Thursday, 23 October 2008

He paused for a moment when he lifted the spoon. Something felt amiss. It was the weight of the thing; it didn't feel quite heavy enough. Like a hollow decoy. It was reminiscent of an odd sensation he'd had a few days ago when he lifted a teaspoon from a kitchen drawer. It had seemed small. But only slightly. Subtly scaled down.

He was carrying the last of the tills up the stairs to the cash office when all of a sudden he felt himself becoming coy, furtive almost. No, not furtive... Calculating. And he felt as if part of himself detested another part of himself. But he couldn't resist asking her what he was going to ask her.
A male colleague walked alongside him, providing inane conversation. She was slightly behind the two of them. He was going to have to time his question well. Wait for an opening. Also it was crucial that he not appear in any way eager or opportunistic. They all stopped by the clocking machine and he uttered the words.

"Would ye like a lift home?"

She conceded to a lift home. Conceded? Is that the right word? Acquiesced? Whatever, she accepted the invitation is what I'm trying to convey. Overall, he was pleased with how it had went. He had issued the invitation with supreme nonchalance. His male colleague hadn't made any untoward jokes or comments. Why would he? Well, the protagonist in this tale always feared the worst.
She went into the changing room. He dumped the till in the cash office safe. When he came out she was waiting by the clocking machine. I'm just going to retrieve my wallet he explained to her. He went into the changing room to retrieve said wallet from his locker. She was waiting by the clocking machine. Waiting for him. It was as if they were going on a date or something. He felt a surge of excitement. He sensed she felt the same way. Slightly nervous. Slightly thrilled. Maybe he was just projecting his own emotional state onto her.

He dropped her off at her hoose without incident. Throughout the short car journey an awkward first date vibe had prevailed. Inane chatter. Nervous pauses. The whole thing was pretty exciting. God, is this how I get my kicks now? he thought to himself, incredulous, amused. That was the key to existence, he felt. If ever something felt in any way tragic, depressing or existentially upsetting the trick was to extract oneself from said situation and view it comically. He would imagine himself an incourrigble, quirky character in a sitcom. Findning himself in these amusing situations at the whims of the universe. It beat the hell ouot of self-pity.

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