I titled this piece, like most things I write, before I actually wrote the thing. It sat in my drafts for a few weeks and to my surprise, upon my return, it was all blank, absent of even a hint as to what I intended the story to be about. Oddly, I now find myself penning something in pursuit of interesting. Meta.

Let’s play, shall we?

It’s 7:04pm, and you’re four minutes late to your friends house warming. It’s not a big crowd so you’ve got little to worry about as far as wearing your party shoes, but, you will look back at the end of the night pleased at having spent 2 hours and 17 minutes in deep conversation with the person wearing a white shirt, embroidered with a small, blue mockingbird on the left sleeve cuff. Odd place for a small blue mockingbird, but obviously it caught their eye when they bought the shirt so it ought to count for something.

They begin the conversation slightly flustered, having just spilt a small amount of chilled baileys on what appears to be a light grey woolen rug. They turn their foot a few degrees to hide the droplet, grinning ever so slightly knowing your first introduction was based on keeping a secret, almost instantly enveloping you both in a moment of trust. From there on in it’s a mixture of topics, each flowing effortlessly without the need for top ups, gracefully saving the rug from further mishaps.

You hear of stories about photography, extinct volcanoes and hot coal walks. There’s a recipe for a spicy bbq lamb roast, the time someone fell down a hole into a running creek beneath freshly dusted snow, and you both watch a short clip on a smartphone from one person’s recent obsession with Nordic throat singing. The video shows drums beating in between chirps of air expelled from the cheeks of a short haired blonde girl standing on the edge of an Icelandic cliff. You learn about how sugar is milled and realise that that the delicious brown crystals you sprinkle into your coffee mug each morning were once a thick brown slush running through grates in a sugar mill on the outskirts of a small Australian town. But the excitiment of the conversation makes it ok, so you’ll still add a teaspoon in the morning. Your conversations roll into career, challenging yet supportive when you bring up the fact that you’re secretly plotting your next career move and the boss is in the next room – just so happens they are a mutual friend of the host. Your new friend recently decided to be a writer and fumbles once more when you ask what they write about.

“Well, it’s a mixture of things, mainly self experience type stuff, in story form, kinda”.

They are still working on their line. You giggle.

Anyone up for a game of charades?

Another brief lie is told and a second secret is formed. That game sounds like too much work for someone like the both of you, besides, you’re further comforted in your new found friend, realising they just get you more than you thought they would when you stumbled into the room, late. You’d both rather keep chatting than make a fool of yourselves playing charades with a room full of people you don’t really know. And so, you continue.

Plants in pots, all sorts, it’s a new hobby. Breakfast most days is a must, sometimes tasty cheese on jam toast with a side of tea. They are into nonfiction just as much as fiction. Funnily enough you’ve recently taken a liking to fiction just as much as nonfiction. All too strangely you’re just so much alike, and when you’re not, your interests just seem to complement each other anyway. You quickly find solace in realising that your fear of chasing down something interesting to talk about was misguided, insignificant and unwarranted.

Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring.

“Hello?”

“Hey! Are you still coming? It’s past 7!”

“Ah, yeah, about that. Umm, I just found out I’m running a flat tyre and I don’t have a spare. Road side assistance is on their way. Still a few hours till they get here though. I’m so sorry, I really wanted to be there, but I’ll have to give it a miss. Can we catch up tomorrow, once you’ve settled in?”

“That’s terrible! Hope it all works out. Sure. Call me in the morning.”

Click.

Although you feel terrible for lying, you know it’s for the best. You really would much prefer to read about all those things running through your mind instead.

Wiping the fog from the mirror, you look at the droplets of water hanging for dear life from your brow. I wonder how many molecules are in that one drop?

Returning the white shirt you avoided wearing, you place it on the hanger on your way out of the bathroom, turning the light off behind you. The sleeve continues to sway ever so slightly from the breeze coming through the bathroom window, almost as if that blue mockingbird on the cuff was free once again.

Ivan.

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