I sat in bed
cloaked in my fluffy white dressing gown and propped up with pillows. I was scrolling
through the e mails on my phone and though I was tired my mind was on
fire. I also felt wildly uncomfortable
about Karl sleeping in my bed. Our bed. Weird.
He came out
of the en -suite dressed only in his Calvin Klein boxer shorts. I burst out laughing and looked away.
“What?” He laughed. “Have you forgotten what a fine
looking specimen I am?”
arrogant wanker.” I smiled. “This whole situation is insane. This whole night is insane.” I said,
mulling it over in my busy head.
He pulled back
the sheets and got in.
“Ah, I love this
down at him as he grabbed his pillow and snuggled into it like a child. He looked up at me, with a soft, dreamy
expression, “Come and give me a cuddle Soph..”
I felt the
familiar lurch in my stomach. A mixture
of pain, longing and fear. It would be
easy to fall into his arms and yield to the warmth and protection but it would be a short
lived joy that would only serve to open old wounds in the cold light of day.
“In a bit..”
I stalled. “I still have to change the world.” I smiled and rubbed his hand
under the sheets.
“You change everybody’s
world Sophie.” He held onto my hand under the covers as he shut his eyes.
long.” He whispered.
go to sleep, go to sleep, go to sleep. I said the mantra over in my mind so I
wouldn’t succumb to him or to my own needs that were beginning to break through
my protective wall. I sat still,
holding onto his hand and watched him for several minutes as he drifted into
around the room and at the pretty Cath Kidston wallpaper that adorned the
walls. It looked particularly shabby-chic
in the soft glow of the bedside lamp. Shabby chic could pretty much sum me up
of late, I thought wryly. I slipped my
hand slowly out of Karl’s. He was
oblivious to the change and remained deeply unconscious. I still felt weird and wasn’t sure if that
was still the effect of the brownie or the surreal situation I was currently
experiencing. I took my attention back
to my phone and clicked on my word game.
The Voice had played and my mood lifted a little.
The Voice: No I’m not a singing monkey. Sorry to disappoint.
I played my
turn as I wondered why he had called himself ‘The Voice.’ User names tended to have some sort of relevance
or aspiration attached to them.
Sophistication: OK. So are you a narrator? A politician?
A pundit? A voice over person? Or
maybe you just like the sound of your own voice...is that it?
I waited for
a reply. It was clearly wakey, wakey time in his part of the world. I must find out where that is, I thought.
green bubble appeared along with his played word. It wasn’t a great play and our scores were
only a few points apart.
The Voice: No. I’m none of those things. Though I’m marveling
at your sudden interest in me and the fact you are partaking in the art of
Sophistication: Don’t marvel too
much. I’m just interested in people on the whole.
Voice’ was piquing my interest. I didn’t
know why and tried to analyse it. He was quite rude, well, maybe short and quippy rather than really rude. Besides, that
didn’t bother me. I lived in England where sarcasm and smart arses were usually
the order of the day. He had certainly
got under my skin in the first place which was always a sure fire way to get a
reaction from me but it wasn’t just that.
Competitive, yes, he played the game well; Intelligent and droll from
what I could surmise at this early stage from his text and delivery.
Challenging; almost certainly. These
were attributes that I tended to like in a person.
The Voice: Oh and I thought it was
just me. I’m almost hurt.
Hmm. I thought as I read his text. You are very droll indeed.
Sophistication: Almost? I must try a
little harder in future.
The game was
getting near to ending and I wondered if he’d just disappear back into the
ether or we’d move on to round two.
The Voice: I work in the entertainment
sector but I am nothing as glamorous as you imagine. What do you do? Something sophisticated?
I hated it
when conversations took an about turn to focus on me. I didn’t like talking about myself and my
life. It seemed like an invasion of my
privacy yet I was more than happy to do that to others. I almost felt like I was expected to live up
to something fabulous as my true reality would spark very little interest.
I played my
word and took the lead.
Sophistication: I write banal slot fillers for magazines.
That’ll do, I
The Voice: WOW. You sound like you really love your job.
Sophistication: I do like it, but on
the whole that’s what I do. Where do you come from Mr. Voice, another planet?
Maybe he’ll leave
‘the all about me’ part alone now and I could direct the conversation back to
The Voice: I’d like to see some of your writing, if I
Oh for the
love of God. Really? Why? I wondered.
Sophistication: I really don’t think you’d be interested it.
There. That should end that.
The Voice: How do you know whether
I’d be interested in it or not? If I
wasn’t interested I wouldn’t have asked.
Sophistication: Well, you really
don’t strike me as the sort of guy who’d rush home, kick off his shoes, lay on
the sofa with a nice cappuccino as you hasten to read an article about the
upcoming interior trends.
letters were left on my tile rack.
The Voice: I want to see your writing ‘style'.
Usually oppressed and lacking any spice or eloquence when you had to cram as
much info about furniture and trend into a 300 word article. Still, he wasn’t letting up so I sent a
couple of links to the online magazines.
The Voice: Thank you. And I live in another planet called
Oh, it was
like that was it? A quid pro quo.
So the voice was in Californ-I-A. That would explain the time difference. I
tried to remember from my previous trips to San Fran and L.A – about 8 hours behind.
Gorgeous, sunny days, palm trees and
wide boulevards. He lived in the land
of the beautiful where ‘teeth, tits and toes’ took priority. Well, not all
of California, but that had been my initial reaction to LA LA land. I often wondered if one day ALL the women
over there would carve, starve and Botox themselves into Stepford perfection; becoming
similarly beautiful and yet so vacuous.
And when that day came the everyday, flawed and natural women from the
other lands would dominate as the new beauties of the world as they stood
uniquely next to the moulded.
Sophistication: Very nice. I’m jealous. Mostly of your sunshine and American bacon.
my play and won by 11 points. I couldn’t
be certain but I was almost sure he’d allowed that to happen. The chat line
The Voice: Rematch, or does amusing
and rare = one game stand?
Sophistication: Of course. You may
start one but I will resume ‘rare and amusing’ play tomorrow as I’m going to
sleep, if that suits you?
The Voice: Tomorrow is fine. Going to bed means you live in Europe?
England? France? Poland? Some island somewhere?
Sophistication: A remote island full
of amusing monkeys. England.
The Voice: You have an isle of dogs,
why not isle of monkeys. Sleep well English person.
either visited the East end of London or he’s well read, I thought to myself. I scrolled back through our chat looking for meanings,
and subtle shades;trying to build the
character from across the pond in my mind and understand why I felt a
connection with him.
I turned off
my phone and let out a deep sigh. What a
crazy world I lived in. I looked down at
Karl who hadn’t even moved and was sleeping soundly in another place. Just where I longed to be. I turned off the
light and snuggled down into the bed so I too could appreciate the nuance of an
alternate reality like the deep sleeper beside me.