He Said, She Said

I realise that my last couple of posts were a little bit sentimental and serious – I don’t know what’s come over me! Anyway, here’s a bittersweet tale of modern love to ease me back into the sublime, ridiculousness I intend on returning to… Enjoy.

‘It isn’t my fault!’ He said;

‘No, it never is.’ She said;

‘Oh, fuck off!’ was his return;

Louise said nothing; she didn’t have to. This was the part of the script that she always wrote and she knew the lines off-by-heart. It was just a matter of how long Jamie could resist predictability.

‘Did you book them?’ she asked.

‘Huh?’ Jamie smoked weed and wasn’t always dependable.

‘The tickets– you know? Did you sort them out?’

He could have remembered – he would have remembered – but she didn’t trust him.

‘Did I sort them out?! For the Weekender you mean?’

‘Yes’, she said.

‘O-oh, was this one of her oh-so-rare cock-ups?’ he thought;

‘You said you’d do it whilst I was gone. Didn’t you?’

‘“Didn’t you?” – Was she questioning herself here? Yes she was! She’s forgotten to get the tickets’ Jamie sensed a victory; ‘She’s not gonna twist this one around; No way’. He curbed his enthusiasm, placed his splif in its groove in the ashtray and braced himself to take command;

‘Babe; you said you’d do it on the way through town, I distinctly remember you saying that’; he tells her.

‘Yeah, but you said; “Don’t bother Babe, I’ll do it on the internet whilst you’re away”…’

‘Yes…’ Jamie interrupts – mustn’t loose his flow or get distracted… ‘…because I didn’t want you rushing to get to the station. But you said, “No, it’s alright, it’s on the way, it won’t take a minute…”’

‘Yeah but…’ She attempts an interception; – Not today – Jamie parry’s…

‘…YOU ALSO; – said – that I’d probably forget, so it’d be better if you did it; – Remember Babe? Remember when you said that? – ‘Smart bitch – I smoke weed, what’s your excuse?’ he thought.

She paused (she hated being called ‘Babe’ – but that wasn’t why she paused. She paused because for once she was losing and she needed the time-out to re-strategise).

‘So you didn’t get the tickets then, is that it?’ She said.

‘I didn’t get the tickets! I didn’t get the tickets! – Babe, you were supposed to get the tickets. Don’t try and put this one on me’; He had her this time. – Or did he?

‘Look, I’m not going to have a row about it. It’s always the same thing – I said, you said…’

‘…No no no – not this time…’

‘…Jamie, you do it all the time! You smoke a joint, get all confused and swear it was me.’

Despite his best efforts, Jamie was getting confused. He tried hard to remember whether he was right or not – and it was that moment of doubt that threw him off. He snatched the splif out of the ashtray and lit it, frowning hard in concentration.

‘No, Babe. Not this time – this isn’t my fault.’

‘It doesn’t matter…’

‘…It isn’t my fault! You said…’

‘…Jamie it doesn’t matter…’

‘…Yes it does! You always blame me – and you’re usually right, – but this time you’re not’

‘Look, just forget it. I’ll go on the internet and book them now, okay?’

‘It isn’t my fault!’

‘It never is’, she mutters under her breath.

‘Oh fuck off,’ he mutters under his.

Behind the glazed look on Jamie’s face he was seething with frustration. He was three-nil up at half time with everything going in his favour. Now, with the final whistle about to be blown she had managed to equalize – ‘Aaaaaaggh – the bitch!’ he thought, as his metaphor dragged its team off the pitch, arguing with the referee and bickering with each other as they walked down the tunnel past the disappointed fans and into the dressing room.

As Jamie leaves the room Louise smiles.

Jamie and Louise had been together for almost three years. They had come together via the archetypal 21st century mating ritual  –  bar, alcohol, sex, more sex, followed by getting to know each other. Whilst they were having fun, the time flew and weeks become months. The months became a year and when parental emigration made Jamie homeless, Louise let him move in.

