Unravelling, p.1
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           G. M. Worboys
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Unravelling
Unravelling

  by G. M. Worboys

  Published by G. M. Worboys

  Website: gmworboys.com

 

  First published July-2015

 

 

  Copyright © 2015 G. M. Worboys

 

  G. M. Worboys has asserted his right to be identified as the author of this work.

 

  This book may be reproduced, copied and distributed for non-commercial purposes provided that the book remains in its complete original form.

  Unravelling

  She wrote to me again last night. You can't imagine how that makes me feel. I could just burst with happiness now that she knows I exist. More than that, she even seems to like me. Me!

  It was a simple post onto my wall. None of my friends paid much attention. A few of them liked it but nothing more. If only they knew how important she was to me. But what do they know? A Facebook friend isn't really a friend. But she is. She, who I have never touched, is more real to me than any of my other friends.

  I tried again to follow her post back, to see if I could find her page, but it doesn't work. I only come back to my own page. I don't know how she does that. I knew she must be clever, but I never expected her to know so much about the Internet.

  The post included a photo. She's standing on the edge of the forest, the bright green grass beneath her wonderfully bare feet. One of those tiny blue birds is flying near her shoulder singing to her – I can almost hear it. She is smiling that same bright, innocent smile I first fell in love with.

  It's a photo from earlier on, when her hair was longer. It's darker and shorter now. Not quite the spectacular feature it was, but still very cute. And, of course, her face hasn't changed. Those impossibly large, emerald green eyes. I get lost in them every time.

  There's no sign of E. in the photo. I take that as a good sign. Not that I wish her any unhappiness, I just think she would be better off without him. I want to tell her that she shouldn't expect too much of E. He's not going to change. Men don't.

  Oh sure, E. is handsome. But that can't be that important to her or she wouldn't have friended me. She will have seen the photos of me on my page. The Harry Potter glasses wouldn't be so bad if I looked remotely like Harry Potter. The lenses are very thick, most of the time I look more like a lizard searching for flies than I do the valiant Harry. Maybe that's what attracted her to me, I know she has a thing for lizards.

  I'd love to talk to her, to hear that sweet voice speaking words meant only for me. I got really brave after her third post and in the comments I asked if she could give me her phone number. You know what she answered? “I don't have a phone, silly.” Imagine that. No phone. I shouldn't have been surprised, but I was.

  I told Michael about her today. I didn't mean to. It just sort of slipped out. Things often do when Michael and I get talking.

  “Where did you meet her?” he asks in that way he has.

  “At the theatre,” I tell him. And it's true, though “meet” is perhaps an exaggeration. I saw her so briefly, but I knew right away she was special. I kept going back, again and again. I couldn't get enough. But I don't tell Michael this, I know he thinks I spend too much time watching movies. He doesn't understand.

  “Will you be seeing her again?”

  “Oh yes,” I tell him. But it won't be at the theatre, she doesn't go there any more.

  “That's good,” Michael approves. “It sounds like progress.” He knows how much trouble I have meeting people these days. It's why he thinks going to the theatre so much isn't good for me. But if I hadn't been at the theatre it might have been months before I saw her. I shudder at the thought of the time that might have been wasted.

  “And how's your job hunting going, Joe?” Michael asks me.

  “Joseph,” I murmur. I don't like “Joe” any more. She calls me Joseph.

  “What?”

  I tell him about my last job interview. “I don't think he liked me much,” I finish. And I don't. The old man across the desk had looked at me very strangely. I'm pretty sure he doesn't like lizards, not even cute ones. She thinks I'm cute.

  “And what next?”

  “I have another. Day after tomorrow. A restaurant.”

  Michael frowns at that. I know what he's thinking: too many people for me all at once.

  “It's out the back,” I reassure him. “Stacking boxes and cleaning up and stuff.”

  He nods sagely. “Do you think you'll like doing that?”

  I shrug. “It's only a couple of days a week.”

  My eyes flick to the clock, I'll have to go soon.

