He lifted his hand to his head to push back his hair, and his fingers returned back down by his side accompanied by the moistness of sweat. “Christ,” he muttered to himself. “Sorry. You’d think I’d never done this before.” She laughed in response; but not in a cruel or mocking way. She thought it was sweet. Her laugh was loud, like she was trying to make sure everyone within a mile radius know she was amused.
“I’m a wee bit nervous too. It’s okay. I don’t think it matters how many dates you’ve been on, you’ll always be nervous.” She laughed again. He tried not to grimace. “Even just a wee bit. That’s my philosophy, anyway.”
He smiled and nodded to be polite, and added a little “I agree”, but internally he was having a totally different conversation. He was frustrated. Granted, similar to what she had said, you’re always going to be even a little bit nervous over something big; you have to do this well and there isn’t any room for errors, but he felt slightly different with this girl than he had with the others. He felt hopeful. Maybe she was going to be one to remember. Maybe this time wouldn’t end up like the rest. Yes. He could put the deafening laugh aside. Maybe this was finally it. But for now, he decided, there was no point dwelling on it. Not until he got to know her better at least.
He put it to the back of his mind and continued to follow through with the mental plan he had made to make the night as perfect as things like this could be.
“Are you enjoying the food?” Her mouth was full when he asked so she only nodded enthusiastically. He gave a satisfied smile. Her laugh may be hideous, he thought to himself, but at least she didn’t speak with her mouth full. “It’s my speciality.”
“It shows. This is lovely.” She nodded again, pointing down at her plate with her fork as she did, some left over food from her last bite falling down on to her lap. He found himself missing the girl from last time who wouldn’t stop sneezing over the table and her food. “Although,” She asked inquisitively as she picked up another forkful of the casserole and furrowed her brows as she chewed. “Can I ask what exactly is in this? I can’t quite work out what type of meat it is… Pork, right?”
“Ah,” He jokingly tapped the side of his nose with his finger. “Chef’s secret. Don’t want you stealing my recipe now, do I?”
“So you made this meal by yourself? It’s not really just a Mary Berry recipe or anything? You can tell me the truth. I promise I won’t tell anyone else.” She stretched her arm out across the table, extending her pinky finger to him, like a child would. She was smirking all the while, but his smile had faltered. It was never long before they started asking questions. Each question would lead to another and they wanted to know more and more; information that was then becoming more and more unnecessary to them. But before he could pass comment he got distracted. His eyes, beginning at the digit pointing at him, trailed their way up her arm. She was wearing a sleeveless dress, so he could see her skin all the way up until her shoulder. The girl wasn’t really overweight, but she wasn’t exactly thin either, he assessed. She was just how he liked his girls to be. At least now he had that positive. He looked back to her eyes and pressed his lips together.
“This is definitely not a Mary Berry written recipe. I mean, no offence to the woman, but I don’t think she’d be capable of something like this.”
“That’s a pretty bold statement. How come I don’t see you on The Bake Off or something, then?”
“Eh, I don’t think my style of cooking would really suit prime-time television.” He gave a chuckle, pleased at his own joke. She cocked her head slightly. “I mean, it’s because I can’t really cook much else. I’ve got this perfected, but nothing else I make is quite as special.”
“Then I feel privileged to have been treated with it.”
“Actually, I make it for every first date.” It was her face’s turn to fall.
“Oh.” She tried to pass off a laugh, but it wasn’t as blasting or as confident as usual. He didn’t acknowledge her response, and instead took a large bite of the food on his plate, his eyes focusing on her from across the table. With every moment he would notice something else to build to his irritation: her leg giggling under the table; her breathing which would be normal then suddenly get really loud and then go back to normal again; the pet hair dotted around on her dress; the overpowering, headache inducing stench of her perfume. In his mind he laughed at his earlier hope that this girl would be different, that she’d be good for more than just a while’s company unlike the others. His eyes scanned over all of her body that he could see. Oh well, he thought, at least he’d have plenty to feed the next one.
I write a lot of poems
Only based on truth
Is that real?
What’s that about?
In the end it’s up to you.
Together we sat,
Resting our feet,
With some cake, and a warm drink
To give us some heat.
We gazed through the window,
Taking in the sights
Of the castle, the Loch;
The calm before the fright.
With one swipe of the arm,
Sudden and quick,
The cup had been launched,
And then came the panic.
Hot chocolate on the table,
Ourselves, and the floor.
Never had I seen a mess
Quite like it before.
Constantly battling the world
Because they exist.
The biggest fear of the smallest thing.
Scurrying with over-sized legs,
Like fingers from an old hand
Made from needles;
It preys on pests piffling.
Spindly legs with little hairs like
Wires which shoot a jolt
Down your back.
They perfect their home
Like a paper house in a tornado zone.
It’s decorated with phenomenal pattern,
And is the sweetest size,
But all forces are against them.
So they creep up on you in the shower,
And they run up your legs,
And they dangle above your mouth at naïve night.
They are invading our homes.
Or are we invading theirs?
When outside is lavender and rose
Brings honey and lemonade;
Dresses your world as meadows.
You inhale and taste the sun,
The freshly cut greenery:
And the warmth you feel
In your heart is second to none.
The clouds are sparse and like puffs of steam.
You have all the time in the world to watch
And you are transported back to your childhood.
Life feels like a story, a dream.
Hold on tight.
For all the characters who played a part;
Big or small, will not leave you lonely.
They will comfort you in the darkness of the night.