Saturday, 12 May 2018

A short story post to remind myself that I am a writer.
 
 
The Unsolicited Matchmaker
 
“You both like Shakespeare," she says pushing him down into the over soft couch beside me, resulting in me toppling slightly into his side. I struggle to right myself with one hand, the other hand occupied with a serving of raw fish salad. The coconut milk sloshes precariously toward the rim of the plastic plate. I’m dangerously off balance.
 
I pull my gaze from the view out the window of the sea  in the distance, beyond the tidy graves that populate the cemetery next door to the warm and friendly town house I am visiting. The weather is closing in. I try to right myself as I glance at the middle aged man in corduroy and a tartan scarf who has invaded the space to my right.
 
Without pause he launches into his vague impressions of the recent production of The Merchant of Venice he saw at the Pop-Up Globe. He was focused on a characters beard and the idea of someone having to supply the bearded one with a pound of flesh. “Shylock.” I hiss under my breath.
 
 He was glancing in my direction but unable to distinguish my features so instead his eyes roamed the room looking for visible women. There were plenty. Plenty of highly competitive, outrageously smart, bright young women that had a resolution he could register, unlike the women his age who were now nothing more than pixilated smudges of their previous form.
 
"How do you know our mutual friends?' I asked gesturing to the room of happy people.  We were gathered to celebrate the Sunday afternoon housewarming of one of my beautiful and bright young colleagues. I accompanied the query with a smile. I have an attractive smile. He did not answer, but continued his monologue.
 
I waved my arms desperately gesturing for urgent assistance as if drowning and a sparkling young woman I did not know handed me a large glass of wine. I threw back the wine as  I realised he could neither hear nor see me at all.  My voice  was the wrong tone, pitch, cadence or  accent. Even my once attractive smile could no longer cut through the softening of my face and figure. My wit and warmth were no longer enough to give me substance.
 
 He spoke without pause in the manner of an amateur dramatist. The bright young friend who had so clumsily staged the encounter circles back to our corner. His eyes light up and his voice grows louder with her approach.  He is projecting.
“You never introduced us,” I say to her.
“Didn’t I?" she responds laughing.
 "This is Rupert. He is an artist. He made a series of tiny animals from the skin of his mothers dog. So clever. Then he was commissioned to do an installation for the council so he put all the animals into a miniature petting zoo. You must know the ones  He’s lives in the city, don't you you clever thing. Absolutely everyone knows Rupert?” She laughs vivaciously and he chuckles lecherously while his eyes remained locked on hers.
 
“ And this is just Kate,” I hear her say as I drift down the driveway into a foggy oblivion, leaving nothing but a faint impression in an unaccommodating two-seater.

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