1.26 – The Same Thing

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After we had signed the papers, I’d caught Kaylyn slipping my number to Lachlan. Nice try, I thought. I rolled my eyes at her and she suppressed a grin, eyes innocently twinkling.

He actually used the number to congratulate me when the paperwork went through and our lease was official. Kaylyn, also a possessor of the number, invited him to dinner with her husband, herself, and I.

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“Sorry…if this is weird.” I apologised. “It’s OK, you made the sale, you don’t need to hang around me anymore.”

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He shrugged. “It’s not like I’m forcing myself to attend. You’re actually really nice – both of you. This’ll be fun – plus I heard the fish here is amazing.”

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Over dessert – which I managed to let myself eat for once – the topic of childhoods came up with Vaughn’s innocuous ‘so did you grow up here?’ question, directed at Lachlan.

Awkwardly shifting, he stared down and away from us. “I…no. I was raised in Sunlit Tides. But I got out of there quite quickly.”

“Sunlit Tides is gorgeous though!” Kaylyn gushed. “Blue skies all year, that beautiful ocean…I don’t think I’d ever leave.”

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I noticed Lachlan squirming slightly, opening and closing his mouth several times. He eventually settled on saying nothing.

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“I guess the economy’s pretty tourism-dependent; there’s far more jobs here.” Vaughn considered. Lachlan quickly agreed and the topic was dropped in favour of a discussion of our dream vacations.

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I recognised his facial expression because it was the same one I felt myself wearing whenever the past and ‘where did you grow up’ came up at social events – recently, I’d been networking with Kaylyn to put the word about our yoga studio out there. The biting of the lip, eyes darting frantically as you try desperately to not make things awkward with a sad story…

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“Never mind Sunlit Tides.” I told Lachlan, as we left the restaurant. “Whatever’s there is there. You don’t have to talk about it. Or think about it.”

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He simply nodded and thanked me, but despite a voice in my head telling me I’d fucked it all up, I could see and accept that…he actually appreciated my clumsy, cryptic advice. And maybe, he knew that I knew, so he knew that I had the same thing going on.


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Whatever it was, it seemed that moment was what led to Lachlan and I becoming actual friends. Despite Kaylyn’s attempts, that was all…but he did add even more good to my life.


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I’d known Dianne since we were kids, so I knew her ‘ideas’ face. She’d been wearing it when I let her in. Plus, she was murmuring to herself while she used the new coffee machine. In conclusion, she was up to something.

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“So,” She sauntered over and sat down, mug in hand. “Khalil’s friend Raj is coming back into town tomorrow and your date is on Thursday, you’re welcome.”

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I raised an eyebrow. “…Aren’t you and Khalil breaking up?” Why would you remind her of that. Shitty, worthless friend – well, actually, I said it because it was relevant to the conversation at hand. So that inner voice could shut it.

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“Yeah. We are. So?”

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“So why am I going on a date with your ex’s friend?” I asked, sighing. Dating’s something I’ve stayed away from for a long time. I haven’t even had sex since that random guy two months after Nolan was born (real classy, huh, Sarai?). I’m at a stable place. Things are good. Why risk fucking it all up? I’d just make the same stupid, whorish decisions I used to…

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“Because it’s all set up and you need to get back out there.” she retorted.

“Says who?”

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“Says I. I know you best. Plus you’re always complaining about being alone-”

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“That’s just me joking. Yes, I’m single, but I don’t – I don’t want to date again. It’s too much.” I protested. “You know I’m afraid of going…back to how I used to be.” I cringed. It was so fucking pointless to remind her of my old ways and self, yet of course I’d done it. You always-

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Dianne’s face fell slightly, her eyes hard and serious. “OK, OK, mine’s just jokes as well. I won’t force you, Sarai. But…I just want to say, I think you are ready for real, true romance. You’ve put in so much work. And if you do sleep with this guy and never call him again – so what? Don’t shame yourself if you enjoyed yourself.”

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I suppressed a scoff. She still doesn’t really get it. I’d give everything to whatever guy said I’m pretty, get lost and swept up in a moment, desperate for any kind of fucking attention only to run away from the situation in the end. I wanted to avoid that. I’d seen that it was an unhealthy pattern, and I know I can’t go back.

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She seemed to know what I was thinking. “Obviously only do that if you really want to. Not just…for the hell of it, y’know?” she fudged, awkwardly gesturing. This was uncomfortable. I made her uncomfortable.

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“Sorry. I’ll do it. The date, I mean.” I told her, just wanting to end the conversation.

“What are you apologising for? Come on, we have to watch Simchanted now. I’ve gotta be at work in an hour.” That was the whole reason she was here; it was our show on Saturday evenings – the same evenings she worked behind the bar at a restaurant on Kells Avenue.

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“You’ll definitely be late.” I pointed out.

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“Not late enough to get in trouble – if you hurry up and turn the TV on.”


Five days later, I was regretting giving in so easily. Well, not so much giving in as being weak and agreeing to avoid a conversation. Coward.

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I’d had to cancel on Lachlan. Most Thursdays we got together at one of our places, I’d teach him yoga stuff, he’d make us food and we’d watch one of his geeky films. I’d grown to enjoy those movies and those times, and now I was skipping it…for this.

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“So you’re – what was it, Dianne’s cousin.”

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“Yeah.” I answered, not really sure what else to say to such a greeting. No ‘hi’ and introduction? Really?

You’ve fucked guys without getting that, I sneeringly reminded myself. With gentle chastisement, I told myself that that fact didn’t mean I’d do so now.

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Our date didn’t last long. Raj would not stop talking about himself, and even if I didn’t always believe it, I knew that in relationships, the other person should take an interest in me. Mutual interest is healthy, like Alessandra said. God, how did I still rely on my CBT quotes to guide me through basic socialisation?

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He didn’t say anything when I ordered a sparkling water, and later explained that I didn’t drink when he asked me, but he got this weird look in his eye. Like I was a freak. The appetisers looked really good but I pretended that I didn’t want any of them because I wanted it to be over. I nearly always skipped dessert anyway.

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I left the restaurant thinking about the fact that Lachlan’s incredulous reaction to this whole situation made me laugh twice as hard as anything that guy said throughout the whole hour and a half. And I really regretted skipping out on him.

 

9 thoughts on “1.26 – The Same Thing

  1. “well, actually, I said it because it was relevant to the conversation at hand. So that inner voice could shut it.” – I totally liked that!
    God, this guy is awful. I’m glad Sarai could be smart enough not to fall into the same destructive pattern, though. Good for her.

    Like

  2. Awww… She and Lachlan are doing it right. Becoming friends first. I hope,things go,well,with him. He seems super nice. Good for Sarai for realizing he was a jerk.

    Like

  3. I think she shouldn’t date until she’s ready for it, but she shouldn’t let what happened in her past stop her from finding real romance now, since she deserves it. Lachlan seems like a very nice guy… maybe they’ll become something more in the future.

    Liked by 1 person

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