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Cake: 4

by Jerome Smith-Pula 3 months ago in Relationships · updated 3 months ago
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Sometimes a pep talk is all you need to restore some faith in humanity.

Sometimes I think I have got it going perfectly until something falls out of rhythm and it knocks me off balance and I'm like why? Surely everyone does this.

I say this because I'm really falling for Mark and as much as I want this to be perfect, I don't want to be wearing my heart on my sleeve; ready for it to fall off, and be squashed by him.

Then, I don't want to be mollycoddling my own soul only to find out I kissed an opportunity goodbye.

And I feel like I'm shredding a daisy apart in my head as I strain myself to weigh up the pros and cons of what's happening here.

Amongst my whirlwind of thoughts, the underlining issue is that I am looking for a way to self-sabotage what could be a perfectly good thing. Riding on the what ifs and what could happens. They haven't happened yet. Could they happen? Possibly. I just have to learn to let things flourish organically and if the applecart topples, then the applecart topples. Pain is such a bitch. I'm scared. But so is Mark. Oh screw this!

We were in the lounge. His friend, Nicola, was sprawled out on the Lazy Boy, holding the decks for us. Mark was creeping closer, his target being by my side. I had knocked back five bottles of beer easily.

"What's next, boys?" crooned Nicola as she's slurring, holding the TV remote. "Spice Girls, Evanescence, Avril - ooh, System."

Mark looked my way and winked. I tried to act serious but I was already on my way.

"Boys!" she whinged, lapping up the last of her red wine.

I threw out a suggestion, N'SYNC. She turned around and threw me a surprised look.

"Tearin' up my heart," I continued.

She shrugged it off and typed in my suggestion into YouTube. It popped up instantly and she pressed play.

Even though I listen to that song regularly, the intro by J.C sends Dopamine throughout my body instantly. Just takes me back to the childhood days of the nineties, the happy days of being free without having a care in the world. Oh the nineties were a special decade. We all have a special decade/decades we hold close to our hearts. The nineties and early naughties are my favourite. So many things happened! I supposed when we listen to older music, we're reminiscing those old times when life was freer. Feeling nostalgia fuelling Dopamine flowing through our vibes. The bubblegum lyrics with undertones that would help us with learning about life, later on in life; the heartthrobs, the on-point choreography, the advertising (and subliminal messaging), sums up the nineties.

"Gosh, they were young there," Nicola crooned.

I could tell this was a good suggestion, she was practically drooling at Justin. "Who was your favourite, Peyton? Can I guess?"

I was waiting for her to say Lance but she surprised me when she said Joey.

"Given your infatuation with Mark, I think Joey because I'm getting Joey vibes," Nicola said, with a toothy grin.

I looked at my watch. 2435 hours. It's been an impressive nine-and-a-half hours. I looked over at Mark who was pretty much falling asleep. It had been a big day for him.

I went over to him and sat next to him. Nicola was on her own buzz playing boy bands, drooling over The Wanted.

"Tonight has been amazing," I said, looking at Mark, admiring everything about him. "But, I think its time for me to go home."

"Did you want to stay here? I can set you up in the spare bed?" he asked, a bit of pleading in his voice.

"Where is she sleeping?" I asked, confused.

"She'll crash in here," he smiled. He sat up in the chair and looked like he just got his fourth wave.

I passed on the idea and said thank you anyway. He asked how I was getting home and I said a taxi but I hadn't ordered one yet. I was feeling tiddly by then and I needed fresh air to sober up, at least. I got up off the chair, walked over to Nicola then bent down slightly to give her a hug.

"I'm heading off now."

"You're not staying?" she asked, confused.

"Nah, gotta get home," I said. Well I didn't, I just felt awkward and drunk and we know what alcohol can do if consumed too much. Wrong decisions.

"Okay," she said, warmly. "Well, no doubt we will see you again!"

I smiled, picked myself up and walked out to the kitchen where Mark was. He had a bottle of water ready for me.

"Are you leaving because of her?" he whispered. "We're just good mates."

"I know and its not coz of her," I said, nicely. I know how to play these games. Again, I'm probably self-sabotaging but I also don't want to get hurt again. Once the treasure has been uncovered, the winner takes it all and moves onto find the next X marks the spot.

"Okay," he said, not convinced. "I still want to see you again. What are you doing tomorrow, we could go for lunch?"

I wasn't doing anything but I found myself saying yes.

"Good," he said, reaching out for a hug. "I know we don't know much about each other and right now my only form of promise is my word, but I promise I'm not like the rest of the boys."

I pulled away from him. "That's a hard promise."

"I know," he said, smiling. "But this is a worthwhile investment."

I picked my bag up and put it over my shoulder. I waited to be guided to the front door which Mark did. At the door, he reminded me to message him my address and he gave me a peck on the cheek. That stubble. We said our goodbyes and I left down the stony footpath. I could briefly hear Nicola saying I'm a good looking chap. Oh to be a fly on the wall, now.

0100 hours

The fresh air was needed. I could feel the beer gurgling in my guts but the water suppressed anything for now. I'm hoping the fish and chips lined my gut, properly. I wasn't far from home, maybe 20 min walk. He lived not far from town so I could follow the well-lit route home. I pulled out my phone, multiple texts from my best mate, Kylie. I scrolled through the messages. She wanted to know if I wanted to go out. A bit late for going out now, but I rang her anyway.

"Peyton!" she squealed. " Why is your ex messaging me abuse?"

I swallowed. "I have no idea but he messaged me too. He saw me with another guy."

"Ooh, do tell," she said. She sounded like she was drinking something. "Is that why you ignored me tonight? Did you get some?"

"Yes and no."

"Ah, you haven't changed," Kylie giggled. "But, I love you for being you!"

I giggled. I told her about the cafe ordeal, outside the courthouse, then fish and chips on the beach, meeting Nicola, my thoughts. It was a whirlwind in five minutes

"Well clearly you like the guy," Kylie said. "And clearly he likes you if he wanted you to stay. So what's the problem?" she paused.

I gulped.

"Matt," she continued. "Matt's abusing you because he doesn't have you under his spell again. You were the nutrients to his narcissistic ways. Well, I'll handle him and you handle Mark. He sounds like a keeper, Peyts."

Matt. The narcissistic ex. The one who had messaged me this evening. I supposed we all got ruts in our roads and we need to be accepting of them. Matt helped build my world view because he showed me what narcissism is and if I hadn't of met Matt then I wouldn't know what that was, right? We need to continue to tell us to flip the script, accept and move on. Hard pill to swallow sometimes.

"So are you meeting him tomorrow?" Kylie hinted.

"I did say yes," I smirked.

"Good, because I think you deserve to have someone special in your life," Kylie reassured. "If he turns out to be a flake then well, least you can say you did your best. Life is.."

"...too short," I finished her sentence.

"See, you got it," Kylie smiled. "Wait, are you walking home? Where are you?"

I told her I wasn't far from Park Road heading out toward Victoria. She ordered me to stay there and that she would come pick me up. I thanked her and we ended the call.

Sometimes, a simple pep talk from a best mate is all you need, to re-establish faith in humanity. Tomorrow sometime, I would be seeing Mark again.


About the author

Jerome Smith-Pula

Been fascinated with writing since I was 11 years old. I'm interested in crime to feel-good articles. Mostly crime.

instagram: jsp_the_curator

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