Failing. Short Story.

Hope everyone had a good weekend!

I didn’t get up to much, went out with some friends, watched one of them get a tattoo. Was pretty interesting, never seen someone get a tattoo before. Well, excluding TV show tattooing, but that doesn’t really count.

On with the show!


He looked at Christy, sweet, innocent Christy. She smiled at him and leaned in for a quick kiss. When she stepped back, Jacob smiled at her, it was going to be a long, long night.

Twenty minutes later Jacob was already bored, he wanted to bail, but he could think of no reasonable excuse. Christy was blathering on about something, maybe work? He had zoned out a few seconds in, making seemingly appropriate comments in the gaps. Nodding occasionally. He took another sip of his wine, the glass was already half empty. Did he really drink it that fast? He picked up his glass of water and gulped some of it. The waiter passed by, eyeing their table while continuing to the next. He had already taken their orders, but there was no sign of any food yet. Jacob was hoping the night would go quickly, end early, but it was looking like that wasn’t the case. And no doubt Christy would want to go somewhere, go on to some bar or want to watch a movie. He tried not to smile, she actually meant watch a movie. It wasn’t code for anything. He had gotten a bit of a surprise the first time, when he leaned in to kiss her, it had lasted for all of a minute maybe, when she gently pushed him back and smiled up at him, “We’re going to miss it!” They were just fundamentally different people. She took things slow, like, crazy slow. He liked things to move fast. Not just in the bedroom, but everything. He didn’t like relaxed evenings in, he didn’t like going for aimless drives. There had to be a destination, something to look forward to. He didn’t want to just sit around for his entire life. Christy seemed content with that. Hell, it took her almost two months before she’d have sex with him, even then it wasn’t a regular occurrence. He knew he’d have to end it, but they were labelled now, it wasn’t just a case of “well, I don’t see this working out. Nice knowing you!” It would be a whole thing. Realistically, he should have done it a few weeks ago, but there had never seemed like a good time. So he just kind of kept going along with things.

“Don’t you think?”

“yeah, totally?”
She didn’t notice the slight, upward inflection at the end, or at least she didn’t comment on it.  She was off again. He’d have to pay more attention to what she was saying. What if she was trying to dump him? God that would be great. Perfect, he’d get out unscathed, wouldn’t be the bad guy, wouldn’t have to deal with tears and possibly shouting. He didn’t think Christy would shout, that would be a smidge too undignified for her.

“I was onto Mum and she’s getting insistent.”
He could hear the capitol letter in that word, he didn’t know how she did it, but she managed.
“So you’ll go?”
“Great. She’ll start to relax, I mean I know you’ve met them before and it isn’t a big deal, she just wants to grill me over Samantha no doubt, so we’ll go next weekend, I’ll have to see what she’s doing. It should be good, though it might be a bit exotic. I’m sure I’ve told you before about her cooking…”

He zoned out again, silently panicking. He agreed to go to dinner with her parents, at their house. This was going too far, far too far. He’d have to do it, have to break up with her. She looked at him and smiled. Oh god. Why did this have to be so hard? Why couldn’t she be a raging bitch? That would make things so much easier.  

Christy kept talking, she couldn’t help it, words just tumbled out of her, one after the other. Half the time she didn’t know what she was saying, but he was agreeing with her, so that seemed good. This should have ended weeks ago, but there was no good time for it. Then her mother was on the phone, inviting them to dinner. God. That would be just fantastic. The four of them sitting around the table and afterwards her parents would take sides, as they always did. One going over his virtues, the other picking him apart and, when they broke up, her mothers smug voice over the phone, “I knew it wouldn’t last, I even said so to your father last night, isn’t that right?” She’d have to make some excuse as to why Jacob couldn’t come. Working late or football practise. No, wait, Jacob didn’t play football, that was Brad, and Brad was what? Six months ago? She’d have to get her head on straight, stop mixing them up. It wasn’t her fault really, they just looked so alike. The words came, unbidden, oh god, what was she saying, stop talking just stop. Her mouth kept moving. He agreed to go to dinner, why did she even ask? He smiled at her. Oh god, he was probably looking forward to it, seeing it as cementing their couple hood or something. Shit. Shit shit shit. What the hell was wrong with her? She took a sip of her wine, the silence stretch out for a moment, the glass was placed gently back on the table and her mouth was off again. Thousand miles a minute. She hated being like this. She liked companionable silence as much as the next person, but with Jacob she had to fill in the gaps, always. The only time she got some peace and quiet was when they watched movies, there was no obligation for her to talk then, no more worrying about what to say or about what they hell they’d talk about. She should have ended it. It was so stupid, they had drifted into defined territory way too fast and now she was stuck. She knew she had to do it, but she didn’t want to be a raging bitch. So she kept up with it. She hoped it would slowly fade away, but he was always texting her, so she replied out of obligation and then the question of “Do you want to go out this weekend?” would pop up and she’d find herself in the middle of some plan she wasn’t interested in. Maybe she could start being horrible to him, he might just break up with her. It would be easier.

She stopped talking as the waiter arrived with their food, he placed it on the table and they started to eat, mumbling about how nice it was. Neither noticed that their wine glasses were empty. The waiter passing by refilled both. Jointly, the reached forward, picked up their own glass, and took another sip.


About Alan James Keogh

I am a 26 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
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