Written for Year of Creativity
Prompt: New beginnings are fine, but I’m glad some things stay the same
So, here I am. First night out in a new town. It was a pain having to move here for this promotion. Im very much a homebody. Never left the place of my birth for longer than a weeks holiday.
But this is where the job is, so this is where I need to be. Im sure Ill adjust eventually. Itll be slightly easier when I make some friends. And when I stop imagining that I know people here. It happens all the time. I pass someone on the street, think I know them, then work out that it cant actually be that person as theyre hundreds of miles away.
Thankfully work has given me this first week off so I can adjust to living here. Decompression time theyve called it. I dont actually want this, I just want to get back to work. But its mandatory. Feels a bit like gardening leave, like Im being punished.
Which is why Im here. Someone from the office back home has been here for business a few times and highly recommended this place as somewhere thats worth coming to. He helped me a lot, giving me a list of places to see, nice restaurants and take out places and, of course, pubs to drink in. As well as some to avoid.
I know that most people dont like drinking alone. One of my friends back home has almost a pathological hatred of doing so. Then again, Ive never really claimed to be most people. I dont mind sitting on my own in a bar, having a pint (or five) and reading the book I always have on me. The trick is to stop reading when you get too drunk to make out what has been written.
So, here I am. On my own. Reading. (The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets Nest, in case you are wondering. Highly recommended.) People seem to be avoiding me. Whether this is because Im reading, or because they dont know me, Im not sure. It doesnt really bother me, to be perfectly honest. Then she comes in.
She isnt a supermodel by any means, but shes not completely unattractive either. Kinda has an indie punk thing going on. Just the type of woman Im into. Though I wouldnt want to piss her off, not with those clod hopper boots on. She orders her drink, looks round and then sits at the table next to mine.
Good book? she asks.
Definitely. You read any of the other ones in the series?
Ive read the first one. Currently making my way through book two and wishing that there was more to come from him after that one.
Trust me, I say. Its not a bad legacy to leave behind.
I know. If I ever make it as a writer and I die before my time, Id want this sort of recognition, she replies. Ive not seen you here before. New in town?
Just moved here yesterday from Wales. Business. Im Alex, by the way. I hold my hand out and she shakes it. I then kiss the back of her hand. Some think thats old fashioned but I dont care.
Amy, she says. You know anyone in this place?
Only the boss so far. Im sure Ill meet more people.
Unless you stay in your house all the time. You likely to do that?
Not at the moment. As soon as I get internet in the house, maybe. I blush slightly as I realise Ive just outed myself as a bit of a geek.
She smiles. Yeah. I usually have to tear myself away from my computer as well. Its a running joke that if I could, I would physically move into cyberspace. Like the main character in Neuromancer.
Its my turn to smile. We chat for a bit longer about sci-fi, fantasy, favourite TV programmes, stuff like that. Then Amy announces that she has to run. As shes leaving, I ask her on a date. She looks embarrassed.
Look, Alex, youre a really nice bloke. Unfortunately, youre also the wrong gender for me. Im suddenly fascinated by my shoes. But, listen. Im having a party at my house on Friday. Youre more than welcome.
We agree to become friends on Facebook. As she leaves, I pick up my book and resume reading. As I do I think.
New beginnings are fine. But at least my legendary bad luck with the opposite sex is still alive and well.