Well bugger. He’s going to be late. Just, lovely. Huffing I threw my phone onto the bed and stared at my laptop screen for a moment. My irritability was only compounded by the fact that the writing still wan’t coming. I’ve never had problems with muse for my fan fictions before but I’m really struggling now. Perhaps a change of scenery and a change of location will help. It’s not like David will be here any time soon. Apparently his music lot are all going for drinks after a ‘jamming’ session. Well I’m sure that’s lovely. I know I hadn’t exactly had to cancel plans to spend the afternoon with him but I haven’t seen him in two weeks and I was kind of looking forward to, you know, seeing my boyfriend? We’d had the whole day planned. Now I didn’t even know what time he was getting here.
Snapping my laptop shut I pick up my phone and pull on a jumper, snatching up my bag and key before leaving my room. Now that I have no plans until god only knows when I may as well go out. I’m not really sure where I’m going or what I’m going to do but I’m not going to sit around just waiting for him all day. I’m not that pathetic.
The air is cool as I leave halls and breathing it in I let out a long heavy sigh, feeling the heaviness in my chest lessen. I can feel my phone buzzing away in my pocket but I’m not answering it. He knows I’m pissed. He’s grovelling. Good. He should know I’m irritated. A nasty little part of me wants him to feel guilty. Maybe if he feels bad enough he won’t do it again, though I’m not hopeful. We’ve had these plans for over a week and he has the nerve to change it all up this morning!? Really!? Rolling my eyes I pull out the irritating buzzing box and put it on aeroplane mode before bunging it back in my bag. He can stew in it.
I follow a clean paved street away from the university, the pavement lined by orange and red and yellow leaves, creating a carpet of colour towards the elegant old structure of the British Museum. There are a couple of people milling about the stone lions, taking photos and posing for selfies before they meander through the doors but otherwise it’s not busy outside. I watch them for a moment, hesitating before following a little family of four into the museum. It feels funny coming in the back entrance, almost like it’s a secret. It’s quieter than the main entrance. There is one man on the door and a couple of people milling about a little coffee counter. Rather than a booming great entrance hall, the back door leads into a low ceilinged room, the lighting dim and faded as it leaks in through the doors, leading onto a wide staircase. Climbing the stares I come out into a tall room filled with a random assortment of artefacts. Some look Native American, some I couldn’t say, but splitting the room is low glass case just filled with pills of all shapes and sizes. I’ve never been so confused, and even reading the little white cards doesn’t particularly clarify things. I decide to give the rest of this random room a miss and walk out into the main atrium, the room filled with stark white light. Winding my way around the large circular room I find my way to the Egyptian collection. Maybe reading some of the plaques will give me some little nuggets of information that might help me out a little in class. I seem to be the only person in every lecture who has yet to put her their hand to answer a question. At this point I’ll try anything to help.
It was surprisingly soothing, walking through rows and rows of artefacts, each with a tiny story attached to their side. It was busy of course it was but, putting my headphones in I was almost able to get totally lost in the crowd. No one was asking me my name or what I was studying or what school I’d been to. No one cared if I had taken a gap year or what my plans were for afterwards. In fact, no one looked twice at me. It felt like a great heavy sigh had been pulled from my lungs, pulling with it all the tension from my shoulders and the buzzing from my brain. No one was asking me questions; no one was texting me; no one expected me to know anything or expected any response from me.
As the other people slowly started to trickle out of the museum I found myself in a smaller room, one wall covered by vibrant tomb art, the colours all still singing brightly from the stone, the lines sharp and clear. Sitting on the floor I looked up at it, a tiny smile pulling at my face. It was more stunning than anything I’d ever seen. Even after thousands of years it’s spirit still shined. It was remarkable that something so beautiful was so resilient, that the wonder of it hadn’t been crushed. I should try and be more like them, like the figures painted on the wall, strong, bold, resilient, colourful. But I’m not sure I have that in me. I’m not sure I ever have. Is uni really made for people like me? People who don’t like going out, who don’t like other people?
I sat for as long as I was allowed, unsure of how much time had passed but at five thirty I’m ushered out of the room, a disgruntled look on the security guards face as he sweeps me and a few straggling visitors out of the building. The cold wind wraps around me and my spine jitters as a shiver rolls over me. What to do now. What to do now… I pull out my phone to see if I have any missed messages. Mum. Mum. Dad. David. Just the one.
‘Still out. Not sure what time I’ll get one the train sorry! I love you xxxxxxxxxxxx!”
Yeah. Great. Okay. I scowl at my phone.
“Do you want me to wait for you to eat?” I type. No smilies. No kisses. We were gong to spend the day together at one of the parks. We had planned to get dinner after and see a movie. But now… what? Am I supposed to wait for him? Yes. I spend my entire time waiting for him. I wait for him when he’s late, I wait for him when he changes plans. I wait for him to get ready, I wait for him to respond to messages. I spend my entire time, waiting for him. Has it always been like this or am I only just noticing it now? I’m honestly not sure.
