He told me he didn’t eat for three days. He turned to me and said, ‘Is this my new thing then? Is this it? I feel sick every time I walk past Co-op.’ There was a Co-op on the corner of Sam’s street. ‘I love her – I swear to God I fucking love her.’ He talks about a girl he met at a party three days ago and can’t stop thinking about.
I zone out for a bit.
‘Like – seriously the most amazing laugh you’ve ever heard – so funny –’
He keeps shaking his head into his hands and looking around the park as if the trees hold some kind of link to her. It’s like he wants them to hear what he’s saying. Like he wants the trees to hear. Bragging to the trees.
A young, attractive, fashionable couple walk past with an ugly small dog and Sam raises his voice.
‘She’s like – I’ve never felt like that about somebody before.’
I’m taking my time rolling a cigarette. But he doesn’t notice it’s a pretence.
‘What about Laura?’
He briefly puts his hands under his bum, pushes hard against the damp wood of the bench, then rubs them together like Fagan.
‘She was a bitch. I just didn’t realise quick enough. That’s cos she was a tricky bitch.’
‘I thought you were in love with her.’ I light the cigarette very slowly.
Sam tilts back and lets his mack rest against the back of the bench, where it remains suckered gently. The wind picks up for a second or two. A terrier runs excitedly past. I think maybe I’ll have cheese on toast for dinner and finally send those emails.
‘Yeah – ’ he says after a bit. The wind has shifted his curly hair around, giving him the impression of a kind of profit figure. He squints into the low wintry sun disappearing behind the tall buildings opposite. I think how they don’t quite constitute skyscrapers. I wonder what constitutes a skyscraper while smoking the cigarette very gradually. Sam has obviously been talking all this time I now realise.
‘It’s funny cos like – the way you can feel about someone is a lot more like – complex than how you think it can, isn’t it? Like – you think you’re in love or whatever one second and the next you don’t feel anything. Sometimes you don’t even know what you feel about them, only that you feel something. It’s weird, isn’t it?’
I liked that last bit.
‘Yeah. You’re right.’
He turns to me and grins in an endearing way, like a proud kid.
‘So it’s her then is it?'
He sort of laughs involuntarily. ‘Yeah – I spose it is.’
‘Do you want to go get a beer?’
‘Yeah, alright. I’m getting hungry actually.’
He’s always in love with someone.