gaping flaws

“You should just fuck off right now,” she said, calm and ferocious.
There was a pause while Barry floundered, trying to think.  His brain was frozen though.  He had nothing.  She was totally right.   He was an unpleasant human.  Having inhaled to say something, he exhaled nothing, turned on his heel and felt in his back pocket for the cloakroom ticket.  He made for the cloakroom, collected his jacket and left, not looking back once.

It had been a strange week.  One which he’d decided to tackle aggressively in meeting new people, rather than staying in and moaning about being miserable and lonely and not having many friends.  He knew he could do it: go out and meet folk.  Valentines week is a magnet for other lonely souls too, makes it acceptable; so go on, give it a go.

On Tuesday evening Barry attended a speed dating event.  Not his first, but his first in around eighteen months.  He tried not to get nervous, then predictably got quite nervous but got through it.  A pleasant enough evening but only one girl really took his fancy; the last he saw.  She was nice, he thought.  We’ll call her A.  There were a few others he wasn’t partial to, he’d ticked several, but A was the nicest.  Having said that, Barry wasn’t blown away or taken aback by any them.  It had still been an enjoyable evening.  An online portal revealed late the next day that A also ticked him, and he sent her an email, not expecting much.

Barry decided that as well as the Tuesday speed dating event, he’d also attend a singles party on the Saturday, in the centre of town.  It was a numbers game, after all.

Between times, he attended a couple of professional networking events, on Thursday evening and Friday morning.  On the Friday he saw a couple of people he didn’t know but recognised from the previous evening’s event.  One of these was an attractive woman who Barry was immediately smitten with.  Let’s call her B.  B was a writer with arty interests but who had ended up writing industrial copy, like him.  She didn’t seem to mind.  A twangy transatlantic accent, easy to make laugh, attractive in a subtle, unstriking way, a handful of years older, perhaps.  He gave her his card but did nothing more and accepted nothing in return.  She proved untraceable online, particularly as he only had a first name to go on.  Barry slunk into momentary pining.  She had been lovely.

Saturday evening came around. Barry told other singletons at the event that he’d had back-up for that event.  But he had bailed on him at the last minute when his girlfriend’s plans had changed.  His imaginary mate hadn’t told his girlfriend that he was going to attend the event, you see.  Barry told this story several times and almost convinced himself it was true.  People chuckled and sympathised, considered him brave.  It helped him ally with a couple of other guys.  During the evening he saw a couple of girls from the previous Tuesday’s event, neither of whom he had selected  One he’d thought scarily livewire, the other he’d thought nice but a few years older and not too interested.  So he hadn’t ticked her.  Let’s call her C.  C was tall, short blonde hair; words like ‘brassy’ and ‘sassy’ could be applied, very east Laandan, rapidly approaching young middle age.  He avoided their gaze as he walked past them the first time, but acknowledged them with a faint wave on the second.  It was returned.  Amongst the people Barry spoke to at the event were a couple of students: one Spanish and well into her thirties; and another, let’s call her D who barely looked to have dented her twenties but was the fortunate recipient of some incredible genes, little off 30.  Barry sank badly for D.  She was angelic, short, a cherubic face, hispanic but dynamic, an intelligence about her.  Barry was conscious of dividing his attention equally between her friend and her, believed he made good impressions after their first chat.  This feeling was reinforced when they appeared to seek him out on the dancefloor later on.  Barry had been moving awkwardly to some music with new found male allies, whom he soon dropped upon D’s reappearance.  Conversation continued smoothly, polite and respectable.  They spoke of dancing (Barry self deprecatingly); then numbers and cards were exchanged.  Barry heard himself saying that he would be interested in learning salsa dancing.  He would have said anything.  “Yes, I’d be up for a tour of duty in Afghanistan,” he would probably have said, if she had suggested it.  These were attractive females who appeared to have an interest in him, and he had imbibed a drink or several.  After exchanging numbers, they politely divorced themselves from him and said they’d be back shortly.  Ok, Barry smiled, he wasn’t going to stand on the dancefloor on his own waiting for them to get back, and soon found himself chatting again to C again, the older blonde girl from the speed dating.  They spoke for a while, appeared to get on well.  She grew more positive in her movements and eye contact, and it wasn’t too long before Barry and her were making out like high school students, hands everywhere.  He’d thought C was attractive enough at the event, but not really that interested in him; pleasant enough, but an air of general disinterest.  Now she appeared slightly drunk and giggly, and almost as if she were mocking him at times.  But he might’ve been being paranoid, and didn’t care anyway.  He didn’t get this sort of attention that much, although he was finding her biting, lunging style of kissing rather strange.  This could even be leading somewhere, Barry thought after a while.  They were talking nonsense and drinking between times.  This went on for twenty minutes or so.  Then suddenly, critically and from nowhere, the angelic D flitted back into view with her friend.  Barry hadn’t known it, but he’d convinced himself that they had gone, or had magically just ceased to exist for a bit while he was here, engaged like this.  But no, here she was, her lovely back moving towards the dancefloor with her friend.  The chances were high that she’d seen him adhesively stuck to C at some point in the last twenty minutes.  It slowly registered that they would have almost certainly witnessed his last half hour’s activity.  “Oh, shit, she’s still here,” Barry couldn’t help himself saying out loud over C’s shoulder.  His face fell at the sight of her shape, his grip on C’s waist slackened.  C saw Barry’s face and released herself from him completely.  “Are you embarrassed of me now?” she asked, acid, piercing, disgusted.  Erm, a bit? Barry thought, but knew he couldn’t say that.  It didn’t matter anyway: it was exactly what his stupid transparent face said.  Why couldn’t he have pretended, tried to conceal his disappointment?  Oh bugger, Barry thought.  He’d just screwed up in a pretty enormous way, hadn’t he?  Both fairly good opportunities; both now null and void.  Special work, that is Barry.  You fucking idiot.  He looked at C again, one last time, the face he’d been exploring freely for the last half hour.  Not a bad one.  ““You should just fuck off right now,” she said, quite correctly.  God, Barry, you’re such a tit.  There was nothing he could say, so he said nothing and walked towards the cloakroom.


One Response to gaping flaws

  1. Pingback: eeny meeny miny mo « Swashbuckled

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