Friday Fiction: The Most Un-Romantic Moments of My Life (So Far)
- by Victoria Boult :
- Nov 2,2018
We’re sitting in his Volvo on the edge of the airport runway. The sleeve of his shirt rolled up, his hand plays with the collar of my denim jacket absentmindedly. My converse are propped on his dashboard. We’re listening to David Bowie. I don’t even like David Bowie.
A plane roars above us. He’s momentarily distracted, leaning forward to watch it ascend. I seize my opportunity, rolling my shoulder out from underneath his, leaning to the left and inspecting myself in the side view mirror. A cartoonish splotch shapes my mouth where he’s spread lipstick all over my chin. I am now a shade of purple (MAC’s Heroine, to be exact). Two fingers walk their way up my neck.
“Come on back over here, love muffin” he croons in my ear. Who the hell says love muffin anymore?
I grin so fiercely that double chins materialise. Shuffling back underneath his arm, the awkward silence resumes. I silently will the windscreen to crack inwards and kill this cringe-worthy conversation.
“So…” he says, after a while. He stares at his foot, slipping his heel in and out of his RM Williams.
“This has been really fun but… I think we should end things.”
His Ralph Lauren cologne suddenly hits me. My nose burns.
“I just think that I’m older than you and we’re going in different directions…”
His voice, which dips and trips in the most posh and private of ways, pricks my ear drums.
“And I mean, you want to be an actor and I just don’t think that’s a tangible career path…”
I think about his Calvin Klein underwear in the backseat. I think about my Bonds underwear, still very much attached to me.
“Plus, our families never really got along. They’re in different social circles. It was never going to work.”
“Do you know what I mean?”
Like Linda Blair, he smacks back into his seat. The outline of my hand (manicure missing) is imprinted on his cheek.
“All good. I understand.”
Smiling, I slam the car door and listen to that windscreen crack.
We’re cuddled on the couch, fire crackling and him crooning. He’s learning how to play ‘Romeo and Juliet’ by the Killers on the guitar. Just because they’re my favourite band and that’s my favourite play! Is it stereotypical? Yes. Do I care? Nope.
He’s strumming the chords with one hand and rubbing my foot with the other. Like a bib on a baby, brown splotches of deep fryer grease trail down his shirt. A line of grit is the finish to his manicure. I’m pretty sure someone’s used the knee of his jeans as an ashtray.
He’s a piece of old parchment: a little rough around the edges. A third-hand teddy bear. Sloppy seconds that are still good for Tuesday’s lunch. He’s not perfect, but at least he’s not wearing Ralph Lauren cologne.
“A love struck Romeo, sings the streets a serenade…” he hums. He tickles my foot. I burst out laughing and kick him playfully. Our eyes meet. He grins. I think I like him.
Scratch that. I really like him. Because when he smiles, you see his soul.
Brrrr. My phone vibrates. It’s my best friend. I glance down.
RED ALERT: Emily just txt me. He slept with someone else Katie.
I glance up.
The grease has soaked through to his skin. It’s crawling up his neck, infecting his face. Acne creeps across his cheeks and along the bridge of his nose, crowding the hairline of his crew cut and submerging the left hand side of his face.
Harvey Dent turns to look at me. Half man, half lies.
“Laying everybody low with a love song that he made…”
The Taco Medic emblem on his shirt screams unemployable.
“He finds a streetlight, steps out of the shade…”
The stack of two-minute noodles in the pantry is the antithesis of ambition.
“Says something like…”
The state of his house, the state of that sink and the state of his face unite. Together, they create an asshole of a country.
“You and me babe, how about it?”
The shards of his guitar split the wall in half.
We’re sitting on the edge of her purple duvet. It’s 2am. Mott the Hopple is playing. We both like Mott the Hopple. She’s still crying though.
“I’m sorry,” I whisper. Her hand finds mine. The strategic cut of her nails pierce my palm.
She’s swaddled in a tie dyed tee shirt. It’s all the colours of the rainbow and yet it still brings out the iris in her eyes. The shirt gathers around her butt – plump, perfect and pumped with cellulite – and hides two little legs that barely touch the ground. Its hem hangs from her shoulder, revealing a smattering of freckles. That’s where she wants to tattoo a little tree that will bring the blemishes together: like constellations in the night sky.
I catch the silhouette of her face in the fading light. Eyelashes so long they tickle her cheeks, a little ski jump nose and pink lips pulled into a frown. It’s all beautiful and it’s all wrong.
Her shoulders start to shake. She puts her head in her hands.
“I should go,” I say. My bra has been cast aside, polka dots peeping out from underneath the sheets. I fish it out and stand. A failed mission.
She glances up at me. Her eyebrows furrow. She smells the Ralph Lauren cologne, sees the grease creep onto my cheeks, senses the lies in my eyes.
“Why didn’t you just tell me?” she demands, her voice cracking.
“I’m sorry,” I whisper.
I walk down the hallway alone.
I have resigned myself. Resigned myself to this ‘feminist’ life, to this life of late night girl’s nights, to this life of loneliness. Burnt my bra. Who needs a man/woman anyway?
An education in my brain and spring in my step, I leave my lecture with a smile.
I stagger back as the remnants of a Ralph’s cappuccino drips down my shirt.
“Oh god, I’m so sorry!”
I look up. A man is standing before me. He smiles.
“I’m Marcus!” he says.
Victoria is a Queenstown local who grew up here and retains a strong connection to the area. After attaining an Outstanding Scholarship in English in her final year of high school she is currently studying towards her English degree (with honours) at the University of Sydney. She is passionate about the arts, especially drama, writing, and latterly, video game design.
This is the first piece in a regular series of fiction that we will be publishing to promote new and emerging talent. If you have a story you'd like to see the light, or an excerpt from an upcoming book, then please email me.