Free short stories about Generation End

Archive for the ‘Days Out’ Category

PART 2: HAYLEY

hayley clouds - short story

 

There were plenty of things I thought of while up north: money, girls, boxing, the point of it all, the ups and the ups and the downs and the downs. I spent most of my time and money on driving and music CDs, and it was always sunny, and something about the heat and the beach made everyone tired and tan and different from what I was used to.

Jason seemed to have a lot of friends that he never wanted me to have. Every weekend he’d invite me out to some dinner or some house party he’d either organised or been invited to, and he’d introduce me to all these people and we’d eat and drink and laugh, then afterwards I’d never hear from them again. He’d always tell me about “hot birds” that he wanted to set me up with, and he actually did follow through and introduce me to girls, but whenever I’d get close to any of them he’d stop talking to me or I’d find out he told them that I had a girlfriend, or herpes, or both. He was angry sometimes, and he was happy sometimes, and once in a while, after dinner, he’d tell me stories about a prostitute who used to love dipping his balls in hot and cold water.

One thing that would’ve pissed Jason off the most was if I ended up doing anything with Hayley, which would’ve been impossible for a number of reasons: I wasn’t her type, she had an on-and-off-again boyfriend, she was too tall for me.

“I like your boots,” she said as she entered my car. We said nothing to each other as I drove, and once in a while I’d glance at her legs. We parked and entered a shopping mall; after looking around at bullshit for a good hour or so we entered a café.

A waitress brought us to a table, but Hayley wasn’t happy with where we were seated so she asked for us to be relocated somewhere else. She grinned. “Isn’t this better?”

“It looks the same.”

She ignored me and glanced around. “Wouldn’t it be cool if it was like back in the days, and you could smoke in places like this?”

“Why the hell would it be cool?”

“I don’t know it would just look cool, like that Coffee and Cigarettes movie. You know, like you and me smoking, not smiling… like, talking about serious shit. It’d be in black and white and it would just look hot.”

“How’s your boyfriend?”

She sighed. “How’s anything? I’ve only talked about myself for the past few times we’ve met. Tell me about you.”

“I met a girl who was engaged. It ended badly. I lost my job for the hundredth time. Now I’m here.”

“What are you going to do now?”

“First I have to cancel a contract I put on a townhouse I was going to buy. Next I’m going to either start writing another book or look for another job. Maybe I’ll even start my own business or something.” I thought about what I just said. “I just want to be rich enough to pay for all of my thoughts to go away.”

“You know where I’ve always pictured you?”

“Where?”

“New York. Writing books. Making most of the fact that you’re single with no baggage. No baggage. Don’t you understand how lucky you are?”

“I’m almost thirty and I only have eight thousand dollars in my bank account.”

“That’s a lot of money,” she said, surprised. “That’s more than me.”

“Don’t bullshit me.”

“I’m not bullshitting you.”

“You are. You’re bullshitting me.”

Hayley sipped her latte or whatever the hell it was for a while with an expression that said: I did something fucked up. Should I tell him? Eventually, she decided to speak. “Can you keep a secret?”

“Probably not.”

“I haven’t been the most faithful girlfriend.”

“Is anyone faithful anymore?”

She grinned slightly. “No gross, I haven’t done anything sexual or anything… Well, here’s what happened: I’ve been talking to my ex a lot–”

“No one is supposed to talk to their ex a lot.”

“And this sounds so bad, but we’ve been talking really dirty to each other on the phone.”

“How dirty?”

“Well, for example, like, the other day, we were on the phone, and he told me about how he misses coming all over my face, and I told him how I missed licking it up. And like, he told me this while my boyfriend was right in the other room.”

I thought about the sorts of things I’ve done or encouraged in the past few months. It all seemed relative, but I didn’t say that. Instead I said this: “Dat shit nasty.”

“Remember when we were young?” Was all she could manage to say in the end.

We spoke for a while longer, and I paid the bill. We walked outside the café, outside the glass doors, towards the road and the cars and the heat. “It’s still cold in Brisbane, I think.”

“I see.” Hayley put her sunglasses back on.

I drove Hayley home. I felt both sad and happy whenever I hung out with her. I didn’t want to return to Jason’s place yet, so I randomly drove around until I found a parking lot by a secluded beach spot. I parked and sat in the car, playing with my phone. I texted Anna:

Hey

Go away, she texted back.

