She finds herself single, twenty-nine, partially-employed and about a half a stone overweight. Roller dexter of eligible friends rattling thin. Thirties breathing down her neck like an inappropriate uncle. She jogs. Looks good in turquoise. Finds herself punctuating gas "better out than in!" patting her stomach like a department store Santa.
She mopes, watches television, develops a taste for medjool dates, shoving handfuls into her mouth, sticking to her gums like toffee. This is who I am, she thinks. Mouth full of brown. Cackling into the night.
She starts making people uncomfortable. The sarcasm, the cynicism, the general aura of malaise, heck even the gas, were alright on somebody engaged, cute even, but on a single woman who it must be said is not getting any younger. Well.
"You'll meet someone," her friends tell her. "The right guy's out there I just don't know where!" They say this exasperated. Some old fuddy duddy searching for their glasses.
She notices less invitations. Her iCal yawns blank. She wonders what she ever did before. How the hell did she spend her time? She runs into people. Into her old gangs. "Oh, you're all here!" she says, hurrying out like a diseased thing, her gaze darting around the spaces at the sides of the walls.
She resolves to do dating websites. Dating websites are something she does now. She doesn't like them. The romantic ones anyhow. The ones with cupid or soulmates in the URL. Those are not the ones for her. But the fish one she likes. She enjoys its willful cynicism. All just fish we are. Sling enough shit at the wall and something's got to stick.
A few days in she starts to get messages. Men message her. All kinds of men! Though mainly tights fetishists, role-players and one time a Tory. It is hard to imagine which is worse. "How are you?" they begin.
They can't help but notice she likes Murakami. Has she heard of T h is A me r ica n L i f e ? They bet she'd get a real kick out of that. And what about tights? Does she wear tights? What about fishnet tights? What about two pairs of tights? Has she got any photographs of herself wearing tights or could she perhaps take some? She did not realize there were so many sub-genres to tights fetishism. If nothing else she has gained this.
"Hey," says some guy, fringe flopping in front of his eyes. He seems promising. Better looking than the others. Hey yourself she thinks, tilting back her head, angling forward her laptop, concluding what she likes about him is how he stands. She looks at his photos like they are a really nice meal.
They meet ostensibly for coffee knowing they'll have sex if the opportunity arises. But they do have coffee. Icelandic coffee! They also have cake. The cake makes her feel sick but then a lot of things do.
"You wouldn't believe the weirdos I have messaging me," she tells him, cutting through the sponge and buttercream with the side of her fork. He is flattered. He is flattered not to be one of the weirdos. She gets drunk and laughs a lot. She laughs the sort of laugh that gets away from you. One that needs to be lassoed back.
They go back to hers. She has an HDMI cable and Netflix and two thirds of a bottle of wine. She fixes him a drink. They sit on opposite ends of the sofa. Neither turns on the television. They inch closer and he rests his head on her shoulder. It is a bit awkward but aside from anything it is logistically awkward and uncomfortable. She lifts his head and turns it round like the prop skull from H a m l e t , kissing him with a straightforward matter-of-factness while he pushes his hand up her skirt. After, he fetches tissue paper from the bathroom, wiping her stomach like he is nursing a wound.