She goes out for a walk

    I decided to take positive action. I was feeling idle, sluggish and unfit. Maybe a bike ride? I jumped up, full of go-getter zest or so I hoped, managing to upset a pile of magazines that slid onto the carpet, stubbing my toe in the process on the leg of the coffee table.

    "Ow!" I said and hopped about, clutching my foot in the time-honored fashion.

    The bike had a flat. I took this as a sign that I should walk. If I couldn't manage it safely across a room how did I expect to dodge the traffic on my rusty old bike? Walking was best. Maybe a jog? not a jog. My desire for exercise didn't extend quite that far. I only had one biscuit after all. What's one biscuit?

    I brushed some crumbs off my T-shirt, took one quick depressing glance in the mirror, fiddled with my hair, despaired, and headed out.

    My cash-flow being at an all-time low, shopping was not inspiring. I don't know how it is with you, but I only ever see stuff I like when I'm reduced to scrabbling for small change down the back of the couch. The rare times when I have funds I can never find anything I would buy even to outfit my detestable little sister. It was awful in there anyway, stifling and filled with glassy-eyed and desperate bargain-hunters. Within fifteen minutes I had a thumping headache and was hyperventilating.

    Coffee! I thought. I need coffee and a muffin!

    I started to grope frantically for the exit, pushing through groups of shoppers who seemed determined to stand between me and sanity, and leaving swathes of outraged people in my wake.

    The mezzanine level, which was where I emerged, was relatively quiet and empty. I breathed a sigh of relief and made for my favorite coffee-shop to drown myself in whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles.

    I was standing in the queue, wavering between either a white-chocolate and cherry or a toffee muffin, when someone nudged my elbow.


    I knew that voice. I fixed a smile on my face.

    "Oh, hi Paul," I said.

    "Can I join you?" he asked.

    "Yeah, sure," I said, thinking oh god please no!

    "A group of us are going to the cinema," he said, once we'd got our orders and sat down. "I'm early to meet up because my dad dropped me."

    Yeah, I thought, on your head when you were a baby. "Cool," I said. "What movie?"

    "We're going to decide when we get there. You know, see what's there, you know," he said smugly, as if this somehow made it more cool. It doesn't; it just means no one agrees and you end up going to see the one no one really wants to see, which for obvious reasons turns out to be crap. He leaned forward, and I had to hold my breath. I wish he'd clean his teeth now and again, I thought. Why doesn't someone tell him? "Do you want to come?" he asked, with an attempt at being ever so laid-back. His knee was jiggling about under the table like it had taken up Irish dancing.

    Oh god, but everyone would think it was a date! I thought.

    "Who's going?" I asked.

    "Jim and Georgia, Libby, Mike and I think Shannon said she'd come. Oh, and Tom."

     Tom? Tom! I thought. And here's me in stuff I just threw on and my hair's a mess and I probably still have crumbs on me and...

    This is always happening to me. Now I want to go. But I look terrible. What do I do?

















The End

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