Have I ever been in love? I suppose I have, I suppose I haven’t. When I was young I used to equate love with sex, and when I became a little older I only ever fell in love with those who rejected me. I suppose I’ve been in relationships in the past where I’ve said, “I love you,” and they’ve said, “I love you” back. But they never lasted, and after some time everyone simply decided to move on. Can true love ever exist for those who don’t deserve it? As I thought about this, I received several Snapchats from Jude: the first was of his penis, the second was of some girl’s arsehole, the third was of his penis forcing itself into her arsehole, the fourth was of him inserting his penis into her mouth. I took a screen shot of each photo, blocked him from my contact list, sent the photos to a few friends and turned my phone off.

 

PART 1: DRIVING ONE MILLION HOURS TO REACH HOME

going-home-street-light

“Life will kick you in the balls, and when it realises you don’t have balls it’ll kick you in the pussy,” Jason laughed, even if what he said wasn’t funny. Jason is my childhood friend. He’s stocky and angry looking and something about his face makes him look racist.

We were in his kitchen, talking, and he was drinking beer and I was drinking water. Jason and I used to do everything together until I decided to grow the hell up. I moved to Brisbane but he stayed behind. I mean, we kept in touch once in a while, but eventually the friendship faded into nothing. I hadn’t seen him in about fifteen years. He looked the same, but bigger and with more wrinkles.

“I’m tired, man,” I told him.

“You drove for ages.”

“You sure you’re good with me staying?”

“You sure you’re good with staying on my couch?” He laughed, even if what he said wasn’t funny.

The morning after I met Anna I packed my bags and drove a million hours north of Brisbane, to the town I used to live in. I didn’t tell Jason I was coming. I merely turned up to his home. When his mum told me he didn’t live there anymore, I drove to this old flat he now lived with his girlfriend and son in.

We stayed up talking for a while longer. I asked most of the questions: I asked him what he did after I left, I asked him about his mum, I asked him what he was doing now, I asked him about his child’s real mother. I also asked him about my other childhood friend, Hayley, who apparently wanted to catch up with me the next day.

“So what about you, mate?” Jason asked me.

“What about me?”

“Why are you here?”

I lost my job a few days ago and hadn’t told anyone yet. “I just thought it was time to visit you guys again.”

going-home---table

Jason got the hint that I was tired and left me alone. I showered, brushed my teeth, changed my clothes. I walked around Jason’s lounge room, looking at the photos he had on his entertainment unit. Most of the photos he had were of his son. His son was about two years old. I wondered what my life would’ve been like if I never moved to Brisbane. If I never wanted to be a writer. If I got some girl pregnant and also had a son. I wonder what I’d name that son and if I’d be a good father. What the hell does it mean to be a good father, anyway?

I spotted another photo on his entertainment unit, hidden in the corner. It was a photo him and Hayley when they were kids. He was looking at something in the distance while Hayley grinned at the camera, ice cream in her hand. I wondered what she was like now. I checked my phone: there was one message from Anna. Nyt, was all it said. NIGHT, I replied back.

 

 

SILENT PERIOD

Goodbye Anna - short story

It was a few minutes past midnight, and this guy, Bill, whose boyfriend was supposedly a “scam artist slash DJ slash art dealer from like, London who had like, fifty thousand followers on Instagram,” had some kind of cover of Earned It by the Weeknd playing loudly from a gigantic iMac placed on a pile of magazines, and I was somewhere behind some curtains or some blankets, irritated, watching this silver-haired girl staring at the streams of light that would come shuddering into the room every so often for no good reason whatsoever – there was one particular moment, I think the moment was 12:42AM, when this man in a fishnet top, maybe someone’s father or uncle or friend, burst into the room and frightened us all by screaming I KNOW YOU, I KNOW YOU, before walking back out.

I’d barely spoken to Anna and for a while it ruined me. Reality can be a piece of shit sometimes, and I found myself plagued by immature thoughts. There had been moments where I wished I could’ve let go of all dignity and independence and driven to her work with the sole purpose of merely melting around her; I imagined telling her all the corny things I’d always secretly longed to tell someone: that I loved her and always will, that I’d give up everything simply to feel her hand in mine again. But the truth was it was never meant to be. As time went by and as I heard from her less and less my vivid memories of her turned into more of an idea of her, and eventually these posts about her: I’d think of her standing on a pedestal of poisoned crystal, or I’d think of the times we’d both fall asleep during video calls, or I’d think of the time she was with me in that tiny tea store and she smiled at me like I was the rarest person in the universe.