  “When do you think you will see … did you tell me her name?” he asks innocently.

  I hadn't. We both know that. “I'd rather not.”

  He raises an eyebrow.

  “I feel like it might jinx things.”

  He nods agreeably, but I know he's curious. “Do you have plans?”

  “I'll take it slow,” I tell him. “I don't want to scare her off.”

  “I think that's wise,” he agrees.

  We stand and Michael sees me to the door, like a friend.

  “I'll see you next week,” I say, and wave.

  He raises his hand and nods.

  She wrote to me again last night. Another simple message on my wall. I am so pleased that she feels she can confide in me, especially now when she is so much in need of comforting.

  The photo she posted is heartbreaking in its sadness. Her delicate eyebrows pinched together, her large eyes glistening with tears. Her entire visage telling me just how betrayed she feels. E. has disappeared. Done a bunk. Her parents are trying to console her, but she has looked to me for solace. I try as best I can.

  Some of my Facebook friends made sarcastic remarks. I quickly unfriended and blocked them. I don't want her seeing how cruel some people can be.

  I tell her that E. is probably just taking a break. Getting some air. It can't be easy to cut yourself off from your old friends and from a lifestyle of such freedom. That is what I said, but I don't really believe it. I don't think E. is ever going to give her the dedication and attention that she deserves. I ask her if there is anything I can do for her. If she gave me an address then perhaps I can send her something to cheer her up.

  She tells me that she knows I am not rich, that it is my company and support that she craves, not gifts. She is very sweet.

  I ask her if she can use Skype or GoogleTalk, some way that we could talk more naturally than through messages on my wall.

  There is the sense of a sad sigh in her response. She says it is not possible.

  I wanted to press her for reasons, but it was not the right time. If the wall is all we have, then the wall will have to be enough. I stayed up most of the night reading and re-reading our brief conversation.

  “What are you doing?” comes the raised voice of an irate woman.

  I turn to see who she is speaking to. Me!

  The woman is staring at what is in my hand. I look to see if my phone has turned turned into something horrific. But it is still just a phone.

  “What?” I ask her.

  “What are you doing?” she asks again.

  I look back at the lantern I had balanced on the narrow shelf, and then again at my phone. “Taking a photo.” I feel silly stating such an obvious fact.

  “You can't do that!”

  I frown at the phone – it seems better not to frown at the woman.

  She brushes past me and lifts the delicate paper lantern from the shelf. I worry she will crush it. I become encased in a cloud of strong perfume. I feel like it's choking me.

  “Are you going to buy this?” The woman ho
lds the lantern up in one hand.

  I want to tell her to be careful, the lantern is fragile, but I can't get a breath.

  There must be something in my look. The woman takes a step back. She's not that tall, she only seems that way in her anger. There is nothing sweet about the pursing of this woman's lips, nor gentle in those glaring eyes. “Are you?” the woman repeats.

  The air has cleared a little now, I can breathe again. I fumble in my back pocket and pull out my thin wallet. “How much is it?” I ask.

  The woman tells me.

  I open my wallet and look inside. The last note lies there lonely in the dark depths of the leather. I had spent all day searching for something like this lantern. I had walked for miles. I only wanted a picture of it. I can't send the lantern to her, if I could I would buy it without another thought, but I can put a photo of it on my wall.

  “We take credit cards,” the woman says.

  I shake my head. I did have a card, once, but it doesn't work any more. This last note of cash was going to buy food on the way home. I think about what's in the cupboard. There's some spaghetti I think, and there's still some butter left, you don't have to have sauce.

  “Could this be enough?” I ask, holding up the note. I wasn't trying to beg, but I needed that lantern.

  The woman's face frowned and then softened. Maybe she wasn't so bad. “All right.” She plucks the note from my hand. She holds the lantern well forward so I don't have to get too close to her.

  I take it gently.

  “Would you like a bag for it?”

  I nod.

  I wouldn't have taken the bus even if I had the money for it, I didn't want to be jostled with my delicate parcel. But I had walked a long way today. It
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