Almost based on a true story.

So there was this boy, at university somewhere in the United Kingdom, and he was pretty average on the whole. Not too good looking, but passable, tried to be charming when the ladies were around, failed regularly and admirably, didn't study throughout term, but frantically the night before the exams, and got okay sort of marks.

Anyway, one day, he was standing outside his college gate, and he saw this girl that he'd seen before - you know how it is, you see random faces at parties, or with friends, and sometimes you attach names to them, but more often you can't - but he saw her this time, really saw her, as she was, except perfect. And since he had nothing better to do, he fell in love with her.

His luck was in this time round. He got a mutual friend to introduce them. Names were exchanged, phone numbers, and as the days went by, a lot more - like interests and hobbies and personal histories - and then as even more days went by, real thoughts and real feelings and real dreams: all the usual kinds of things, often disconnected, that miraculously weave together to form a thread, a link, that makes you feel no one has ever understood you this way, and no one ever will.

And then came the special night, and everyone knows what a special night is, and to prepare for it - he wasn't one to leave things to Fate because Fate had, in his eyes, been notoriously unkind to him since the day he was born - he went to his local store, I think it was Tesco's, and he bought twelve condoms and a bottle of scotch, much to the admiration of the fellow behind the counter: a fellow sufferer at the hands of Fate.

And the look the fellow-behind-the-counter gave him, one that was full of awe and admiration, one that said mate-you're-the-man, was a look he'd never received before, not from anyone, and it made him feel, simply put, very good indeed.

He wasn't feeling very good a few hours later, as he lay alone in his bed, with half an empty scotch bottle beside him, and the condoms, all unopened, surrounded by ashtrays (not that he smoked, he just liked having ashtrays around, he collected them) staring unblinkingly at a message on his phone that had just brought his world crashing down forever - or if not forever, then at least for a while.

In a way, he mused, staring up at the ceiling, it fit in with everything else in his life so far. Things always reached a certain point, and then just as he let himself hope they'd keep climbing, keep raising themselves higher, right to where the mist touched the sun, they'd all come tumbling down, and there he'd be, lying on his bed, with a lump in his throat, wanting to cry, but not crying, because after all, he was a man - or trying to be, desperately, blindly, in the only way he knew how.

He went back to Tesco's everyday for the rest of the week and everyday he bought a bottle of scotch and twelve condoms, and the fellow-behind-the-counter came to see him as god on earth.

He didn't drink most of the scotch, and he never had to use any of the condoms, and it was all a terrible waste of money, but when he went to bed at night, despite the ache in the pit of his stomach, it was always easier going to sleep knowing that someone out there thought he was a Man, and that Fate, for once, had to be silent, had to leave things untouched.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

it's a good story.