 

ANAL

slut neck thing - short stories

Things I liked out about Anna: she loved The Weeknd, she loved mixing music and had a following online, she brought Surface Children with her wherever she went, she regularly bought her parents dinner. Things that annoyed me: she secretly loved chaos, she loved destruction, she enjoyed the drama in walking away from the flames.

I walked out of work to find Anna’s fiancé and a friend axing my car. I had only heard stories about people axing other people’s cars before, and it’s pretty much exactly how you’d picture it to be: it involves people with axes, severely damaging your car with those axes. They spotted me and I ran for my life, and after a lot of running and hiding I managed to get into my poor car (all the windows were shattered, there were holes everywhere and there was piss on my seat) and drive off.

I parked at Jude’s place and used the spare key he gave me to walk inside. Jude was out with a girlfriend. I showered, put his clothes on, looked at the mirror. I tried calling Anna but after a few rings it would always hang up. I messaged her a few times – her phone said she read my messages but she didn’t reply. I looked at her social media accounts: her fiancés photos were back, her loving status updates about him were back. There were plenty more logical things I could have done that evening, but in the end I decided to drink Jude’s wine while messaging some girls and asking them if they wanted to visit me. After about an hour or so of drinking, Anna finally picked up her phone:

“Hey.”

“Hey,” I said.

“What’s up?”

“You back with him?”

“Yeah, sorry.”

There was silence.

“You know, you know what he did to my car?”

“I know I’m sorry, baby,” she said, “I just sent him the photos of us together to make him jealous and he took it the wrong way.”

“Why did you do that?”

She giggled a bit. “Don’t worry, it’s not as bad as the other guys he went after.”

“What other guys?”

“Are you drunk?”

“What other guys?”

“I miss you. Please don’t –”

I hung up the phone and wondered if I should catch a bus to work the next day. I hadn’t caught a bus in years. My phone vibrated: one of my friends, who was funnily enough named Annabelle, replied to my message.

Are you drunk? she texted me.

Why is everyone asking that?

Well, are you?

Of course.

I’ll be there soon.

Cool.

Okay if I don’t wear makeup?

I pictured her without makeup. Sure.

Have you eaten?

No. Have you?

Yeah.

That’s fine, I’ll eat something from the fridge.

She came over, and we sat by the balcony and she told me about everything that was happening in her life and I told her about everything that was happening in my life. I walked over to her and kissed her.

“You know I have my period, right?” she asked.

“That’s okay… Anal?”

We drank and we kissed some more and I took her to Jude’s couch. I drunkenly took her shorts off.

“I’ve never done this before,” she said.

“I have, and I don’t know how to feel about it each time.”

She laughed. Afterwards, I tried to put it in her mouth and she screamed at me.

“Fine, I’ll shower first.” I stumbled away, took a shower, and stumbled back out. I looked at her all drunk and sprawled on Jude’s couch: she was watching 12 Years a Slave on Blu-ray, and to her right, next to the remote, was a patch of blood mixed with small pebbles of shit.

 

ANNA’S PHOTO AND JUDE’S FIRST GIRL

Annas photo short story

Anna jumped in my car and we went for a drive and we parked somewhere and she went wild on me and everything seemed okay. Her mobile phone background, which used to have an image of her fiancé, had been replaced by a giant photo of a polar bear. Photos of him had vanished from her social media pages. But I was suspicious of these things, and I was sure there was a truth that neither of us had time to mention. As she sat on me in the driver’s seat she took a photo of the both of us, and as she sank lower I took her phone from her hand and recorded a video.

I drove her to work, and she kissed my cheek and said goodbye.

“Are either of us happy?” I asked her.

“Why wouldn’t we be?”

As I watched her walk off I suddenly wished for something pure.

In the meantime, I spent my other hours boxing, working, writing a novel or visiting Jude or Vail. We went to a wedding one evening, and Jude, drunk, told us both about his first girl. He was twelve years old, and the girl was a twenty-year-old “neighbour or something” of his, and she’d always come over with McDonald’s for him. They’d watch movies together, and she’d always find a way to turn their conversations into something sexual. One day, as she stroked on the straw of her cup of Coke, she asked him if she could look at him completely. Everything after that went quickly, and after a week or so of rather dark experimentation with her he told his father everything and he never saw her again. “I kept her panties, but,” he said as Vail gave me a strange look.

