other plans, or be tired – either way, weekends are precious, and it wasn’t for us to judge them. That speech, uncharacteristic on my part, must have gone down a treat.

I also remember being a bit dazzled by him. He could talk to anyone, which I find incredibly attractive, and seemed genuinely interested in what they had to say, which is rare. And because I was dazzled I put him in the category of ‘couldn’t possibly be interested’.

 

I smile. ‘Hey!’

I think I know his name, but I’m not 100% sure.

He asks where I’ve been, offers me a chip.

‘Is it organic?’ I say with a grin.

‘Organic, Fairtrade, you name it….’

We joke all the way to his door, and over the threshold.

CC Image courtesy of silentinfinite on Flickr

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