Monday, September 28

Making My Bed

AT THE LAST minute I cancelled my plans, which, as they involved someone else, gave me just cause to feel like a terrible person, a demon of magnitude, bringing disappointment & sad Saturday nights to all whom he encounters, or not, as emotion would dictate. It was in that spirit that I went out walking. Another weekend in the shadow of myself only. Hmm, yes, I could have gone through with the plans, but the prospect was not to my liking and I did not want to share my space, my finite property, my floor with any other soul.
Kieran ordered a bottle of water. I ordered a cappuccino. I rolled a cigarette and the sun bounced behind clouds, the tack of S—s lingering over & over in the smug, the unnoticed grace of an aeroplane overhead.
‘You’re not gonna admit it, are you?’ he said.
I paused over the admission—‘She was supposed to come over today… But I’m fucked-up and told her no and now she hates me.’
He smiled—‘This ain’t the outback, fella, you got to keep the Sheilas happy. Take the lass to the movies, then a veggie meal.’
I laughed. I wound in my laugh and sipped my coffee. It might be said that I am too proud to ever explicitly ask for advice, to come right out and request that someone help me out, offer some helpful words over the shutter sounds of a profitable café.
‘Fuck that shit, I have to keep myself happy before any bird.’
A lady arose from vapour and asked if she might use one of our spare chairs.
‘Remember,’ he said—‘She has OCD issues… It takes a lot for her to connect with someone and let them in.’
He knew more about her than I thought he did. What did he know? What had she revealed? I knew she held him in high regard. His manner undressed one so that they felt compelled to expose more than they would otherwise be comfortable with.
‘But I don’t foresee it going anywhere, so I don’t want to lead her on… She says I won’t but I know that shit don’t work like that.’
‘She’s a cracking lass and she still sees the good in people, and if she’s into you then you are on to a winner. Just take it one day at a time.’
Leaving the flat might have been an oversight, yet I cannot stay in; it sends me insane, climbing the walls and staring out the window with dribble slithering out my mouth. Keiran reclined in the chair, spreading out, taking up the table and over around it, his quiet eyes keeping a lookout for god-knows-what. They had sprinkled chocolate on top of the foam; a gross mistake; I made sure not to get any on my lips or in my whiskers.
‘Yes, I agree, but’—I held a finger in the air—‘I’m still fucked up over my ex, and’—another finger—‘You can’t make yourself feel something for someone when it’s just not there.’
He nodded. He spread out further on the café floor. ‘I hear that, I hear that…’ His large fingers began fiddling with an empty sugar packet, the paper packing against his prints, being curled and uncurling itself on the table before us, between us. ‘Relationships can drain the fuck out of a man… I tell you something… Women pick men… If she approached you, then that took a lot for her to do that.’ He picked up the curled empty sugar packet from the table, curled it up between his thumb and middle-finger. The empty sugar packet slowly uncurled. ‘No one’s saying forget your past lovers, as they’re in your life forever… But if a pretty lady makes you aware that she is into you, see where it goes, as we’re only here for a short while, comrade.’
I was leaning forward, nursing the drink, pushing some thoughts out of my mind and trying to hold on to the others—‘But I don’t feel it with her… With past girls, they drive me crazy and after I’ve been with them I can’t stop thinking about them, but not with her.’ My ex appeared in my mind, the pale-skinned ghost at the feast—‘Life is too short, yes, but it’s also too short to settle, and it’d be unfair of me to continue with her when I know she’s not what I want.’
He did this thing with his lips. I sensed him give up, or, I do not know, but he said not one more thing. The café was emptying out. He was finished with his tea and I with my coffee. He did not say another word to me. I was not sure what that meant. Strangely, I felt as though, even in the company of another, I had been left alone with the thoughts of my history.

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