 

 

THAT PLACE BY THE BEACH

do-you-remember

we-sent-a-few-evenings
lets-go-skydiving
what-do-you-want

one-night-you-were-angry

 

I-mumbled-something

i-wonder-where-you-are-now

do-ghosts-dream

empty-space

has-love-ever-been-fair

remember-that-place-by-the-beach

 

WHERE DO CHEATERS GO WHEN THEY DIE?

Vicki sexy cheating

… and we somehow made it to the next morning – we were in West End, eating overpriced breakfast. It’s painfully hot in Brisbane now, and Mandy acknowledged this fact by telling me, “It’s painfully hot in Brisbane now.” I didn’t reply. She then spent about twenty minutes complaining about a colleague before trickling off into a silence that I didn’t mind at all. We said nothing, and I ate my mushrooms, and then my toast, and then whatever the hell else was left.

Jude came by. He was hungover, as usual, and he refused to take off his sunglasses. He had a story to tell, a story was about his friend Vicki. He’d been friends with Vicki for about four months now. Vicki was twenty-one or something years old and had been in a great relationship for about one-and-a-half years. One day, without any real reason, Vicki began to cheat. It started with phone calls: she’d call guy friends and ex-boyfriends and start talking dirty with them while her boyfriend would be in the next room. She’d let them remind her about how they used to come all over her face. She’d whisper to them the things she’d do for them all over again with even more intensity: the things she’d wear, the places she’d take them to, the places she’d touch, the things she’d nibble on. She then proceeded to meet men in clubs; kissing only at first, but then proceeding to do more. She had “hilarious” stories about the men she’d hook up with, about how some of them would scream like cats when they’d orgasm, how some of them had triangular balls.

The second last person Vicki hooked up with (to his knowledge, anyway) was Jude himself. It happened in Roma Street Parklands, and it was near some chairs or something, and she “seemed slutty under the sunlight” so he kissed her, and she kissed him back. After some time, she cried and leant against his shoulder, and went on a rant about how she didn’t think her boyfriend was the right one – he simply didn’t meet her needs, he was simply a ghost: he was the dust you never really see form around all of your things. After her conversation with Jude she drove straight to their flat, had an argument with him, packed her clothes, drove to his friend’s house and “fucked his friend all night”. She instantly regretted what she’d done the next morning: she called her boyfriend, crying, and drove back to their flat. She told him that he needed to change, and he told her that she needed to change, and they kissed, and he apologised for how he’d been treating her. She forgave him, and she held his hands and they just lay there in their kind-of-strange-smelling bed (Jude knew it was kind of strange smelling because he’d been there with her himself), and told each other that they loved each other, and to her, that moment, that perfect moment – it was the most honest, most romantic moment in their relationship, and probably the universe. She had an amazing man. She had an amazing life. He proposed to her the next day.

“That’s the worst story I’ve ever heard,” Mandy said.

“I don’t mind it,” I said.

We went to the markets, bought some things, complained about the heat. Jude left. Mandy and I drove to her apartment in silence: all I could think about was Vicki, and all I could think about was this thing called “cheating”. It’s a fucked up word. It’s like a ball of some sort – no, more like a chubby, slippery creature that sits in the back of your head, a creature you’ve always wanted to touch but rarely do. How far do you go before you’re considered a cheater? Where do cheaters go when they die? Is there an island for them? Mandy and I have done some things I would’ve deemed as questionable when I was younger, but now I think it’s all completely normal. The fuck is life meant to be about, anyway?

I pushed Mandy against a wall and kissed her, but before we could continue with anything else, she said, “Let me shower first.” She showered, and I waited, and I waited so damn much I fell asleep. I woke up, and then I showered and brushed my teeth. We watched a few movies from her laptop (Avatar, The Grudge 2, Fading Gigolo, Fast and Furious 6), and when it all became too tiring we lay down.

“I’m kind of tired,” she said after texting someone on her phone.

“Me too.”

“Shall we just sleep?”

“Sounds good.”

“Good evening, Sir Dean.”

I remembered something. “Mandy.”

“Yeah?”

I stood up. I checked my phone, replied to a message, smiled. I plugged my phone into a charger. I pulled something out of my jeans and gave it to Mandy: it was a letter I wrote for her. She read it, smiled. “Thanks, Dean. I love you too.” She folded the letter and put it in her dresser.