Louise was a team leader peddling customer deflection and corporate tricks in a call centre. Jamie peddled classic vinyl in a second hand record shop. She was all assertiveness, management strategy and office politics. He was the ‘Er?’ in Slacker. She had never gone to University but had worked her way up into mid-management by the age of twenty-five. He had got a 2:2 in Art History after spending three years getting stoned to the soundtrack of rare grooves and electronica. She hadn’t had a boyfriend in almost three years. He hadn’t even noticed the last three years. On the surface Louise and Jamie couldn’t be more different; but in some perverse way they complimented each other.

Fate had brought them together on an end-of-month Friday night.  Their regular venue closed for refurbishment, Louise and her work colleagues had found themselves on the opposite side of town in a student bar that was having a promotional vodka night. Jamie was usually the resident DJ at ‘Carbon’, but that night he had taken off to take advantage of the free drinks, never expecting to take advantage of Louise too, who had quite frankly drank enough to be anybody’s; Not that she wasn’t attractive or that Jamie wasn’t desirable. Despite his lack of physical definition Jamie was quite a good-looking guy in a metro-sexual, floppy haired kind of way. He had the face of a young Mick Jagger and an unlikely style made attractive by the celebrity of Jarvis Cocker and Russell Brand, but now a de rigueur image in pop-culture. Although an unremarkable looking woman, Louise had legendary breasts and a well-presented cleavage – quite irresistible for any straight man to look at without at least a mild throb of enthusiasm. She had a stern look but not a stern face, but it was only when she was relaxed and dropped her guard that you would notice the difference. Blonde hair, hazel eyes and a body that Rubens would have called beautiful, but ‘Hello’ magazine wouldn’t have; she was a fuller woman no doubt.

The romantic details of how they met they will probably never remember. The alcohol, fuelled sex of that night they couldn’t forget and frequently repeated. Those prurient pleasures probably carried them through the first year, but there was more to it than a great pair of tits and a good shag. Despite their obvious differences, they did sort of… complete, each other.

She may have worked hard and done well, but she had few friends and knew her profession was soulless. Despite her organised, confident, persona, at least twice a week she would cry to herself in her lonely two-bedroomed designer apartment in the city centre. She would cry because she was overweight and lonely.

Jamie wouldn’t have smoked so much if he didn’t want to blur the edges of his underachievement and numb his feelings of insecurity. He would have loved to buy new things and live on an income rather than an overdraft, but he knew you needed drive and ambition to do that. You needed to take responsibility and make plans, and those were things that terrified him.

As individuals Jamie and Lou disliked themselves. As a couple they at least loved each other, sort of. So their relationship worked; sort of.

Louise booked the tickets then asked Jamie if he fancied eating out, as a sort of peace offering. He’d live off beans on toast if he had to, but she knew how much he liked a good meal;

‘So where do you want to eat then?’ she said.

‘I’m not arsed, whatever.’ he said.

‘Why can’t he ever make a decision?’ she thought.

‘McDonalds then?’ was her return

‘McDonalds!?’

‘Well you said you’re not arsed.’ She said.

‘Yeah but I don’t want McDonalds’

‘Then try making a decision then, dickhead,’ she thought to herself. Jamie did this whenever they would go to eat – go anywhere. He’d never commit to making the choice but be the first to complain if it wasn’t the right one.

‘Well what do you want to eat then?’ she said.

‘I’m not bothered, you decide.’ He replied (surprise, surprise).

‘I always decide and then you moan when we get there – “It’s too expensive, it’s too snobby, they don’t have anything you like, the menu’s foreign…”’

‘Alright, alright! – Turkish; That’s what I want.’

Louise was surprised. Was this a trick? ‘Okay, Turkish it is.’, she said.

‘Then, I think we should go out for a drink and a bit of a dance’ he continued, ‘It’s Friday, I’m not in work tomorrow, we’ll get pissed on cheap Vodka’s, stagger home and…’ As he went on to tell her what they were going to do that night, Louise felt warm and happy and very much in love with her skinny, little, layabout, boyfriend who worked in a record shop, smoked too much weed and knew how to rub her up the wrong way; and the right way.