The girl kept her back turned to her phone for as long as possible.
She was lying in bed and the phone was lying next to her pillow. How long could she spend pretending to still be asleep before having to roll over and face the fact that he had tried to call her?
In her mind, she tried to trace back all of the images that had appeared in her dream. She could have sworn that his name on her iphone screen was one of them. Had she tried calling him in her sleep!? Which would mean that his missed call was him trying to call her back…”That would be so embarrassing if it did happen”, she thought. “Imagine trying to explain that one”.
She could just see it; him and his new girlfriend laughing about it over rum and cokes and cigarettes with their crowd. She had wanted to be friends with him again in a distant sort of way. She had recently been considering sending him a message wishing him well and telling him that she was happy for him, happy that he’d found someone else who wanted what he wanted, and who seemed…just, nice. Not like that other girl he started seeing.
But now that it was all real and that she had seen his new girlfriend in the flesh, she felt like the angry bitchy ex again. She felt small and scrutinized, like a child on the edge of the playing field. She felt he somehow had the power. “How the tables have turned”, she thought.
Her eyes snapped open and she realized that she just couldn’t lie down anymore. She had work to do, and she was hungry, and anyway, she considered herself far better than this situation. She didn’t care, but even so, decided to leave her phone on the pillow whilst she went downstairs.
Her mother was in the kitchen making nut loaf for the family party later that day. The girl hoped he hadn’t told his new girlfriend too much abut her family- their strange ways…”That would be just like him”, she thought. “Immature, acting like the big lad with his mates, pint in hand”. She could see it now…little him with all his bad “Lad” mates who all shout things like “WHEEEEEY” and “MATE” and, of course, “LAD LAD LAD”. Little him standing on the edge of this “Lad” group and trying to shout his way in…Occasionally one of them may respond…
”Though I think he’s made friends with a new group of “Lads” now”, she mused. “Maybe they’l listen to him more than the old lot”. She thought about seeing them all in the pub…All of them talking about her…the girl tried to put this image out of her mind as it made her feel under threat, like she was preparing for war.
She sat in front of the television having made herself a bowl of cereal and after getting confused with the new remote control, decided to put on an x-factor spin off show. The girl wondered for a minute if perhaps she was wasting her life away, but decided against it because her friends always watch these shows and they’re fine.
“What would he want, I mean, what would he really want?” She thought. Did He Just Want To Brag? She imagined his voice on the end of the phone, pretending to be all friendly but she would be able to see straight through it…”Heeeey! ‘Ow’s it goiiiing?”. Eurgh.
She had always hated his drunk voice, trying to be “laddy” and “cool” in an exaggerated accent that wasn’t really his. She imagined telling him to Shut Up, as it was always so relishing to do, and hearing him stress out and become whiny and child-like, like an angry little boy. There was something she loved about arguing with him, his absolute inability to articulate himself. She loved that whenever they argued he would trip up on his words and would become angrier and angrier with his voice getting laddier and just ridiculous really—sometimes “laddish” hand gestures would be thrown in. She would be able to catch him out with every argument. If she felt like it she would become dramatic and shrill and throw her arms around. If not, she would stand there with arms crossed staring blankly, a trick she had learned from her old boyfriend before him. Either way, it was like being a cat with a ball of string; she had the power, and she could play it whatever way she wanted.
Having finished her cereal, the girl put her bowl down on the floor next to the sofa, and went back into the kitchen to make a cup of tea.
What Would I say About Me? she thought. If He’s Bragging About Her, What Do I Say About Me?