Chapter IV

Anyway, ten years ago, what occupied my every waking thought was the text exchange between me and Sarah the night before. A more accurate description could be ‘subtexting’, because the true meanings hidden inside those electronic missives were designed to prolong the contact (from my side at least). But no matter what I wrote (or more importantly, didn’t write on my phone) there was a terrible dilemma faced by all first time texters. How early into text tennis can you type the dreaded ‘X’?
As my Grandmother once said to my deaf-as-a-post Grandfather as he succumbed to a violent bout of wind sat at the Christmas dinner table – “There is a time and a place for everything.”
Putting a X in too early smacks of desperation/being too forward. Leaving it too late even after the messages have gone beyond flirty can come across like someone who is not being genuine.
Anyway, Sarah sent the first one. It was five or six messages in. I cant remember exactly but the text read something like:
“I don’t know, maybe I will come down and watch you play football. What do you look like in shorts?x”
Did you see how she sneaked it in? Almost hidden under the ? It was like she was texting it by mistake, as in – how did that get there?
After I got that text, I didn’t think I was being unreasonable in assuming that I was in with a chance. How wrong can you be?
The texting continued through the week. With work and kids and life getting in the way the texts became more sporadic. But because I felt myself becoming more smitten almost by the hour, as the gaps between beeps became longer and longer my heart began to sink
Sunday arrived. Robert de Nero was once again stood on the touchline waiting for the game to start. I was scanning the line of parents waiting for Sarah. She popped her head forward and gave me a little wave. Casually, without being noticed, I sprinted through the mud and slid to a stop next to her.
She looked up at me through a tangled mass of brunette hair.
“Hello again”
“Hello again”
What to say next?
“My mobile phone bill will be in the sky!”
“Oh. Maybe if you didn’t text as much then?”
I stared straight ahead. What possessed me to say such a stupid thing? The atmosphere dropped another couple of degrees. Think you idiot, think!
“What I mean is, that I might have to go onto a different plan. With Vodafone.”
As a romantic line it wasn’t quite up there with “Here’s looking at you , kid” but it was all I could think of. Was she being deliberately cold? Had I misread the texts? Had I misread the dreaded ‘x’?
The game was over, and we trudged back to the car park. My chances were ebbing away, I had to act, and quick. Well you know what they say – faint heart n’er won fair lady. Just before she got to the car, I called her name, she stopped and turned expectantly
“Look, would, do you fancy going for a drink, sometime? Or a coffee, it doesn’t have to be …er”
Sarah gave me a pained expression, then delivered the hammer blow.
“Tom I’m really sorry, but I’m sort of…. seeing someone?”
The answer, framed as a question (in other words – of course I’m seeing someone, you dork) hit me like a heavy weight punch in the guts.
Well that was that. Or was it? I got the impression she was apologising for having a boyfriend. Maybe she was desperately trying to extract herself from her relationship with the brainless bald headed fat toothless weirdo. ( I know, jealousy is a terrible thing).
I decided to send one more text. And so it was that the rest of my life came to be hanging by a thread. Would she reply? And what would she say?


2 thoughts on “Chapter IV

  1. cotswoldsgirl

    Well this is all *much* better than the James Patterson I found in the bookshelf.

    What was she doing putting coy “x”s on the end of texts if she was seeing someone?! (and you are 100% right with the “x” quandry)



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