Friday, May 28
She smells of flowers. Not sure which type, exactly, but whenever she approaches they burst into bloom. I wonder whether it might become overpowering, but for now it’s wonderful.
We talk for a while. I try to sound casual, unsure of whether I’m succeeding. Every look from those eyes throws me off guard. I want to give her a sign, a hint of how I feel, in the delusive hope that I’ll get one back. Part of me wonders if I’m being too clingy. The rest wants to spend every second of the evening with her.
‘I’m going to the toilet,’ I say.
Tuesday, May 25
The sun is lowering in the sky and still we drive. Turn after hairpin, drop after incline, we drive. Trees course past and into obscurity. The rushing stream of air, once so clement, now bites with thousands of tiny teeth. And still we drive, chasing the ribbon of hard asphalt, meandering past the limits of vision, unyielding and without end. The music blaring from the stereo takes on an incessant, invasive overtone. Headlights of approaching cars smirk at us, savouring our discomfort.
We’ll get there in the end. To the azure beaches, to the beautiful people, to the breast implants floating in the water. It’s all waiting for us; we just have to get there. Only this far away we keep forgetting it exists.
Monday, May 17
He’s losing. He sits there, sunk into the couch, shrinking more and more with every passing country. History is repeating itself. Again. My sniggers of glee intensify.
The glare of the TV shows that there remains only one country on nul points. And there are only two votes left to go. All his hopes hang on the Swedes. The couch is threatening to eat him.
…Norway, three points. La Norvège, trois points…
YEEEESSSSSSSS!!!!! He leaps out of the cavernous settee, fist pumping the air, face fixed in animal rage. Sighing with relief, he sits back down and opens another beer. I haven’t the heart to point out that he’s still come last.
Thursday, May 13
The air is close; I can feel the storm coming. Later, as bullets of rain pound down, I wonder at how such depressing weather can make me happy. I want to run out in it and slip into the fountain. Instead we scurry, sheltering under stretched bat-wing umbrellas, to eat roasted cow in between grunts of thunder.
Wednesday, May 12
Dog lies in the storm’s eye, oblivious to the noise and smoke and laughing French people swirling around. Sometimes he lifts his head from its resting place to stare with those dinner plate eyes, but nothing can hold his interest for long. He’s seen it all before; the girls, painstakingly painted, shooting covert glances at the boys. The boys, puffed up cockerels, pretending not to notice. The wallflowers, burning holes in the floor. The drunks at the bar, their faces filling up with beer. Dog goes back to sleep, until the next time someone spills a drink on him.
Monday, May 10
It starts as the smallest thing. Noticing the little details, things that would stay buried deep in your subconscious were it anyone else. Then you find yourself thinking about them, remembering the way they play with their hair, or that cute frown of concentration that they’re deliciously unaware of. You start to go out of your way to speak to them when you’re together with friends, to sit by them, to walk next to them, to agree with them, to impress them. You catch yourself daydreaming about them.
Pretences to spend time in their company are invented and seized upon. They can’t make it this time, but that’s OK, you’re sure they must have a valid reason. Like last time. And the time before that. Gradually, reluctantly, reality slips in, an unwelcome guest. Maybe if you styled your hair differently, if you were a little bit funnier, if you hadn’t come across as so eager. You’ll never know.
It starts as the smallest thing, and ends by crashing down on top of you.
Friday, May 7
I snip off the hairs ten by ten, and hope I’m doing it badly so they’ll never ask me again. We talk about Lyon, about how little drops of rain bead on blades of grass. He accuses me of being a professional hairdresser, because I can talk while I chop. Someone comes in to read the newspaper covering the floor, but tiny hairs obscure the words.
The past is dead, I found myself thinking, subliminally.
No it’s not, it told me. It’s not even past.
Fell in love with a girl, but she didn’t notice. Thus I lurked in the muddled haze of her periphery, loving her from afar.