Creative Writing

 ‘Always the bridesmaid and never the bride’ is probably the phrase that comes to mind when most people, especially my mother, think about my love life. However, it’s not, thankfully, how I would describe it. A little lacking at times, yes! Embarrassing most of the time, definitely, but never would I say it was non-existent.

 Everybody knows that one person who gets set up on a million dates, complains that no man wants her and then rejects anyone who attempts to take things further, well this person is me! Hello. I am Sophia, I’m 21 and I work in a boutique, selling overpriced items to over-privileged wives on near minimum wage and this is my not so ordinary love story.

Firstly, a quick introduction is in order. I would consider myself as being single for the last 3 ½ years, not because I don’t want a relationship, and not because nobody has offered me one, but simply because I am ‘picky’, as my best friend Claire would describe me.

“A guy isn’t going to want someone who you can never want back,” Claire frustratingly explains to me “You have to at least pretend you’re interested, otherwise you may as well just stay at home and admit to yourself that you are destined to be a lonely old spinster”

I looked her up and down; tall, tanned, slim and a conversationalist. A woman who has never had any problem with men, a woman who has never had to worry about a guy not being her ‘Prince Charming’ because she’s not looking for him yet. Is it so wrong that I am? Should I just sit there and listen to the stories of various peoples mundane lives before choosing a suitable mate who I will one day marry, have children with and eventually have a breakdown because I found him in bed with his 25 year-old secretary, although I am not crying because I loved him, but truly I am crying because I realise I have wasted most of my life with a man I never really wanted?  I don’t want that. I don’t know what I want but I know that it’s not that.

I can see Claire’s point though, I can! First dates are always horrible, especially formal ones. Perhaps I have met my ‘Mr. Perfect’, it’s not impossible to consider the fact that I had a date with the man I was destined to marry, if you believe in destiny.

“If he was really the guy for me then he wouldn’t mind if I didn’t come across as ‘keen’, he would perhaps even appreciate the fact I’m quiet.” I challenge Claire, unfortunately for me she isn’t fazed.

“Sophia Louise Warwick I am your best friend! Do you really think I am going to believe for one second that you seriously think ‘whatever ever will be, will be’ Que Sera, Sera my arse! And as for being ‘quiet’ you are fooling no one, not quiet or shy or reserved. You are just coming across as stubborn and no man wants a stubborn woman.” Sometimes I feel like Claire imagines we’re in the 19th century with her ideas on dating and then I remember that really it’s me with the wrong ideas. If dating was like how I imagine it should be I would walk into a room full of desirable men, choose my top 5 and go on a date, of my choice, with each of them. After much consideration I would decide which man is a suitable match, who of course would be Ryan Gosling, and we would then run off together and not worry about anything else. Unfortunately this is not how love works, it’s not easy like that.

The last date I went on was with an actor, which sounds amazing until you realise that he’s 44, balding and possibly the most narcissistic man you’ll ever come across. Adam was his name and if I think hard
enough I could probably tell you every mile stone he’s reached  throughout his entire life, this was not due to the fact we had an ‘in-depth conversation about our lives because we found an unbreakable connection between us where we instantly felt comfortable together and wanted to share personal information’ as Claire would later attempt to convince me. The real reason I know far more about Adam than was necessary was because I didn’t get a word in all night.

I was first introduced to the idea of a date with Adam at the end of what felt like a very long winter. Living in England you tend to find the winters are long, I remember thinking that the idea of a date with an actor would be nice, something to take my mind off the bills I was now facing thanks to Christmas, how wrong I was.

I’d had a busy day at the boutique I work in and my boss, Amelia, who I am really quite close to, decided to confide in me. Due to the fact we are not normally ‘heaving’ with customers we tend to close the shop for an hour so we can have our lunch break together, I think this is why we get on so well. I have worked there for 2 years now, I got a job there in my second year at university, and I tell her everything about my love life. In that hour lunch together we get talking about all sorts but this I wasn’t ready for.

“I’m leaving him!” She declared as soon as I had turned the door sign around to read ‘Sorry, we’re closed’. As I slowly turned to face her I racked my brain trying to think of what to say. We were close but we weren’t that close. As I look her in the eyes I notice a thin layer of tears forming. She’s turned a whiter shade of pale, as she struggled to hold eye contact with me I could see her bottom lip begin to quiver. As I stood in front of her I couldn’t help but be reminded of a child who’s just dropped their ice-cream on the floor. Although I knew that this was more important than a ruined ice-cream, inside, to Amelia, it felt exactly the same. A sick feeling in the pit her stomach, her heart in her throat, numbness running through her body, constantly thinking about everything but never concluded to anything. In the case of a child who has dropped their ice-cream they will look to their mum, they know they have done wrong but they are still asking for forgiveness, for a sense of reassurance and indication that they shouldn’t happen and that these things happen. Was  I who Amelia was looking to, was she asking me for forgiveness?

“Who?” I managed to reply after a few seconds of silence. Even I had a face of disbelief, what did I mean who? There could only be one person she was referring to, she wouldn’t get this choked up over informing me she was changing gardener. No, this was much more important. This was her husband; I knew it before the words had even left her mouth, but it still made me feel sick when she said the words.

“Paul, I’m leaving Paul!”, with that Amelia turned a full 180˚ and walked slowly into the back room, where we would normally sit together and discuss today’s news and laugh at each other trying to understand politics.

Instead of sitting to eat her lunch; an egg and cress sandwich, a strawberry nutri-grain bar and 2 oranges, the same every day, Amelia walked past the large oak table and picked up her coat and scurried out the back door. She just left me standing by the front window. Was I supposed to follow her? This woman, my boss and my friend, had just told me her deepest, darkest secret, a secret which could and would essentially change her life completely, and then she left me there without giving me a chance to respond. As a child my mother would practice social etiquette lessons on me, although we did not have the money for me to attend any formal lessons it was important to her that I knew the basics at least, but this situation was not in any of the lessons I could recall…..

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