Tuesday 5 August 2008

He Was Honest With Her

He had chosen the right spot to sit. He had made sure of that. She sat on the stool, fidgeting, looking down at her coke.
He sat back with one foot on the table, his cigarettes in front of him, swilling his pint, as he always did. Over her shoulder the TV was showing Sky Sports. Not that he cared about the game, it was Chelsea against Arsenal. A lesser of two evils game, in which he would narrowly side with Arsenal, but the real point was to have an excuse to look away if he felt uncomfortable, to pretend to be so mesmerised by the game he had lost track of the conversation.

He was out of his depth and he knew it. He had told her, told her how he felt and he wasn't sure who was most uneasy. Her, at the moment, he figured. But nothing had changed and that was the most important part, that everything still seemed hunky dory, that she was carrying on as if he hadn't said those three words.

And right now 'Ok' was good enough for him, neither a rejection nor a requital. Just a guarantee that nothing was ruined.

He'd had a few already which was why he was able to talk in this vein. Sweet talking was for customers. You just don't say these things when you actually mean them. Too dangerous. You let these cats out of the bag and they might drag you to Hell.

He took a swig of his beer and decided to broach the topic again.

HIM: To be honest, it's probably better this way. It took many months and much alcohol to get me to say what I did, I think if you'd had anything more to say than you did, it would have been way too much for me to deal with. I suspect I'd have freaked out totally.

HER: I know.

HIM: As it stands, things are pretty much ideal, it's not like it actually affects the here and now. We could carry on, conceivably for ever like this, I don't see why not. In many ways, I quite like it like this. I'm never going to lose you from my life and I guess that's what really matters. At this stage, I'm not sure I could deal with more than that. At one level I want it, but I'm not sure I've quite got my head round the implications of what it is I want.

HER: Well, it may fade by then.

He smiled a sad smile and drained his glass. He shook his head and mouthed 'no' before heading to the bar. He flirted shamelessly with the barmaid, for no particular reason except he didn't know how not to and went outside for a cigarette as she poured the drinks. The entire cigarette lasted three deep, nervous drags. He picked up his drinks and returned to the table.

HIM: You needn't worry. I'm certainly not going to try influence you. This actually isn't something I want to sell. I spend too much time selling stuff and when it comes to women, I usually end up wishing they hadn't bought the patter. If for whatever reason, you do one day decide you feel the same way, I want you to actually feel it, not just think it was a good idea to try, or feel some kind of obligation that I was trying so hard you should at least give it a go. Giving it a go is always shite. Never works. Done it all my life, giving it a go. It's actually ten times worse to be loved by someone you just can't love than it is to love and not be loved back.

HER: I wouldn't know.

HIM: Well, I just feel that in this case, if this really IS my ideal of perfection, then it really shouldn't be forced. Besides, as things stand, I'm not sure if I could deal with you reciprocating my sentiments. I'd probably need a month or two to get my head round it.
My guess is IF you ever decide you reciprocate my sentiments it would be far enough in the future for me to be comfortable with that.

HER: So right now, its just me being uncomfortable.

HIM: Yes, but you certainly have the chance to return the favour. I guess if it ever happened, you'd be comfortable by then- and you'd get to make me uncomfortable.

HER: It would also be a completely hopeless situation.

HIM: I had thought of that, don't worry. I mean, I suppose the point is, that we'd cross that bridge when and if we came to it. Even if we ever got to that bridge it would be stupid to start making unrealistic plans. You have your career, I have mine. You would never leave your home town, I would never leave mine. I want children one day (I think), you don't. These things aren't strictly speaking reconcilable. But I don't see any point worrying about any of that at this point, and in fact, I would say that if we reached the bridge just mentioned, then there would STILL be no point worrying about those things. That's where everyone goes wrong.

HER: So what WOULD you suggest in such a situation?

HIM: Nothing. Nothing at all. Go with the flow. I mean, whatever happened we'd have to spend weekdays working- in totally different geographical locations, and that would never change. But we could spend weekends together. I guess I might even feel OK giving you a key to the flat.

HER: That's what you envisage, is it?

HIM: Yes, pretty much. It would be the best way forward until one of two things happened.

HER: Being?

