Doctor Diabolical and I decided to collect some ideas and write on them.
Here is the first one.
The Doc’s story: L’Appel Du Vide
I had earlier distinguished the approaching footsteps. So when the words were uttered, I was not in the least bit surprised. One part of me had been silently begging that she wouldn’t come to check. The other settled in relief. Then again, if I wasn’t anywhere, I was here. So her being here was inevitable. The whole of me knew that.
“Greetings tend to run along the lines of ‘Hello’, ‘Good Day’, and their variations. Hopefully yours doesn’t catch on,” I simply replied.
“Oh. Well then, I beg your pardon, Sir Wise-ass.”
She sat down next to me.
“And why do you sound like a pretentious piece of shit? It’s like you’re reciting a script.” she probed.
I had half the mind to remark that I had never heard shit speak, but I back-pedalled. I was in no mood to talk. Honestly, I wanted to rest my head on her shoulders and dose off. My heart was beating like a blacksmith’s hammer. Only, it was hasty and imprecise. On a level, the pounding seemed exhausted.
It was around eleven at night. I had forgotten my watch behind but I recall having earlier heard a distant bell chiming eleven times. I may have counted wrong though. I had been distracted momentarily by the barking of a dog.
The moon had been peeking furtively through the fog. But as the latter began to disperse, the moon shoved its way through the clouds and illumined a major part of the world, along with the fact that the dispersing fog held fort in a seemingly solid soul, sat on a dewy park bench, warmed a little by a street lamp a little way away.
“What are you talking about? I am completely fine,” I weakly claimed, well aware of my current situation.
“All right. I guess you sitting here in an informal jacket, shirt, and pants – all alone, might I add – is the definition of everything being spiffing.”
She frowned. I didn’t see her face. In all this time, I had glanced at her once – when she had sat down. I just sensed it. And I knew I was right.
“You stood her up, didn’t you?”
“Yeah,” I answered regretfully.
“It took you three months to confess, another two for a date, because she was out of town, and you stood her up? You’re head over heels for her! I even came up with an awesome name for the two of you.”
“Don’t worry. I’m still head over heels for her.”
“Don’t worry? You just stood her up. What the hell is wrong with you? You’ve most likely lost a terrific match!”
“I know. I’ll make it up to her.”
I had actually messaged her to postpone. It slipped my mind to mention it.
“You may not get the chance!”
She was frustrated. I finally looked at her before she got really mad. She was wearing a short blue dress. I recognised it as the one she picked out first and decided to buy six shops and twenty three dresses later, when she had dragged me shopping. She was also wearing an overcoat. Mine, actually. I had been asking for it back for a week now. I’d get it back soon. I would make sure of it.
We both had had dates that night. I used it to change the direction of the conversation.
“How was yours?”
“Mine? It was great,” she said in a huff, “But what the hell is up with you?”
I took off my spectacles and rubbed my eyes.
“Not now, please,” I requested. I was tired.
“Then when? You haven’t been home in four days!” she said. However, she decided against pushing it, much to my relief.
There was a short pause.
“I was at Joe’s,” I began explaining.
I wanted to get up and shout. I wanted to shout that I didn’t know what the hell was wrong with me. I wanted to swear. I wanted to kick and punch and cry.
I wanted to feel comfortable. I wanted my pressured heart to ease.
And I suppose she noticed because she stopped me short by pulling something out of her handbag. She placed the object between us and took out her phone.
Music began to play.
It was Ivy & Gold by Bombay Bicycle Club.
“Come, dance with me,” she said.
“You can’t dance to this song!” I asserted.
She tried. It was actually more of a stumble. I suppressed a laugh. About twenty seconds in, she gave up, and changed the song.
This time it was James Blunt’s Wisemen.
“Jeez. You can’t dance to this song either!”
“Fine! You choose then!” she said, throwing the phone to me.
I caught it, luckily.
I flicked through her playlists.
“Whatever you do, don’t play Right Here Waiting,” she said.
“You really think after all that happened, I’d play that?”
She just smiled, twirling impatiently. There was a café across from the park. Its lights reached where she stood. That, along with the moonlight filtering through the branches, placed her in a bewitching spotlight. A smile slipped across my cheeks. I was beginning to feel better.
I had narrowed down my search to three songs. It was tough. All of them were great songs. But a few seconds of swiping later, a guitar was playing.
“Crimson and Clover!” she exclaimed.
“Yes,” I laughed.
“Come on, dance with me!” she requested, trying to pull me from my seat.
“No. You go on.”
She was a difficult person to say no to. She pulled hard and I foundered to my feet. I continued foundering.
“Exhibit A. I cannot dance,” I pointed out.
“Well, you’re stumbling with the wrong girl,” she stated.
I halted. My heart was still a blacksmith’s hammer. I wondered if it was precise now. It was faster for sure.
“Let’s go,” I said.
If she sensed something, she didn’t mention it. She nodded, paused the song, and packed away the speaker.
We walked home, arms around each other’s shoulders. She was whisper-singing the lyrics ‘Crimson and Clover’ over and over. I was glad I had not played Neil Young. I looked up and saw the late September moon. It was full. It was glorious. For some reason, the thought popped into my head that I would never make a good farmer.
I looked at her. She still had my overcoat.