A Green Eye: dark-roast coffee with a triple shot of espresso
It could have been the wine but, before I knew it, I had proposed that we should all meet up again in the same place a year from now.
What was I thinking? The pressure I was putting on myself was immense. For a start I would have to maintain my fitness level and body weight, take an exotic holiday which I could discuss with them at length and continue that blatant lie. I felt myself blushing at the mere thought of that lie; claiming the photo I presented as my other half was in fact a picture copied from a Facebook profile of an unsuspecting male.
“What am I saying?” I attempted to make my voice heard over the chorus of agreements. “Actually I will be out of the country next May!” I prayed that my performance came across as genuine.
“We’ll make it June then and why don’t we bring our significant others?” piped up Jenny, who had been the bossiest form prefect ever. Her hair was short and wavy in the same style she wore it twenty-five years ago and her clothes and shoes were what my mother would call smart. Just like then, my former classmates agreed wholeheartedly with her.
Now I really was panicking. I couldn’t produce a significant other, or at least not the one in the photograph I had shown them all on my phone. While feigning interest in the conversation of the friend on my left, my mind was working overtime. I was debating whether I could appear next year with another man with the explanation that my former relationship had finished or maybe stalk the guy whose profile picture I had used from Facebook and throw myself on his mercy. I felt hot and clammy and swiftly drank down the rest of my wine. The alcohol plus the noise of the crowded pub made me feel nauseous. I excused myself and made my way through the bar towards the ladies toilets, my shoes sticking to the patterned carpet.
As I reapplied my lipstick in the mirror, I reflected that people don’t really change. Jenny expected to be obeyed, Ruth, the ex-games captain was still competitive and here was I hiding away in the toilets. I felt ashamed when I recalled how I used to make up stories all those years ago to impress the others. I hadn’t changed; still wanting to get noticed whichever way I could. These days no-one cares if you were brought up on a council estate or if your father had left home for another woman. I ran a comb through my hair and had to admit I was pleased with what I saw in the mirror. “Come on. You can do it,” I told myself as I strode boldly back to the table.
When I had their attention, I came out with it. “I lied to you all earlier. I’m not in a relationship at the moment. I don’t know why I said it.”
A few made sympathetic noises and others didn’t appear all that surprised by confession. After all, they know me of old. A few told me they were divorced, including Jenny and I couldn’t help thinking my nickname for her “she who must be obeyed” perhaps wasn’t exactly true.
About the Author
Linda Casper hails from Yorkshire and, after a long career as a high school teacher, she has recently begun to write and has had many short stories, poems and travel articles published. Linda has a keen interest in gardening and is a judge for Yorkshire in Bloom.