Playing Stories — Chapter 47: Dreams

Chapter 47: Dreams
from the 1977 album “Rumours” by Fleetwood Mac
salvaged from the wreckage of Rockingham Pier, 13 August 2019

Now here you go again, you say you want your freedom
Well, who am I to keep you down?

How do people you love always find the worst way to disappoint you?

It’s like they have this roadmap to your brain: they get in, make themselves comfortable. A couple of screw-ups happen early on, but nothing serious. Then just when you think that you’ve got things figured out between the two of you, at the exact moment where you’ve gotten used to them…

Well, maybe I shouldn’t have such high hopes. People aren’t angels, after all: you can’t expect them to please you at every turn. Besides, she wants space, and you have to respect that. Things weren’t really that serious between the two of us, the way they had been with Layla. Maybe she just realized that it wasn’t what she wanted and she backed out when she still could, like she said. We’ve had a few nights together, yes, but it wasn’t serious. Don’t think too much about it.

Just. Why does this happen? Why DO we do this? It’s not like the two of us were arguing or anything. I mean, I don’t know about her, but weren’t we just fine? Maybe she didn’t like it at all. Maybe she just wanted somebody to hang on to during her breakup with Laura — now shut it, Thomas, that’s evidently not true. I just wish she’d been more open, you know, that we could have talked it over like adults or something. It’s just stupid, the way she runs off like that without telling me. You even think about how much I care?

Anyway. Might as well make the best of these last few days — I wonder what Copenhagen is like this time of year. Oh wait… she wanted to go there too, didn’t she? I’m not going to run into another girl from my past on the train there, am I…

I didn’t know at the time, of course, that I’d fall in love with Mo like this. In fact, I was a bit annoyed — why was she here? Wasn’t this trip supposed to be just me? I didn’t want to share my time or space with her much. I’m not a social person.

But now… every time I meet up with her for lunch or dinner or a walkthrough a museum of sorts, I can feel my heart going just that teensy bit faster. The first thing I see is always her hair, that chestnut brown waving in the wind, then I catch hold of her eyes, her lips, the way her teeth peeks out just a little when she smiles and her forehead juts out. But also when she looks at you deadpan — those narrowed eyes, those crossed arms. She’s a master of dry wit — I used to find it annoying, actually, the way she managed to tear an achievement or someone else’s story to shreds with a single word. Now, though… it feels different. Funnier, more refreshing. She tells you that with just a twinkle in her eye when she finishes talking: you look at that, and you just feel that everything’s gonna be alright for some reason.

She’s changed so much since Paris as well. She used to hold back, didn’t she? Always the back of the pack, always moping around, disappearing whenever she wanted to. Now though… she surges ahead, waiting to take on life. Where has this Morgan been all these years?

Maybe it’s far too early to be saying that yes, I love her and I want to spend the rest of my days, every second of it with her. Maybe there’s loads about her that I still don’t know, and maybe it’ll go south really quickly, really soon… but every little thing she does is breathtakingly brilliant. Almost magical. Who wouldn’t fall in love with somebody magic?

Maybe I was wrong. Maybe there are people who are still beautiful in this world. Maybe it’s still… it’s still worth it.

For a while now, I’ve been wondering about why we’re still together. Not in the sense that she’s intolerable, mind. Just that I’d never expected the two of us to be still sticking to each other for so long. I’m neurotic, she’s scared of commitment. A double curse. Yet here we are, one week on, and we’re going to Germany as a twosome.

Maybe it’s because we’re just useful to each other. She wants somebody alongside her who’s not Laura, I want somebody to help me find the way in Paris or Berlin or wherever the hell I’m going next. We’re alone on the Continent, and we don’t have anywhere else to go. Who wants to be alone in a foreign land when they can have friends?

I keep my eyes on her, in case she suddenly gets cold feet and does a runner. She used to do that a LOT. Not just with me, with everyone. For some reason everyone liked to ask me where she was after she’d run away from them, like I could read her mind or something. Why would I know something like that? Maybe people just fancied me with her… anyway. I wouldn’t blame her if she wanted to bolt. I know when I’m not wanted. Honestly, I was surprised that she stayed after the first few days at all.

