Life is relatively calm. You drudge along in your routine yet comfortable life. You wake up at a decent enough hour to be able to hurry through your day and do your errands, buy your groceries and a packet of cigarettes, get a haircut and pay too much for it, have a coffee at that little cafe along the same street and stare at people as they walk past you. You bring yourself to accept this as the life you have always wanted; comfortable, good enough, and you are content with it. You walk home, because you can’t afford to buy a car right now, not with the meager salary you get at your entry-level job as an office slave. As you make your way down the street, littered with shops and cafes, lonely suits and couples attached together like Siamese twins, you notice that you fit into neither category. You are not a lonely suit, nor are you a part of a Siamese twinset.
You are alone, staring at people like some fucking weirdo, standing there in your over-sized red flannel shirt that you picked out of the men’s section at an Old Navy six years ago and your frayed, old Dr. Martens that you’ve kept since college. You giggle to yourself, almost maniacally, and wonder, Am I really this person? One of those displaced, post-college souls, whose only life investments are lamps and chairs from Ikea? Heh. You continue walking.
The street gets more and more crowded as you make your way nearer to your studio apartment, conveniently located on the fifth floor of a creaky old building that was built in 1948 and boasts the most tortuous staircase in the world. You stop to open the pack of cigarettes that you just bought and tuck into a corner to inhale a stick of nicotine and bleakness. You’ve got it down to a three minute procedure. You’re a pro. Hurry. Smoke. You’ve got to get home and do nothing.
As you awkwardly edge out of the crevice into which you have crammed yourself, you bump into someone. Shit. Gracelessness has always been your forte.
You look up and there he is, that one asshole who comes out of nowhere and changes everything. A scene from a Nicholas Sparks novel you never bothered to read, but managed to watch an abysmal film adaption of with your girlfriends back in high school. A constellation of freckles and a tuft of ashy blond hair make a frail attempt to conceal two penetrating blue eyes. A clumsy, mortified semblance of a conversation ensues and, shit, you’re in trouble. Feminist prose and Sylvia Plath warned you about this sort of thing.
Three hours pass by and you’re still outside that same nook, talking to this asshole about your life and how you’re allergic to cats but it’s okay because you hate them anyway and that you think the Kardashians might bring forth the apocalypse. You’re smiling like an idiot. You choke back the urge to giggle at every word he says. Where’s that accent from? I didn’t know they made faces that pretty anymore. Don’t you dare tell him the story about that one time you fell in a manhole and ended up covered in sewage. Ugh. You’re a twat.
You endure the usual self-consciousness two people experience when exchanging phone numbers and he promises to call. Maybe the two of you could grab a coffee sometime. Maybe.
He has to go now, and so do you. You say your tongue-tied goodbyes and go your separate ways.
Two weeks go by and he hasn’t called yet. Maybe you’re just not as interesting as your internal monologues may have you believe.
On a Thursday afternoon, while you’re still schlepping at work, he calls. Let’s have coffee.
Cue the romantic comedy montage. Shit. You’re in trouble.