“Yeah if you could! Thanks! Xxxxxx” Rolling my eyes I send back a terse
“Sure” before shoving my phone back in my bag and making my way back to my room.
I spend the evening waiting to hear from David, waiting to know what time he’ll get here. At one point my neighbour Kate knocked on my door, asking if I wanted to go down to dinner with her.
“No thanks” I smiled. “I’m having dinner with my boyfriend tonight.”
“Oh!” she grinned. “That’s cool! What time is he coming?” At this I’d bit my bottom lip, glancing at my phone.
“I’m not sure…” I admitted. She grimaced and gave me what I assumed was meant to be a reassuring pat on the arm.
“I’m sure he’ll be here soon,” she said. It just came off pitying.
By nine o’clock my stomach was rumbling and I had still not heard from David. Picking up my phone I checked again for messages and … nothing. Of course. Unlocking my phone I tapped out an irritable
“Where are you?”
“Could have fucking said,” I muttered, grabbing my key and throwing my phone on the bed as I walked out to let him in.
David was standing in his large puffer coat, hair a dirty blonde a mess as usual. He pulled me into a crushing bear hug and kissed me but I pulled away, turning to lead him into the halls without a word.
He was babbling about something, something to do with his music buddies and what it was they’ve been doing all day as I signed him in as a guest.
“And then we went to this epic burger place…” I turned, jaw set.
“You’ve already eaten?” I asked. He frowned as I stopped, my hand on the door handle, the door still shut.
“Yeah. Why?” he asked, shifting his bag on his shoulder. “Why do you have your Bunny Boiler look on?” Gritting my teeth I pushed open the door and turned my back on him as I walked into my room.
“You asked me to wait, so that we could eat together,” I said. I could practically hear his face drop. I knew exactly what it looked like before I even turned around. He had his puppy dog eyes on. It was his ‘please-don’t-be-mad-at-the-cute-puppy’ face.
“Shit,” he said, taking my hand and yanking me around hard so that I tripped into him. That was closer than I wanted to be at the moment. He was hot from the train and frankly, he needed to freshen up. In my current, hungry and irritable mood I wasn’t willing to forgive any of this. “Shit, I’m sorry I totally forgot,” he said. “I’m sorry babe.” I pulled away and sat down on my bed.
“Go shower,” I said, nodding at the bathroom door. “I’ll have some cereal or something whilst you’re in there.”
“Babe, I’m sorry we can order in or something,” he said, trying to redeem himself with a theatrically charming grin. “You know me I always have room for more!” I just looked at him, arms folded over my stomach.
“Go. I’ll just have some cereal.”
“It’s fine.” And with that the stupid grin slid from his face. He dropped his bag in the middle of the tiny room, pulling out clothes and shower things, leaving a trail of David all over the floor before he vanished into the bathroom.
By the time he re-emerged I felt marginally less sulky. The food helped. I was now burrowed under the blankets, bear under arm watching crappy TV off of youtube. David emerged with his hair sticking up in all different directions, changed into his pyjamas.
“You mad at me?” he asked, not yet daring to sit on the edge of the bed. I knew he wouldn’t dare to until he knew it was safe. I looked up at him, silent for a minute before raising my head a tad to mutter,
“You look like a hedgehog.” He grinned, taking a step closer. Brave move.
“A cute hedgehog?” I just shrugged, turning my attention back to the laptop.
“Are you gonna hurt me if I try and cuddle you?” He still had that stupid grin on his face. Stupid charming grin. He looked like a cartoon character.
“Haven’t decided,” I mumbled. He seemed to take this as permission to enter and climbed up onto the bed, the mattress creaking under the added weight. I could practically hear the little old bed swear at me and apologised in my head. I half wondered if it would break.
It didn’t. The rest of the evening passed in a vaguely uncomfortable cuddle session, his heavy limbs around me, feeling like a dead weight over my torso making my breathing feel heavy. He was too hot. Too heavy. His hand too hard as he attempted to pet my hair. I wasn’t a dog in need of a hard pat on the head, and he kept accidentally pulling at my hair. Eventually all I could feel was dead weight as he started to snore. I jabbed him hard in the ribs, kicking him out of the tiny single bed and onto the inflatable mattress on the floor before rolling over, hugging my bear to me. What was so wrong? Why did I want to cry? I couldn’t put my finger on it. I hardly ever felt suffocated by him like that. I usually didn’t want to let go but right now all I could think was thank god this bed isn’t big enough for the both of us. I didn’t even really want him in the room. Not really. I wanted it to myself. I wanted the quiet. I wanted the space.