This is about a six-minute piece of flash I penned at the weekend.
I was twenty, invincible, and was admiring myself in my new, cream shirt.
Cool, I thought, staring into the mirror, and straightening my open collar. Reaching for the cheap hairbrush, I ran it through my short, dark hair one last time. Perfect. But, for luck, I dabbed an extra splash of aftershave. Lastly, I patted the unopened condom inside my wallet.
All set. I closed my bedroom door behind me, and striding purposefully into the lounge, I joined my housemates.
“Come on, pretty boy. You finally finished preening? We’re all waiting.” Delbert blew a kiss.
And coatless on this perfect May evening, we were off. Saturday night at the Student Union. Anticipating a fun time, we enjoyed the cooling end-of-day breeze as we meandered the two-miles into Bristol.
It wasn’t bad, our Student Union. They’d refurbished it only two years ago, although the beer spilled since ensured a certain “adhesion” when you walked the floor. It was cheap, too. Run by students, it was not-for-profit, and they kept the prices low. Even “townies” were enticed.
It had one drawback, though. Same old faces, every time. In terms of music and beer, we were satisfied. But for new people, we tempered our expectations.
Becky was a good example. I must have met her at the very start. Gorgeous, but there had never been that spark and we had settled as friends.
“Hiya, Becks, how’s it going? How’s your revision?” Most of us had exams to look forward to next month, so it was a safe bet.
“Bloody terrible. We had to get out tonight, or we’d have gone crazy.” I never tired of her Welsh lilt. “Have you met my flatmates?” By her side stood two women. Sian, I knew. I had a guilty recollection of trying to make out with her one drunken night.
The third, Lisa, stood behind Sian. I had never met her before – I would have remembered that dark beauty, I’m sure, not to mention lips which might have been drawn by Michelangelo. She wore a silky, cream blouse which nicely complemented my own shirt, but was quiet, distant, even. Despite her obvious good looks, I saw no personality, and as a complete package, she didn’t register. A “friend’s friend”.
On that note, and deciding that Sian might be best avoided, just in case, we went our separate ways.
As the night became later, so too it became more predictable. Late on, I bumped into Becks and Sian.
“We’ve had enough. We’re going home.” Before explaining that they *had* left coats in the cloakroom. With the 1AM chill factor, they were probably wiser than I. “We want to beat the rush.”
“Oh, by the way”, Becks added as an afterthought, “you haven’t seen Lisa, have you?” I hadn’t. “She wasn’t feeling well”, she reflected. “We think she left early.”
We bade our goodnights and I thought no more of the encounter.
Until slightly later. The end of the evening. With revellers milling around the cloakroom, badly situated right by the entrance, I was fighting my way through, when I was startled by her voice.
“Did you see Becky and Sian?”
Surprised, I replied, “Funnily enough, yes. They left half an hour ago. They thought you’d already gone.”
She looked embarrassed. “I didn’t feel well. I went to the restroom and fell asleep.”
I sobered up instantly. “Are you feeling okay now?”
“Umm… better, thanks.” She sounded unsure but nodded toward the cloakroom. “I need to collect my jacket.”
She was unconvincing, and I wasn’t done yet. “Where do you live?” I’m sure Becks had once told me, but it bounced off.
“Cavendish Place, off Whiteladies Road”. I knew it. About a mile and not too far out of my way.
I tried to sound commanding. “Okay. You get your coat. Then, come back here and we can walk home together.”
“Are you sure?” I wouldn’t have offered were I not.
We talked as we walked. Nothing unusual. Two people who just met. I learned a little about her, she learned a little about me. What I learned, I liked, but how much does one learn from a first conversation? Pleasant, certainly. Amiable, of course. Fun to talk to, for sure. But introverted, reserved, and I picked up that something was not right. Maybe this girl had more depth than I first thought? But, not tonight. Not my business. Tonight was about getting her home safely.
“Come on up?” She led the way into their first-floor flat, where I saw the others again, struck by the two o’clock munchies. Within seconds both the kettle and the toaster were fully operational.
“Nutella?”, asked Lisa.
“No wa… er… ”, recomposing, “no, thanks”. I’d never even tried it, it just seemed… wrong. Especially on toast. While she tried to twist my arm, I settled for spread and enjoyed my cuppa. But I was aware of the hour, and I was tired. I wanted my own bed.
“I’ll just come down and see you out”, she offered. On her doorstep, I turned back towards her, and we kissed goodnight.
I felt those lips touch mine.
Unexpected. Divine. Delicious. And long. Her lips lingered, and her mouth opened slightly. I was surprised, astonished even, but responded eagerly to her unexpected advance. Ecstatic, as I realised that the attraction was mutual, a million galaxies collided, there and then. And all of them, in her caress. The innocence, the anticipation, the promise… a once-in-a-lifetime combination.
Yes, I absolutely registered Lisa that night. And tasted my first Nutella.