Pathways (Version 1)

Cereal or toast? It wasn’t such a difficult decision to make really, but my brain was still pretty fogged from the night before and right now making up my mind whether I wanted to hang on the cupboard door or hold it open was about as much I could handle. I settled for draping my arm across the food stained door and groped around with my free hand scattering fossilized shreddies and cheerios that had lain undisturbed on the sticky shelf for months.

A mechanical whirring sound followed by an ominous rumblingheralded the arrival of the Monday morning bin wagon as it made sporadic progress along the avenue. My head began to throb, so I ran myself a glass of water, took a few sips and then pressed it to my forehead. The coolness felt so good. Gradually it dawned on me that I’d forgotten to put the bin out the night before and my heart sank as I recalled the stinking overflow of rubbish piled up in the backyard. Another fail. When was I going to get it together? Forgetting to put the bin out front might not seem like that big a deal but stacked up alongside those two important meetings I’d forgotten to attend earlier in the week and my subsequent dismissal there could only be one conclusion.

Without even realizing I had slipped into the godforsaken realm of loserdom and now I hadn’t even the will power to decide what to have for breakfast. But wait a minute. What about the owner of that mop of sandy blonde hair that I’d woken up next to? I didn’t feel too hopeful about remembering her name but somehow she had remembered mine and she didn’t look like the type to sleep with losers. Definitely a choosy sort, I mused reflecting on the expensive cut of her figure hugging dress and her penchant for bubbly the night before. Feebly I flicked away a persistent bluebottle and wondered if she might be able to tip the scales either way on the toast or cereal issue.

Shuffling towards the door in boxers and flip flops I went to ask which she’d prefer. Christ! Why did my legs feel like they were made of jelly? An image of me dancing wildly and consuming multiple jello shots with the aforesaid blonde suddenly popped into my head. Well it certainly seemed as though I’d had an interesting night. It was just a shame I couldn’t remember any more than that. Maybe it would all come flooding back to me later, I thought hopefully. But for the time being my main concern was trying not to move my head too fast.

“I’ve got cereal or toast. Which would you prefer?” I said popping my head round the bedroom door. There was no reply. I stared blankly at the duvet which was now thrown back revealing the crumpled cotton sheet and the imprint left by our warm moulded bodies. Where was she? Had she gone without saying anything?

Above the howl of rush hour sirens and bin wagons I could hear the shower running so I grabbed the fluffiest towel I could find in my higgledy-piggledy airing cupboard and knocked tentatively on the door.

“I don’t know whether or not you found the towels,” I said loudly. “But I’ve left one outside the door.” You never know, I thought, smiling down at my feet. She might just ask me to bring it in.

Disappointingly, there was no answer so I dropped the towel on the floor and considered going back to bed for a bit. After all it wasn’t even nine o’clock yet and I had nowhere important to be now that I was unemployed.

Just then the door opened and a hand stretched out to scoop up the towel. She left the door slightly ajar, revealing a tantalising glimpse of slick golden skin beaded with droplets of glistening water. Steam escaped through the gap in the door, as if beckoning me to enter.

“Thanks for the towel,” said a muffled voice. “I hope you don’t mind but for quickness I’ll just have cereal and black coffee. I have to get back to the office.”

“No problem,” I replied. “Tea and toast coming right up.”

“Huh?”

“I’m only joking,” I said chuckling as I went downstairs. “I’ll be back in a mo with your cereal and coffee.”

A short time later I sat hunched over my cereal bowl wondering about the gorgeous woman quietly sipping coffee on the end of my bed. Our eyes met briefly and part of me began to wonder about the possibility of seeing her again. As if she could read my thoughts she stood up to leave pouring cold water on my unspoken enquiry.

“Ok I have to go now, but thanks for everything Tyler.”

She flicked her hair to one side and grabbed her tiny black handbag. Obviously she was making her exit.

“Hang on!” I protested. “What if I want to see you again? Perhaps we could go on a proper date sometime?”

Without warning she doubled back and kissed me soundly leaving me surprised, wide eyed and slightly breathless. I rubbed my stubbly chin and watched her leave, jumping slightly as the door slammed behind her.

Well that was that then, I thought leaning against the door jamb. Might as well take a shower myself, I decided, grabbing another towel. The air in the bathroom was still laden with steam and moisture trickled down the mirror above the sink, except for the parts that were daubed with bright red lipstick. Before stepping into the shower she’d written her phone number in Chanel No5 and underneath she’d scrawled;

Call me. Kimberley Dalglish x

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