I am currently enrolled in the first Creative Writing Class I have ever taken. The assignment due for tonight’s class is to write a piece of prose 250-500 words long with no beginning and no ending, just middle. I like endings and struggled a bit with this assignment. I tried to channel Miss Georgia Park, who I think is brilliant with this type of writing.
I am just putting the frying fan we used for tonight’s simple dinner of omelets and roasted rosemary potatoes into the hot sudsy water, wondering idly if I will need to let it soak for a while or whether I will be able to scrub off the crispy remains of egg and sharp English cheddar off the surface with the brightly colored plastic scrubby to my right when he says it.
“So, I’ve been thinking. . .” his voice trails off and I feel foreboding trickle down my spine. My hands are still in the dishwater when I turn to look at him, suddenly alert, vigilant, giving him my full attention.
We had just been talking casually about his friends Paddy and Michael, who we had met last night for a pint at a pub across town. It had been the kind of classic British pub I had seen in BBC period pieces with its white plaster walls that decades of smoke had given a rich patina to, thick ancient wooden ceiling beams, a much-dinged wooden bar with gleaming taps, and tight booths with carved wooden half walls that had separated us from the groups of customers on either side of us. These dividers had incongruously reminded me of being in church.
We had even played darts. I had never played before and all three of them had taken it upon themselves to give me pointers on the game that had occasionally conflicted with each other. I had noted the pock marked walls around the dart board and what looked suspiciously like a long streak of dried blood and had just been grateful that I hadn’t caused any of the other patrons bodily harm. It had been a fun evening, relaxed, atmospheric, everything I had always pictured that a night in a local British pub should be. There had been no hint that he hadn’t enjoyed the evening as much as I had.
He is leaning against the kitchen counter now, his back pressed against the hard surface. The unruly forelock of hair that he often pushes impatiently back with his fingers is hanging into his eyes, masking his expression from me. The red and white striped dish towel is clutched in his hands. I wait for him to go on, feeling more and more concerned about where this conversation is headed.
Finally, after what feels like a lifetime, he clears his throat and starts again. “So, I’ve been thinking that maybe you could cancel your flight back to the States and stay in London with me. . .” his voice trails off again and my first feeling is relief that I didn’t just get dumped. It takes a moment for actual import of his words to sink in. Wait. Did he just ask me stay?