HIM: You got bored, or one or other of us found it unsatisfactory and wanted more. And if that happened, we'd deal with that then. But that is so hypothetical I don't see any point worrying about it. After all, even allowing for things getting to that level, even if everything followed the course I've just described, we are talking years away now, I guess.


Are you Ok with everything I've just said? As I say, I don't think we need worry about any of it now. All of it is up to you, really. I'm easy with whatever you're easy with. Whatever happens, let it just evolve naturally. Sod rules. To me, this is too important for me to give a damn about someone else's rules. One step at a time, eh? With you in the driving seat. It's up to you what you want to take up, or if you want to take up anything at all. And don't forget, all this stuff scares the shit out of me too. You Ok with that? With everything I've just said?

HER: Ok.

HIM: And do you know whatever happens, whatever life choices you make, I want us to always be friends?

HER: Yes.

He smiled.

What more could he ask for?
What would be, would be. And whatever it was, would be for the best.

(I'm sure I don't need to point out this piece is a work of fiction)


Anonymous said...

Fictional or not, I find this infinitely sad.

Anonymous said...

I actually think it's quite an optimistic post.

I supoose its about an embittered romantic coming to terms with reality.

Anonymous said...

well, whatever it was, it was kinda bittersweet. Life has a tendancy too imitate art.

Anonymous said...

I think it's sad too. Plus it's a kind of settling too. Still friendship is important in any successful relationship,

Anonymous said...

I hate how we have to bargain our way through life so we don't hurt other people.

good story writing!

Anonymous said...

Put that way, it actually sounds so reasonable (although another part of me would think, 'since I'm not going to give in, we're just wasting our time if we can't reconcile our desires and plans; eventually, we'll have wasted our time and got nothing out of it but someone to spend the weekends with')....

Anonymous said...

Crashie- Maybe. I guess I was kind of pondering, really.

I suppose life imitates art in that it is the way someone like me might tackle it if they found themselves in such a situation.

jmb- It depends what you mean by settling. I think it's clear from the post that he really does love her, but he is what he is. He's someone who is used to living a life free of committed long term relationships, and they're kind of his biggest fear. They're not something he needs as such, but nevertheless he is in love.

I think often these things are spoiled by one or other party trying to force rules and plans on these things rather than letting things happen naturally.

Kate- I think, reading it, it's quite a modern post. It's how life so often is. And will get more so, I think. And i do think we need to try move away from these bargain concepts and be a bit more pragmatic and- honest. The problem is, we still seem to be stuck in this all or nothing game idea; people are in a 're-lay-shun-ship' (God I hate that word, I mean CHRIST, we're ALL in relationships with eachother, check the meaning of the word), or they're not. That's bollocks.

It leaves no room for real people with with real lives and real feelings.

Eve- Who says they can't? The point is, what's the point them doing so at this point?
It's kind of putting the cart before the horse.

Let's say they spend every weekend together for two years, then decide they can't agree on where they want it to go next.

Will what they had be any the less beautiful as a a result?

And on the other hand, aren't they more likely to have gradually talked a way through to common ground, without the pressure, over two years spending weekends togerher, than had they forced these issues to start with?

As long as they're adults, the differences really are trivialities.

Anonymous said...

She dont talk much does she - did you buy her pork scratching? Always a mistake with women they take them far too seriously....

Anonymous said...

Heheh :-) Yes, you make it sound so feasible, and i can picture myself being convinced enough to stay on... and like you say, I guess it COULD go both ways after all... cos time changes things..

Anonymous said...

Mutley- I think she just engages brain before setting off the voicebox mechanisms. Her simple replies say more than half an hour of ill considered drivel. The nuances are all important, because every statement made means exactly what it is. By never saying more than she means to say, you know that what you get will be correct. Generally, I think in these sorts of situations, the less is said, the more is true.

Eve- I'm not a stupid person, but I've always been a pretty impulsive person, and it's taken a long time for me to learn.

My problem is, to quote a gypsy girl called Teresa I met at a party a few months back and can be seen on my Facebook page 'I'm an emittered romantic who's formulated a cynical game plan of treating everything as a cynical game because deep down you want to die a rebel without a cause an in age that doesn't care'

Initially that unnereved me, but she had me head in her lap stroking my check like a puppy ten minutes later, so it kind of panned out OK.

Anonymous said...

Nice :-)