Close and Adrift

She blushed slightly, taken off guard.

“Oh, er, she says her name’s Kathryn and er,” I stumbled out the other relevant bits in a hurry, feeling extremely ridiculous.

Sarah smiled at us quizzically, and nodded. “Fine, that’s great.”

Kathryn beamed at me, gratefully. I felt a surge of pride at my rarest moment of quick thinking.

The class passed amiably and even though we didn’t get to do any real work, I still felt refreshed and in anticipation for the next lesson, where we would really be getting down to the fun stuff. As I twisted my key in the lock, shoving the door open, I chuckled, thinking about how the notepad had fallen off the desk twice in the class. It seemed that we were the only ones who’d found it amusing. I was glad Kathryn had attached herself to me. I felt somehow privileged. If I was honest, that was another reason why I was looking forward to the next lesson.

“Hey man, how’s it going?” I dumped my satchel next to the sofa and walked over to the fridge, looking for something to cook up. Simon sat hunched at the table in our small dining area, greedily spooning up the rest of his cereal. 

“Yeah, great. Tiring day at work but we’ve just finished off a major project, so it should be pretty mellow tomorrow. You’ve just been to that art class, right? Any hot chicks?” He grinned lopsidedly like he always did at any mention of women, and dumped his bowl in the sink, which was beginning to mount up with dirtied crockery. He opened the cupboard and pulled out a tartan tin, and began munching a custard cream as he walked over to the fridge.

I chuckled. “Oh yeah, it was really fun! And well, I suppose you could say some of them were hot but... I don’t think they were really your type.”

“Every girl is my type, mate. Hey, I got a date with Marsell from work. You know, the secretary across the floor from me that I was telling you about?” I couldn’t say I remembered.

“Oh?”

“Oh yeeeeah.” He flipped open a can of his beer with a flourish, and took a sip. “Tuesday night. Down at Murphy’s. Safe!”

“Well, that’s great man! Hope that goes well.”

“Are you kiddin’ me? It’s gonna go smoother than Lewis Hamilton round Silverstone. Know what I mean?” He nudged my arm and I made a vague noise of agreement as he chuckled heartily.

He flopped down on the sofa and punched the remote in the direction of the television. “You’re watching the match right?”

“Erm, nah I’m good. I think I’ll just turn in actually.”

“What, man! I thought we were gonna chill out and watch this!” He twisted around to meet my gaze, waiting for my reply, as I put my ready meal in the microwave. “And you were supposed to get pizza as well! You know I’ve been looking forward to this for ages.” Although he’d turned back to the screen, I could hear the disappointment in his voice. I remembered being all pumped for it the other day and I was going to buy pizza on the way home. I’d been so pre-occupied with thinking about the class that it’d totally slipped my mind.

“Well you could have texted me to remind me. I just forgot.” I replied. Too late I realised my haste to defend myself.

“Well I didn’t think you’d forget!” The hum of the microwave filled the tense air.

 “Look, don’t worry. I’ll ask Paul round instead.” I could tell he was slightly offended but I knew watching the game wouldn’t really patch things up. Besides, I didn’t think I could have faced 90 minutes of something I didn’t really feel like watching anyway. I should have felt bad but instead I just wandered into my room and shut the door, as Simon began talking on his mobile. I just wanted to sleep. Sometimes I was really on a different wavelength to him. We’d been the closest mates at college, always doing things together and picking up the girls, going out every night. But now, I wasn’t so into that anymore; whilst he was still stuck in his teenage mindset, living for the moment and racking up a debt doing frivolous things, I’d got myself an office job and preferred nights in. Some may call me old-fashioned and boring but we weren’t exactly teenagers anymore - we were both in our late twenties. Ah, who was I kidding - I was boring! Perhaps being a sensible guy was what I‘d fooled myself into thinking was a good thing, but it wasn’t necessarily the right thing. I sighed and flopped onto the bed and a surge of sadness washed over me like seawater covering my toes, as I wondered again what it would be like to have a sister or brother or parents who loved me. Uncle Alan wasn’t exactly a shoulder to cry on. I needed someone that I got on with; someone I could go to when I was feeling down. Well, I knew dwelling on it wouldn’t help. No point in getting morbid. I pulled out my guitar from its case and began playing, soon pushing all those rather depressing thoughts from my mind and worked busily on a pleasant melody. Feeling much better, I decided to think about more positive things whilst drifting off, like the look on Kathryn’s face after I rescued her introduction, for example.

The End

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