The Bench, The Girl and The Wrap
I got one of those chargrilled chicken wraps from Boots for my lunch. It’s probably dead average, but “char-grilled” makes it seem like it was tenderly cooked in a moderately cultured and sophisticated manner.
I sat down on the bench, taking a bite out of the wrap. I was right. It’s average.
I had time before lectures to kill, none of my mates were at the last one. So, here I am, sitting like a spare prick on this bench. A spare prick on a bench, in a park, eating an average wrap. Like some down-on-his-luck cunt in a derivative romcom (eating a wrap).
The bench is on a path that cuts between two open spaces of grass in the middle of a park. Across from me, about fifty yards away, I notice a girl walking a dog. Well, her dog. Not “a” dog. She probably didn’t steal the dog. That would be a dramatic plot twist in this otherwise bland situation. One man eating a distinctly average wrap finds himself inadvertently embroiled in a complex criminal ring of animal trafficking. Kind of like Taken — except the dog isn’t my daughter. And I’m probably not as good as Liam Neeson when it comes to close-quarters, hand-to-hand combat.
Anyway, the girl. She seems pretty. I say “seems” because my eyesight is pretty average. Well, probably worse than average. For purposes of consistency, if the chicken wrap I’m eating sets the benchmark of relative mediocrity then my eye-sight is probably below that. My vision is lesser than a shit fajita from Boots.
She has short hair. Short hair in that kind of arty, pixie-looking way. She’s probably dead good at painting, or the flute, or some shit. She probably talks about Marxism and what she thinks Radiohead’s most important album is at parties. It isn’t normally something that I go for, but even from fifty yards away her very posture carries a certain aura.
She’s actually closer now. Her dog scampered over in my direction, and after he didn’t answer her calls she was obligated to follow in the direction her stubborn canine companion had chosen. I can see her clearer now. Wow, she really is pretty. Sparkling eyes. Looks like she smiles a lot. Amidst the developing drama of the situation, I took another bite of my wrap.
As I chewed down on the average chicken and the average salsa within a similarly average tortilla, it came to me that her beauty was unquantifiable. Not physical beauty as defined by mainstream culture and by the proportion of her bust and of her rear, but of the way she seems to carry herself. Her every movement emanated a certain radiance. I began to envisage the personality that her physicality echoed — warm and sensitive yet ambitious and sarcastic. Self-effacing yet quietly confident. The sort of girl that understands the distinction between conversation and merely talking.
She was moving even closer to me. I knew that this was it. I’d seen enough films to understand what was about to happen next. This was my defining moment, my cinematic triumph. It’s undeniable that this was fate. I was meant to buy this average wrap and eat it on this very bench at this very time; I was meant to lead such a progressively mundane life so that this moment would taste even sweeter. She was meant to be walking her dog, for it would act as a natural conversation starter. It would come over and register my scent as she then follows, politely and humorously apologizing. I would laugh, and introduce myself. Maybe say how I also love dogs, and mine can be quite the rascal too. Insert brief yet amusing anecdote of the time my dog did something embarrassing in public. Haha, good times. Anyway, as we both love this particular strain of four-legged domesticated animal, want to go for a coffee? For a cliche coffee in a generic side-street cafe? Or, we could leave it to tomorrow, if you’d like. So that there could allow time for a scene of me skipping home by myself, accompanied by an upbeat Hall & Oates track. Also, perhaps a light and comical scene of me nervously preparing for the date. Practicising casual conversation starters in the mirror. The audience would laugh out of empathy and first-hand relatability. This was it. She was now only a few yards away from me. The beginning of a romantic voyage, effortlessly sailing into the horizon.
Anyway, her dog did a shit about a metre away from my foot. She bent over and picked it up with a carrier bag. It looked a really odd colour. I tried to think of a joke about dog shit, but nothing was there. She turned and headed off in the other direction, checking her phone in the other hand.
That kind of put me off what I was eating. I put the rest in the bin and left.