We both fell asleep, and I dreamt about death and life and death and I don’t know if I woke up in the middle of the night or not. We both woke up the next morning to get ready for work. She made vegetable juice for the both of us.

 

YOU POWERFUL WOMAN YOU

You powerful woman you“You know I tried to cheat on you,” I told her.

“And then what happened?”

“She wasn’t interested.”

“You poor man.”

“Women have it easier,” I said.

“When it comes to what?”

“Finding men.”

“Quantity over quality, honey.”

I turned my phone on silent and placed it next to my plate. “That’s the whole problem with this world. Men want quantity, but never get it. Women want quality, but never get it.”

She laughed at this, but it was a sad kind of laugh. We were out somewhere, in the Valley, I think, trying out a new restaurant. As usual, she was wearing something expensive, and she was probably going to pay for our meal. This has become a trend lately: women who have more money than their men. Women who have more options than their men. Women who do the dumping and men who do the chasing. Women with their books on girl power and their music about sexual independence and men with their, with their… hip hop?

“Tell me more about yourself,” she asked me after taking a photo of her vegetarian meal and posting it on Instagram. “We’ve been together for some time now, but I feel like I barely know you.”

“Does anyone truly know anyone?”

“Don’t be so dramatic.”

“I’m twenty-six years old. I’m a Leo and I like having coffee with friends and long walks along the beach.”

“Very funny.” She took a bite out of whatever the hell she was eating. “I have an idea for your next book.”

“What ideas do you have now?”

“I know you want to do a simple love story, but I think you should do something about magicians.”

“Magicians?”

“Yeah, something with a fantasy element, you know? They’re selling a lot lately. Look at Game of Thrones.”

“If I wanted to be a sellout,” I said, “I’d do a vampire novel.”

“No, vampires are out of fashion now. But fantasy, or something about a young guy who finds out he has powers: that’s what’s going to sell. I can tell. And you know,” she added. “who’s to say it won’t also have a romantic element to it?”

“You’re the worst.”

“How am I the worst?”

“You’re just a horrible person.”

She sighed. “Whatever. I was just giving you ideas.”

“Keep ‘em coming, because they’re brilliant.”

“I read this article about some self-published authors who are millionaires now. How much are you making again?”

“Well I’m not those authors,” I said. “My work isn’t for everyone.”

“Do what you want with your life.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“It means this.” She raised her middle finger.

“Oh, don’t you mean this?” I raised both my middle fingers at her.

We ate in silence for a while. We’d been fighting a lot lately, and she’d cry in front of me at least once a week. No matter whose fault it was, it was always me who ended up apologising. I was a fool to her tears.

We walked to a strip club and watched this girl dance for half an hour. Mandy called her over after her performance and whispered something in her ear – the stripper smiled and looked at me, and then giggled. Mandy had problems, horrible problems, and I knew after she had her way with the stripper she wouldn’t be giggling the next day. The stripper gave her number to Mandy and she smiled at the both of us and walked away.

We drove to Mandy’s apartment. As she showered I looked at some of her books on her bookshelf: Robert Kiyosaki’s Cashflow Quadrant, #girlboss, Robert Kiyosaki’s The Real Book of Real Estate, How to Win Friends and Influence People, Profiting from the World’s Economic Crisis, The Secret of My Success. I opened The Secret of My Success and a piece of paper fell out. I picked it up and opened it: Mandy had handwritten a whole list of her 10-year goals: Have a minimum of 20 properties around Australia and 10 in strategic locations in USA and Asia and Greece, have three kids, fuck 100 men, buy a Mercedes-Benz S-Class in cash, travel to over 50 countries, have a passive income of at least $500,000 a year.

 

***

 

NEWSYou can now also purchase paperback copies of Surface Children in Melbourne, at Polyester Books.

 

 

SKYDIVING

skydiving and falling - short stories

The next weekend, we went skydiving. We got to the place too early, so we walked to the beach, and she did star jumps and I threw rocks at birds. We went to McDonald’s and ordered some juice and we spoke about things that I no longer remember. I looked at her and took a photo: we’d gotten to that point in our relationship where we were completely comfortable with each other, yet still somehow completely attracted to each other. We still laughed at each other’s farts and left notes next to each other’s pillows.

Finally, when it was time, we went inside the skydiving place. They passed us some outfits to wear and briefed our group about safety and all that other shit before taking us all to a tiny, old airplane. I smelt my skydiving suit – it smelt like sweat. We walked to where all the planes were and filed inside the smallest and oldest looking plane out of all of them. The plane chugged a bit before finally lifting off and as I looked around its rundown and cramped interior I pictured the plane exploding and our body parts flying into the sky.

