I’m puking, I’m gonna – no, you’re fine. Pushed it back down. Attaboy. I am man.
The boy in front of me is probably handsome. He’s telling me about something, his job maybe. I feel the muscles in my face contracting and twisting to match his own. He makes a big gesture with his hands.
I laugh, a little too loudly. This throws him off.
“Remind me of what you study again?” he asks me.
I take another sip of my drink. I hate it, but it makes me talk. “Art.”
“Oh, creative. What are you studying now?”
“The cultural development of finger painting.”
He can’t tell if I’m joking or not.
“Joking,” I say.
“Oh.” He relaxes. “But seriously, do you paint or…?”
This guy doesn’t want to talk about art. He wants the shift. But I do, too. I’m willing to compromise.
“Yeah, a good bit. I’m really interested in the male form.”
“Me too,” he says flirtatiously.
I look at him, properly. He looks like he’s at an audition for Love Island. Not a hair to be seen below the chin.
“Yeah, I try to draw it the way the Renaissance artists saw it, if that makes sense,” I say.
He nods. “That’s cool.”
“I’m not very good,” I admit.
He cocks his head to the side. “You’re probably better than you think.”
I shrug. Avicii is playing in the background. I bob my head to the beat. It’s awkward. I stop immediately.
“Do you fancy a smoke?” he asks me.
I laugh, but he mistakes this for genuine interest and returns it with a smile. I’m being mean, and the drink isn’t helping.
I tell him. We make our way past a throng of people. He says hello to a few of them. I don’t know anyone here.
I step out into the air and am struck by the cold. I wrap my arms across my chest and grind my teeth.
“Are you cold?” he asks.
“I’m alright,” I say.
He hands me a cigarette. Silk Cut. I slip it snugly between my fore and middle finger.
“Let me.” He lights my fag for me. I grunt my thanks. “Do you smoke much?”
I shake my head. “Only in panic.”
“What do you mean?” he asks, confused.
“Never mind,” I say. “What about you?”
“Yeah. More than I should. ‘Specially when I’m stressed out.”
I inhale deeply, let the smoke fill my chest. I blow it out through my nostrils.
The boy grins. “Nice.”
“Yeah, I’m a dragon,” I tell him.
He laughs, then steps in closer. I mentally brace myself. Here we go.
“You have beautiful eyes,” he tells me.
I cringe. “Thanks, they’re mine.”
“I like you a lot.”
The buzz from the drink has worn off. I’m tired.
He kisses me. I sigh in annoyance. He thinks this is a sign of approval and moves his hands to my face. They’re sticky from beer. I don’t know when he washed them last.
I pull back from it. He stares at me.
“I’m sorry,” I say.
Which is a lie because I’m not sorry. Not really. I just don’t want him to feel bad.
“I do like you, ya know.”
“It’s not personal,” I mumble. “There’s just no electricity.”
Radio silence. I can’t stand it.
“When you’re with someone, and you like them, it’s supposed to be like a plug switching on.”
He puts his hand in his pockets. “And what did I do different?”
“It’s like using a remote without batteries. You can try to change the channel, but you’re stuck watching the same show. I think we both deserve a bit better than that.”
“It’s just a shift,” he grumbles.
He has a point.
“Yeah, but I’m drunk. Don’t be that guy.”
He considers this, rubs his chin, and smiles again.
“Speaking from personal experience?”
I laugh. Genuinely. “Nice one, smart ass.”
He asks me if I’m sure about the jacket.
About the author: Killian Glynn is an Irish writer now living in London. An avid bookworm since childhood, he has written for the stage and penned numerous short stories and poems
You can check out more of his work on IG
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