By Abigail Warren
Location: King’s Chambers, Young Street
Graham must think of a solution. The advantage of being in love with someone you are not supposed to be in love with is, in fact, that your mind is constantly searching for a solution. Subconsciously, it’s going on and on and on. It probably won’t stop until the solution is reached.
How does he know he is in love? He interrogates himself as he sits behind a pile of photocopying. To be sure. That it’s not boredom. That it’s not that he’s not had a girlfriend-type-person for seven months, one week, two and a half days (thanks to the new and daring side parting, according to his friends). That it’s not Fear of Valentine’s Day and the shop windows stuffed with fake hearts and cards and cupids. That it’s not loneliness (knowledge of television schedule for next four days: impeccable).
He slowly writes out the letters on his memo pad, below the company logo. (Boss says, looking over his shoulder, what’s this then lad, hahahahahaha, got it bad have we, fuck off thinks Graham but smiles obligingly, hahahahahaha, good for you good for you, who’s the lucky lady, er your mum thinks Graham, just a girl he says).
The just a girl is called Fiona. Fee. She has dark hair and blue eyes, and is almost nearly engaged to Graham’s best friend Andy. Andy, to be fair, has turned into a bit of a knob since he started working in PR, and says the word ‘PR’ a lot, but Graham still loves him as only a best friend can, and shares many an alcohol-softened memory of night-glossy Manchester with him. Often shoeless, or shirtless, or on one occasion trouserless running down the middle of Oxford Road, screaming.
So what now? He met Fee at a houseparty. He remembers Andy in a bad yellow shirt. She is wearing a pretty dress, and her eyes are kind, and she keeps smiling at Graham, and asking him questions. Graham thinks it may even have started then; he got annoyed because Andy was not paying much attention to her, or him, for that matter. And he had got a haircut, which Graham silently noted and took as a betrayal to their longhair friendship, and, indeed, the band. Granted, they had not practised for a while now (four months, five days and one morning), but still, there was no need. Graham tossed his lovely locks, and spent the evening determinedly getting to know Fee. She was very likeable, and seemed to understand everything he was saying, which was rare as most people told him that he mumbled his words.
After that, he bumped into her in the rain coming out of Kendals; well, he had been coming out of Kendal’s, and manfully, had not required a bag, (not a bag fan, bad for the environment), but realised the lack of forward thinking in this as he clutched a bottle of lavender moisturiser for his sister. She was soaked, and the rain had gone through her coat and her hair was stuck to her face, and he thought how pretty she was, and then stopped himself thinking this and stared at the floor while they talked.
After that, it was in Mojo’s with her friends and he was drunk and stared at her chest the whole time; the time after that was better, they did a pub crawl together with Andy and some mates, and Andy and Graham had a drinking race and Graham won, impressively (before vomiting); then it was on the High Street (a quick hello); then it was in Boots (buying moisturiser); and then, the last time, that was the best, that was when he knew, was when he helped her get Andy home after ten pints in the Old Monkey on a Sunday afternoon, and she was upset, and they put him to bed and she poured them glasses of wine and they sat in the living room with the lamp on and the curtains open, talking and looking at the moon while Andy snored.Their flat was on Deansgate, very swanky, thanks to Andy’s new job (in PR). Graham thought of his own flat in Chorlton. She had talked about her life and he had talked about his (well, a bit, the exciting bits; he didn’t mention gofering in Kings Chambers or Lanky Prick Boss.)