This is the first part of a fiction serial, in 635 words.
I remember the afternoon when Becky finished with me like it was yesterday. Perhaps that’s because it was yesterday.
She turned her back on me after she told me to go, and refused to turn around and discuss it further. I thought about pleading. You know, the usual stuff.
“But I don’t understand”.
“What have I done wrong?”
“Can’t we just sit and talk about it?”
They all ran through my head, but I decided against any of them. Something about her posture, or perhaps just how her hair looked so thick as she ran her hand through it, but I had only just noticed, I don’t know. I sort-of understood, even though I wasn’t happy about it. I picked up my car keys.
“Okay, I will crash at Luke’s tonight, and get some more of my stuff tomorrow, when you’re at work”.
She stood stock still, without turning or replying. I wondered if she was crying.
I hoped she was crying.
“I will take that as a yes then”.
I drove to Luke’s in a dream, and can’t remember the journey at all. He was fine about it of course, always happy to have the company. Secretly pleased to have his best friend back, he carefully avoided any I-told-you-sos, and went into the kitchen to get us both a beer. When he suggested a curry be delivered later, and he had a new game to play on the Playstation, I nodded without adding a comment.
“Your usual? Lamb Pasanda, Garlic Naan, and boiled rice?”
A nod. I had already finished the first beer, and he went to get me another one.
“Got the latest Red or Dead game too, if you fancy that?”
Another nod. I didn’t have the heart to tell him we were too old for video games now.
“Or we could watch a DVD. You know I have dozens you will never have seen. I got a great Chinese martial arts one last week. I’ve already watched it twice, but more than happy to see it again”.
Another nod. Had he forgotten I hated martial arts films?
He sat back down, looking awkward, sipping the beer through the bottle top. I had known him since we were five years old, and there were times I seriously doubted that he had ever grown up. He was wearing a heavy metal t-shirt that was so tight, it was lifting up showing his belly. And he didn’t even like heavy metal. His flat was like a tip, and smelled of his trainers which were arranged in a row along one wall. He loved to wear those trainers, and I couldn’t remember a time when he had worn anything else.
Except at our wedding of course. I told him not to show up as my best man unless he was wearing proper shoes.
“I can sleep on the sofa, Frankie, you can have the bed. Then I won’t disturb you when I get up for work”.
Another nod. I was wondering how dirty the sheets would be.
He had called me Frankie, just like Becky did. Becky and Frankie. I wouldn’t be hearing that anymore.
My parents always called me Fran, and pronounced it ‘Frarn’. I hated that, as it made me sound like a girl. They had named me Francis after grandad Frank, Mum’s dad. I had never even met the man, and I was stuck with his stupid name forever.
I ate my curry as I watched Luke trying in vain to kill cowboys on his Playstation game. After finishing the sixth beer, I told him I was having an early night, and got my stuff from the rucksack.
I was right about his bedding, so I slept on top of the bed, covered by my coat.
Not that I got much sleep.