By Pat Gallagher
I was not going to dress up. Leggings would do. Plain tee shirt. Maybe just a chunky necklace though, and those matching earrings.Hair: Loose? No, tied up. No, loose. Loosely tied up? Either way, it would be the first thing she’d notice. “A glorious dying sun,” a boyfriend once said of my hair. We parted company when I replied that his resembled a sad dying badger. No compliment should reference death.
First impressions count, don’t they. Well, she was engrossed in a vacuous glossy magazine that matched her vacuous glossy appearance. Not even looking out for me. I was mad to think we might have got on. I turned around, walked straight out of the cafe and back into the bleak high street. Coffee was needed now and food. I would just go somewhere else instead.
The route back to my flat an hour later took me past the cafe again. She was still there. Still reading the same magazine! Clearly she had a brain the size of a pea. I should have stayed at home, saved some money, finished my essay. Someone should tell her what a selfish cow she was, wasting my time, getting my hopes up. Sitting there reading junk, not a care in the world.
I barged through the door, anger propelled me towards her table.
“So you thought it was ok to give me away? To walk into the sunset and just abandon a baby?”
I was ablaze and she gazed back at me, cool and impassive.
Then she spoke.“Well you were very ugly.”
I nearly walked out again. What sort of person would come out with that? What sort of person?
To my surprise I found I did actually want to know what sort of person.“So that was it,” I said slowly. “And I suppose my hair clashed with your sofa.”
“Nightmare. That’s why your father had to go too.”
We paused. Something softened in her face and she put her hand to her mouth, like a naughty child.
“I'm often told I have an inappropriate sense of humour.”
Suddenly I was being enveloped in the warmest embrace I had ever experienced. My shoulders began to shake. Then hers. We continued to laugh longer than was reasonable.
Later, her eyes circled with smudged mascara, she no longer looked glamorous. And she told me I was beautiful. No dying sun nonsense, just beautiful. I told her I was studying astronomy and she was like a procyon, which is a bright star. It’s also a racoon.
I’ll tell her that next time.
About the author
Pat has recently returned to writing fiction. She has just started a local writing support group and looks forward to sharing the pleasures and occasional pains (but mostly pleasures) of the writing process
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