Short fiction and serialised novellas of GJ Fairlamb

Archive for February 2013

Savage Writing: Fourteen

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Theme for this week is Fourteen. Am uploading this early so I can read it from here during the meet. 

Fourteen minutes past four a.m. Fourteen eyebrow hairs standing vertically as he lay asleep on the bed. An akward number, fourteen, like how it was an awkward age to be – the age where everyone had greasy hair and spots and both loved and hated the opposite sex. Fourteen, not decimal, barely divisible, only splitting into two sevens. Like when a chauvinist goes to a bar and sees two women he considers unacceptably normal-looking, and says to his friend ‘But put ’em together and you get a fourteen!’ as if he could easily convince two women that they are so unacceptable that only being together for his benefit would counteract their deficiencies.

Ten. I had decided to go out to the party. A drunken flat gathering where everyone met friends of everyone else. Ten-fifteen, I had finished two drinks and had therefore drunk enough that I could get everyone else off my back about drinking. I drank coke the rest of the night and acted loud and stupid and watched everyone else disintegrate, laughing inside, knowing that I was having fun and wouldn’t pay for it tomorrow.

Eleven. I saw him talking to a group of guys I know and dislike, and decided that he fit among them and so I shouldn’t bother to talk to him. Eleven-fifteen, we bumped into each other and he offered me a tea towel from the kitchen to wipe it up, laughing since I only managed to smear day-old pasta sauce from the towel over the coke on my t-shirt. We started complaining about messy kitchens, and kept talking about how much we hated dirt, even as he put his hand in the grease on the hob. He didn’t move it, as if he didn’t want to interrupt us, but I could tell he was shuddering inside, so I gave him the tea-towel back and we laughed about that too.

Twelve. A bunch of the crowd decided it was time to hit the clubs, and I expected him to go. We had barely moved from the kitchen the whole time. He said he was going to go with them, and I was disappointed but said okay, knowing that a man’s friends are more important than anything and that their whining always trumps a girl’s. Twelve-fifteen, I was talking to a friend when he reappeared at my side, saying he had changed his mind, that they had changed which place they were going to go to and he didn’t like that kind of club so he thought he’d stay. We talked about music for the next while.

One. People were playing drinking games, and spilling secrets. I let out that I wasn’t drinking, and no-one believed me. Thank God, he said beside me. One-fifteen, he admitted that he was glad I wasn’t talking to him just because I was drunk. A girl like me, he said, never normally talks to a guy like him. I said no but he was right.

Two. Everyone was winding down. I’d held my friend’s hair back as she puked, and put her in her bed, and since it was her party, that signalled the end. Taxis were called. “I’m going to walk home,” he said, “since I’ve no money for a taxi.” This is it, I knew. “You can share one with me,” I said. “Okay,” he said, with no indication of where he lived and whether it would be going in the right direction or not. Two-fifteen he got in the taxi with me.

Three. We lay about naked, talking about life, and people, and the kind of stereotypes you can make based on appearances, and how they’re wrong but you stick to them anyway because they seem right the majority of the time. Three-fifteen we decided we were hungry so we got up and made french toast in the kitchen, him wearing my bathrobe, still talking. We got egg everywhere and laughed about being hypocrites.

Four. He fell asleep.

Fourteen is an awkward number. I watched him sleep, and I counted every freckle he had and every mole and every stray hair in his eyebrows, until the bedside clock clicked past fourteen, and onto fifteen. Then I lay down next to him, and at four-fifteen I fell asleep in his arms.


Written by G.J.

06/02/2013 at 7:00 pm