by Luke Gregorio
‘Sweetie, come on, there’s nothing going on here, she’s nobody!’
I caught her legs flicker out of the room. She moved so fast out of there her white dress left a trail in the wind. Like the roadrunner or a ghost. I thought to myself for a second. I'd really done it now. I really had done it, hadn't I.
What should I do? Or, what would she want me to do? Cos really those were just the same. I could wait for her to come to me? But, it was too much of a risk. I could run after her? But, it would just push her even further away. After all, she was competitive. Even in love. The more I would love her, the more she would love me. And well, when she started to hate me, she really would hate me. She was never to be outdone. You see. The worst was when we had arguments. They would start like most couples. There would be some bubbling tension after one of us had annoyed the other. Then I'd usually tip the bubbling tension to a boil by saying something stupid. Next thing, we'd be shouting and swearing and sulking. Then one of us would find some common ground and make the first apology (always me). She would then apologise to me. But this is where it got strange. She wouldn't just apologise, she'd have to out-apologise me. Sometimes she would be very emotional, other times she would start complimenting me too in a really exaggerated way (that was my favourite type of apology), and one time she even wrote a poem of apology to me. Love to her was like a race you see. There were winners and losers, and she always had to win.
And of course it makes sense, it was natural for her. She was once an ironman triathlete in her day, a great champion in fact. Yes, the ironman triathlon, a great race, of a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bicycle ride and a 26.22 mile run. It all sounded very masochistic to me. I think that's what attracted her to me. I was watching one of her races. That was where we first met. I told her I had an ironmans hard-on. She looked like she wanted to be anywhere else in the world when I said that. For her, I repeated, at pains to make myself clear. She smiled, but even then I could see right through her smile, really she was not impressed with me at all. Oh yes I understood you the first time. She said. Why is it that when I try to be close to someone I become the fool? You wouldn't believe tho. Later, she took me on.
Running after her, what a fool I am. I couldn't catch her then and I couldn't catch her now. What was I to do?
The bed bounced. For some reason it moved me. It's just impossible for me to keep still when I feel something else moving.
'Look at me. Look at me.' She whispered. 'Oh Marcello. Come to me. Oh Marcello.'
'My names not Marcello.' I told her. She shut her eyes, as if my words were a spell that sent her to sleep. I thought that would be a nice secret power to have. To sedate people. I was surprised that this had not yet been a marvel superhero, he could be called the Sedator maybe.
'Well, if you don't want me, why don't you just run after her like the rest of them?' She twisted her words bitterly.
'All you men are the same. They come, at first, brash and confident. You think it's fun and maybe hot. But they leave, at the first sign of trouble, always. Really, they are fragile, they are the ones that crack easily.'
'Hmm.' I kept the hmm sharp. I wasn’t in the mood for two breakups tonight.
'It isn't easy being thrown away so much. Not for anyone. And it happens a lot to me. Men come here, they get found out. Maybe someone was checking their phone, maybe they were getting followed. Sometimes it's their wife, sometimes their mum, I've even seen once some other whore catch them out. But it always ends the same way. The guy runs out the room screaming and waving and acting. And I'm left forgotten. And the more it happens the harder it gets-'
'Look I gotta go, how much do I owe you? I'll save you the scene as well if you want.' She didn't reply. Instead she just laughed. Straight at me. I chucked her a 20, it seemed fair, we didn't get up to anything anyway. As I left I heard her call me a fucking idiot.
Outside the wind was so strong it was whistling. I saw a bench. I sat on it and started to think. I’ve always found benches to be the best place for thinking. Where could she be? I tried to think where I’d go if I caught her cheating. Would I just ride it out? Go to the pictures and forget about it (really try to forget about it). Or would I phone a friend? Get on the piss (really cry on my friend’s shoulder). Probably none of those. Then it came to me. I knew exactly what I would do. And so I knew exactly what she would do. Revenge. Of course, she would have to outdo me. The next question. Who could she fuck within 30 minutes flat? Oh, it would have to be Jamie, he looks at her like she was the Queen of Sheba. And she’s his type too, athletic. I remember him once telling me that the most perfect form of beauty is physiological beauty. For it was the only form of human beauty that could be realised by the self, rather than a genetic inheritance. I thought he was coming on to me when he said that, but now it all makes sense he was making a move on Lucy. And he used to have women weightlifting magazines in his toilet. That gives his game away. Oh, this is easy, it’s like I’ve got a GPS in my mind that can track her.
First, go to the Old Lion, find one of his pals, ask him if he knows where Jamie is. If he doesn't talk, chop him. Then. Catch them in the act. That was important. Finally, sort it all out (these kinds of things always can be straightened out of course). I love it when a plan comes together.
I started walking to the Old Lion, it was just a minute away. I started scheming again. What would I say? What would I do? When I saw her. I mustn’t let her know how I found her then. It’d be embarrassing for her you see.
This was strange. I opened the door to the Old Lion and there she was. Sitting with some friends and some drinks.
‘I didn't know you’d be here?’ I said.
‘You never would have known. You never did know anything. Honestly, fuck off as well.’
I didn't know what to say so I just stared straight ahead silently scheming. I just couldn’t stop scheming.
Luke Gregorio is a student at LSE. "north London born and raised. sometimes i write stories. more of the time i'm reading them. or watching a picture or playing chess. and no, this is not my hinge profile.