Because of the weather conditions we were only able to fly about ten thousand feet. My guide, who was attached to me, told me to sit on the edge of the plane, and before I could ask him why I was doing this he pushed us both off. Everything became a loud rumble of wind: I looked down at another skydiver beneath me, facing me, waving at me, hoping that I would wave back at him. He was yelling something I couldn’t understand, so I gave him the finger. He gave it back. I looked to the right and Mandy was there, screaming and laughing.

It was frantic at first, but when everything settled I wanted to keep falling. I wanted to be trapped in that fall somehow, and I wanted my skydiving instructor to detach himself from me and I wanted to keep falling, and falling, and falling. I was over the overwhelming burden of pretty much everything: the rich people and the poor people and the people on the internet and the people not on the internet and how subjective everything is, all the questions we have, all the answers we have, how unnecessarily necessary things are supposed to be. And I thought about heartbreak: I felt it before, and it was real, but with Mandy there, the word itself seemed like something alien. As the ocean and the city grew bigger I pulled the parachute thing and we bounced up and glided, and the guy behind me told me I could steer us wherever the hell I wanted.

We paid about a billion dollars for video footage of the fall. I drove Mandy home, and then I drove to my own place and called her and she said something and I laughed, and then she asked me what I would think if I filmed her kissing a girl and a guy, because she’d think it would be hot if I did the same, and I kept quiet for a while, and then we spoke about other things and I said goodnight, and she whispered that she loved me.

 

ONE DAY YOU’RE GOING TO LOSE ALL OF YOUR FRIENDS

Balloon over Gold Coast“If you have the weight of the world on your shoulders, then why are you standing so upright?”

Mandy told me a few stories and I told her a few of my own. We were in some place around the Gold Coast, and we were in a hot air balloon and I hadn’t seen anyone but her for the past few days.

“What do you think?”

“What do I think of what?”

“Of the view.”

The sun was just rising and there was orange, a warm orange, and the tourists around us smiled and took photos of the trees and fields near the horizon.

The balloon landed and we all had to roll it up. The organiser then drove us to this winery. I drank and ate as much free wine and food as possible while Mandy smiled, drank water, watched the green hills and the sun’s calm but confident rise.

“You have to drive us back!” I said to her eventually. I hadn’t had alcohol like that in months and I didn’t know how to feel about it.

“But I haven’t driven in years.”

“You’ll be fine,” I said, giving her the keys. She started the car and began driving forward before I had the chance to stumble in. She ran over my foot and I screamed in pain. “YOU BITCH!” was all I managed to say.

She stopped the car. I jumped in.

She crossed her arms. “I can’t believe you called me a bitch.”

“I can’t believe you ran over my fucking foot!”

“You yelled so loudly.” She began crying.

“I don’t get you. Stop crying.”

She wiped her eyes, looking my leg over. “Well, should we go to a hospital or something?”

My foot. I didn’t want to look at it, didn’t want anything to do with it. “I’m fine.”

We drove back to Brisbane in silence; we parked in her guest car park and didn’t say anything for a while.

“I’m sorry I’m like this,” she eventually said. “You know what? I don’t really have friends anymore. I mean, like, I’ve been in a bunch of relationships, but I don’t really have friends, friends. And I don’t even know if it’s a good thing, or a bad thing.”

“It’s both.”

“I just don’t enjoy socialising as I do working and improving myself. Have you ever been to a swinger’s party?”

“I don’t remember.”

She looked at my foot. “Are you sure you don’t want to get that checked? You don’t look happy.”

“I’m fine.” I wasn’t.

“Anyway, there’s a swinger’s place in New Farm. And I remember so badly wanting to go with a girlfriend once, because I heard they’re not that strict about you needing to be a couple or anything, but when I looked through my phone I seriously didn’t know who to invite. I’ve just been working so much that I don’t know what a normal social life is any more.”

“How old are you?” I asked her.

“You should know that already.”

I thought about Jude and Vail and that was about it. “One day, you’re going to lose all your friends. But then you’re going to make new ones.”

“Like you’re so wise. You don’t even have kids.”

We went to her room, changed, and as much as I just wanted to sleep, she persuaded me to go to the gym with her. I pretended to do weights while she did Zumba.