Valentine’s

On the train on my way back from work a couple of years ago on the evening before Valentine’s. The girl opposite me answers her phone (I can only hear her side of the conversation):

“Hi, yes.”

“Yes, I did.”

“Well, if not tomorrow, I thought maybe Friday night.”

“Oh. Oh. Yes, I’m tired too. I’ve been in and out of meetings all day. That’s … why I wanted to go out.”

“Well, there’s Mark’s on Saturday.”

“Why not?”

“Well, I know you don’t, but I told him we would.”

“No. I know. Me too.”

“It’s just that I wanted to do something. Didn’t want to just stay in.”

“I guess. It just sometimes feels like you … don’t want to make the effort.”

“No. No … I guess I’m just looking for some … indication. Something from you.”

“No. Look. You haven’t sent me a card, have you? It’s like I have to make all the effort and I don’t get anything back.”

“No, you don’t.”

“Look, I’m on the train. I’ll call you.”

“No.”

“No.”

“No.”

“I’ve got to go. No.” She hangs up and puts her phone in her bag.

Her phone rings. She digs it out of her bag, looks at the number and switches it off.

– xxx –


Published by Peter Runkel

Being quite reserved, I have always been interested in those people at the other end of the spectrum - the ones with an unswerving self-belief, sometimes apparently quite out of proportion to their abilities. I wanted to be like them - their lives seemed so much easier by comparison. Now, having thought about it, I’m not so sure I do. I think they have also got it wrong, just in the equal and opposite way. And it's actually about finding some sort of balance.

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