But I wonder where she’d go afterwards. Back home? Not with all that press about the incident at the Globe. And I don’t want her to go, not yet. We get along well, don’t we? It’d be a shame if she left so quickly. I’d miss her, even though I don’t feel like saying it in front of her.

Train’s here. Better help her get the stuff on.

Good Lord, this week is passing by so slowly. Why on Earth did I get stuck with Mo? She’s just so sullen, every single day. True, she saved me from an angry Frenchman but that’s no reason for me to stick with her all this time. She looks at the ground, at crowds, at clouds all the time. Just not at me — and I always need to call her name two or three times before she’ll even look at me. And speaking of that — why the hell does she have to look so annoyed at me? I haven’t done anything to piss her off so far — at least not that I know of, but come on, she hasn’t said more than ten sentences in two days. It’s me trying to vomit out weird facts or talk about the news to make it less awkward. God, I hate it when that has to happen.

Maybe she’s just missing Laura… seriously, when is she going to face up to the idea that Laura’s interested in her? She has to know. Nobody can be that clueless. But if I stay after all of that, being a third wheel… no. Best not think about it in the meantime.

Luckily we’ll be rid of each other after a while… I’m pretty sure that the people in Germany will be much more willing to help somebody who can’t speak the language. And anyway, there are less pleasant places to spend time with someone you’re not sure about than bloody Paris.

Now, back to business. I’m pretty sure that Layla will like a picture of the Arc de Triomphe… only from which angle?

Haven’t seen Mo for a long time. What’s she doing here? There I was thinking that I was gonna be the only one on a European tour. Then she comes on board. Nothing ever goes right for me, does it? Then again, if she does her standard trick of disappearing into the ether in five sentences…

Look, it’s not that her appearance is a bad thing. But… can’t I get away from other people? For just one day?! It’s not like I hate talking to other people, of course that’s not the case. But God, what I wouldn’t give for everyone to leave me alone, for nobody to ask after Layla or whoever I’d decided to hitch myself too. I wish nobody would try to pour a waterfall of sympathies on me even when they clearly see I would very much like to be alone. They just mess things up. You end up being more drained from socializing than you do by talking to them.

Still, give her a bit of credit. Morgan’s never really pried into your private life — mostly because she never really asks after you, but still. You’re fine, you don’t need it, and you don’t want to be the sort of person who begs for attention from everyone anyway. Wait, where’s she gone to? She hasn’t… oh damn. Yup, that’s her running down the platform… seriously, can’t the woman hold a decent conversation with somebody without pulling out of it.

Maybe she just doesn’t want to have this conversation. Still, it would have been nice to say that. Normal people don’t just run off without saying goodbye and making vague promises to each other saying that they’ll meet or something. But then again how do you call somebody who disappears for weeks on end and turns up at weird corners of the world normal? It’s just so… disappointing.

How do people you love always find the worst way to disappoint you?

I seriously thought that this was it, that I’d found the right person in Layla. She was funny, we took risks, we knew so much about each other. Then she had to go, to throw it all away. It’s like she knew what was going on before she told me. But no, that’s unfair on her. As the old cliché likes to go, we can still be friends or something like that.

But urgh, how I hate it. How I hate sitting alone on the edge of the bed and realizing that something is over, how I hate being on the receiving side of these things. I know that it’s her prerogative to leave and everything, but why couldn’t we have just stuck at it for a while? We’d gone through these scruples for a bit, we could definitely have gotten through them again. But no, she has to go and ruin it. She can be so incredibly selfish at times. Why do we even do that?

I guess people are like that. They just come and go as they like, always forgetting that there’s somebody else on the other end. Somebody whose heart can break, in fact is easily broken. Someone who’s too lonely to even defend themselves.

Well, I’ve said all I need to say, right? I don’t think I’ll ever fall in love again. You’re just going to find yourself up against a wall… being backed into a situation you don’t want. I’ve had enough of those for a lifetime.

You almost gave me a heart attack there, didn’t you know? Don’t do that next time, Em…

Clare and Richard says hi. They’ve been planning something for the new year, but I don’t know what and with winter coming on I’m dreading what new redecoration plans they have for the café. It’s got to be something like that, right?

Good Lord, this thing is shaking mightily… hope it’s sturdy enough, the winds tonight are pretty rou

(at this point the writing trawls off the page)

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