It was a frosty Wednesday morning and she was power-walking her way to work, only one thought occupying her mind: there was no doubt about it, for the past nine months she’d been stuck in a rut. Nine months. Nine WHOLE months. She could’ve done something productive like created a new life in that time! But no, she’d opted to waste 36 weeks of her life pining after her ex.
Much to her frustration she still missed him like crazy. Often to the point where she was sure that she felt a physical pain in her chest whenever she was reminded of him. And make no mistake, everything reminded her of him. A whiff of his cologne as she passed a stranger in the street, adverts for his favourite TV show plastered on billboards in Piccadilly Circus, a busker outside Costa singing that song that he’d mimed along to at that cocktail bar in Camden. He was everywhere, she couldn’t escape him.
But truth be told she didn’t want to escape him, not really. As unhealthy as it sounded she still wanted him. Just to see him one final time and then be done with it, or maybe two final times…
Lord please save him for me, do this one favour for me—she repeated this pitiful Bryson Tiller-esque plea in her mind like a refrain, hoping that someone, anyone, was listening. But of course nobody was and she was smart enough to know that it was probably better that way.
Time had eroded her memory, she was fully aware of that. She was fixating upon the good and brushing over the bad, but what else could she do? Her rectangular rimless glasses had been coated with a thick rose-tinted lens that she couldn’t scrub clean, no matter how hard she tried.
She’d made countless attempts to reason with herself over the past nine months. They were two very different people, at two very different places in their lives, with two very different mindsets, it would’ve never worked out in the long-run and she knew that, well at least her brain did any way. Her heart on the other hand wasn’t as convinced. It still longed for that feeling that he once gave her. The intensity of his stare that made her anxious but excited at the same time, the familiarity of his touch that made her heart skip, skip a beat, that sharp tongue of his that could silence all of her ridiculousness, she wanted all of that back.
But did that mean that she wanted him back? Whenever she put on her thinking cap and imagined him walking back into her life she was always left feeling conflicted. Sure he’d set the bar high, so high that no guy had even come close to reaching it since he’d left. But he was also extremely fickle and well-versed in game playing, she couldn’t deny that. So was she lusting after the fantasy of him as opposed to his reality? Probably. She was foolish by nature, it was no secret. Ever since she was a little girl she’d always wanted what she shouldn’t have; forbidden fruit was her thing and as her mother had told her many times, that was a dangerous way to be.
But by now he’d certainly moved on any way, probably to some young, attractive MUA/Instagram model and quite frankly he deserved nothing less. After all that was more his type when it boiled down to it. She was aware that she’d captured his mind more than anything; her intellect and sense of humour were much stronger weapons than her looks.
She was never going to be a beautiful, busty bean-pole with a small waist and a ginormous, pert rear-end, that just wasn’t her. She was the type of girl who could silence a room not with a flick of her hair or a bat of her eyelids, but with her undeniable wit and quick answers. And quite frankly she was content with that.
Her friends on the other hand were not always as accepting. They often lamented the fact that guys never seemed to approach her when they were out and about in bars and clubs, trying their hardest to accentuate her assets and dress her up to the nines like a peacock. But their efforts were mostly futile, not that she was phased, because on the rare occasion that a guy did decide to come her way, he always came correct. The ones who dared to approach her always possessed an air of intelligence and character. She had no idea why it always worked out that way, that just seemed to be the type of male that she attracted, but she definitely wasn’t complaining! Flying under the radar and bypassing all of the selfie-taking Ken dolls in the meantime was fine by her!
She was minding her own business when she’d met him for the first time. Conversation had struck up naturally in the most unlikeliest of places: a gift-card shop; he’d spied her from across the aisle. She was stretching up on tip toes trying to pick a birthday card for her friend’s 25th. As slick as a whistle he crept over and proceeded to offer his services in greeting card selection. Sparks flew instantaneously and smiles and laughter were easy. Fifteen minutes filled with chit chat and an extra large side-order of banter had only one result: she was floored. He’d charmed her so effortlessly and she could tell from his eyes that she’d impressed him too, it seemed ludicrous to withhold her phone num…
A speeding cyclist zipped past her face.
