Saturday, 4 February 2012

Friends and Lovers

“When my mother died I didn’t know how to feel. I sat in the funeral and was sad and everything. But then there was this little niggle telling me that I was only feeling sad because I pitied the other mourners. Their faces were grey and sagging off their chins and they all just looked so depressed and it was all so helpless. And then I had to stand up and read this poem and the priest whispered to me ‘I’m so sorry, son;’ as if he knew me and how I felt.”
            “So what did you do?”
“I read the poem. It was awful, all full of empty clichés. My sister found it on the internet. But everyone stared at me with their grey dangly faces like it was the finest shit they had ever felt sorry to hear.”
“Do you miss her?”
“I miss the idea of her. It was nice to complain about my mother.”
“And if she had survived do you think you would’ve done things differently?”
“There is really no point considering it. She is dead.”
“Probably not, though. No. Definitely not. We were not in love.”
“You said the ‘l’ word. Take a drink.”
“Fuck you.”
“It was your rule.”
“Fine. Let’s use the ‘f’ word in place of the ‘l’ word. We were never in fuck. I never fucked her. But then I miss her because she is not there. And you don’t feel this way about Chloe?”
“We made this rule so we wouldn’t talk about our fuckers and now that is all we are doing.”
“I know.”
“I don’t think I should answer.”
“Are you frightened of the drink?”
“I’m not in love. But I don’t want her to die.”
“So you’re fucked, aren’t you?”
“So to speak.”
“Do the doctors think she will make it?”
“Make what?”
“Will she live?”
“They say we caught it just in time. She will probably live.”
“And then what?”
“And then I go home in the dark and sit at the kitchen table and stare at my reflection in the TV screen and the moth holes in the pillows and the dust that gathers and scarpers with my breath and wish I was back at the hospital because it is not here.”
“Don’t think about it. You are on holiday. We’re on holiday. Ok. Here’s a new rule. Every time someone says ‘I’ they take a drink.”
“You know just how to make me feel better.”
“I have a pretty good idea.”
“Go on. Punish yourself.”
“Gladly. You know, if you want to get out of a relationship then all you need to do is cheat on her.”
“Ha! You ought to know.”
“No. Seriously. Have you considered it?”
“And how would I go about doing that? How does someone even pick up these days?”
“Take a drink. Take a deep breath and tell the girl at the bar that you want to get out of a difficult relationship and would she please fuck you.”
“And then she throws herself into my arms and we live happily ever after.”
“Is that what you want?”
“I really don’t know.”
“Why don’t you ask Maureen?”
“Chloe’s sister? Ha! She will impale me on my own penis.”
“What about Jennifer?”
“Ha ha! Yeah, ‘Hi Jennifer, this is the guy that broke your heart ten years ago. Just wondering if you’d be interested in hurting my wife.’”
“If you ask her if she will ruin your marriage then she might be keen.”
“New rule: No laughing.”
“Alright. I’ve heard a good one. A man walks into a bar and says ‘Who will sleep with me?’”
“I’m not laughing.”
“That’s because you have no sense of humour.”
“And what do you have to laugh at?”
“Everything. Everything is a joke. Life is a joke and the punch-line is always the same.”
“You will be happy again.”
“Just wait ‘til I have another couple of drinks.”
“Do you know how old I am now? And the scariest thing is that I look at my kids and they are only three and five and I don’t love them. I don’t feel anything for them. Nothing. I am so empty.”
“You do fuck them. Everyone feels the way you do sometimes.”
“How would you know? You don’t have kids.”
“Not yet. Chloe wants them.”
“Fuck indeed. So what do we do?”
“Why don’t you kill her?”
“Drink. How dare you laugh.”
“And how will we kill her?”
“With a glass of scotch.”
“Kill her. Fuck her. Every single emotion is four letters long. It’s like a grunt. New rule: no four letter words.”
“Exactly. These words are innate. They’re primal. And we require a new synonym now.”
“Or we could follow the rules.”
“Fuck the rules.”
“Ha! Drink!”
“Do you really think we can blank out our emotions? There needs to be a way to click our fingers and end up feeling different.”
“There’s not. See my wrists.”
“Drink up.”
“Why did you do it?”
“I didn’t think I’d end up looking at the…”
“The scar.”
“Hey! Cheer up. I’m alright now. Go on. Get me to laugh.”
“You can cheat on Chloe with me.”
“I am already.”
“Fuck you.”
“It was worth it. We are on our honeymoon right now.”
“In the bathroom?”
“I’ve had great times in my bathroom.”
“I should really go.”
“You cannot go. You’re on holiday. You cannot just get up and leave.”
“You’re right.”
“I’m really happy you’re here.”
“Drink up.”
“New one: no sentences.”
“I want a drink.”
“Drink, fucker.”
“This one’s for my mother. Mother, I love you.”
“I’ll drink to that.”
“What else will you drink for?”
“Let’s drink to death.
“New rule: Drink every time you say ‘drink.’”
“Say what, now?”

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