Her train of thought was broken.
Frazzled, she lost her balance for a second, taking an absent-minded step forwards in an attempt to regain her footing. Of course what she’d failed to perceive was the raised pavement ahead of her. But it was too late. She tripped on the high curb, spiralling forwards and landing hard and heavy on to her knees. Ouch! Looking down to survey the damage done to her tights, her spectacles began to slide from the bridge of her nose. And then as if in slow motion, they dropped. Suspended in the air for about a millisecond before hitting the ground and smashing into three neat pieces of glass before her. Great!
Scooping up the broken fragments in her hand and stuffing them into her jacket pocket she quickly got to her feet, blurrily scanning her surroundings. Nobody had seen her, thank God! As she adjusted her scarf and dusted the dirt from her knees, she was sure that she’d heard a faint but distinctive pop behind her, something that sounded like a bubble had just burst. But she dismissed it and continued down the road trying to recall what she’d been thinking about prior to her embarrassing fall. Oh that’s right, him!
She slowed down her pace in order to gather her bearings, trying her hardest to get back into the swing of her earlier thoughts, trying and almost forcing herself to fantasise about their first encounter again. She wanted to jump back into that safe, romanticised bubble where she felt all warm and fuzzy. But just like you can’t re-enter a dream once you’ve woken up, the bubble was now displaying a NO ENTRY sign.
She couldn’t quite make sense of it but she could feel that something inside her had changed, almost like a switch in the back of her head had been flipped. She felt disorientated. It was as if her train of thought had jumped on to a brand new, unfamiliar set of tracks.
And then out of nowhere her mind was flooded with questions, the questions that she’d been blocking out and suppressing for the past nine months. If he’d truly cared about her surely he would’ve been in touch, right? Well he hadn’t been. Had he responded to any of the texts that she’d sent all of those months ago? Nope. Had he made any attempts to reach out to her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or even Snapchat?! Again, the answer was no.
She was starting to recall those feelings of rejection and hurt that she’d long since buried, the pain that she’d been subjected to by him for no good reason. So what exactly was the point of going over the details of the first time that they’d met? It was ridiculous! She’d almost been hit by a manic cyclist because she’d been walking to the office on ditsy, lovey-dovey auto-pilot mode! What on earth was she doing?! He’d strung her along and then dropped her like a hot potato, how had she failed to address such a major part of the story?! Where was her self-respect?! Knees stinging and brow furrowed, she cursed her stupidity. She was a fool and he was no more than a two-bit prat.
It was as if her eyes had miraculously been opened. Ironic really, considering her peripheral vision was actually now slightly blurred without her glasses!
The lustful feelings were quickly switching to annoyance and frustration; she wanted him out of her head! Surely her heart could understand that she deserved much better than this, he was a snake! The picture of his face still at the forefront of her mind was transforming into a hissing serpent. She felt disgusted at herself for having defended him for so many months, for letting this obsession with him go on for so long!
A few angry stomps later she finally reached the office. Too impatient to wait for the lift, she charged up three flights of stairs and stormed to her desk, still tutting at herself. Her colleague noticed the absence of her glasses straight away, commenting that she looked ‘different’ without them. Not only did she look different, she felt different, she thought to herself. She felt awake, finally!
Removing the broken pieces of glass from her pocket she set them down at her desk and glanced out of the window, spying a portly pigeon perched out on the ledge. As it began to coo she found herself zoning out, focusing dreamily on the soothing tones erupting from its billowing neck. Could it be that in breaking her literal pair of glasses, the figurative rose-tinted specs that she’d been wearing for the past nine months had also been shattered? The pigeon flapped its wings and took flight, she snapped back to reality, chuckling to herself. Only she would be capable of drawing such a tenuous link, but wouldn’t that be a story to tell…