Empty pen

by writerlefter123

She likes to buy miniature shampoos and conditioners from the travel section in Boots, not because she’s going on holiday but because she enjoys pretending she is a giant when she showers. The same excitement is drawn from eating broccoli. Fairy trees, as her mum used to call them.

When she passes elderly folk she slows her walk or holds back altogether, even if she is running late. She does this because if she were old, or rather, when she is old, she doubts that she will take pleasure seeing the young flitting by in their cloud of limb-functioning, narcissistic naivety.

She can be jealous often. And forgiving rarely. Once bitten she forever shies from the offender, often altering her daily life course in order to avoid potentially awkward situations. For this reason, she shops at a grocers twice the distance from her local and with arguably inferior and limited stock, only to avoid Steve Mongin who lives above the closer establishment.

She hates it when the only pen she’s carrying runs out of ink. She loves the man who offered her his own pen when the above situation occurred on her monthly train ride to Manchester last Easter. She still fantasises that he will one day leap through sliding doors, onto her carriage and tell her, perhaps via written notes, with several near-demised pens, that he had bought a ticket for every 11.26am train to Manchester for the past 6 months in the hope of one day meeting her again. And then take her boldly but gently by the hand and lead her to his blood-orange Volkswagen van (which he iro-ffectionately names Van Morrison, in memory of his late father, who was not Van Morrison, but an avid fan) waiting illegally in the taxi rank with a fluttering £50 fine slipped almost seductively beneath the, also orange, wipers. And he would laugh at the law and push the pink paper into his black jean pocket, suggesting they use it to roll a cigarette later on. And he would drive her all the way to Manchester, through rain so heavy it would remind her of driving through a never-ending carwash (her favourite outing as a child). Power ballads would be playing on the car radio, not his choice, but the only music station they could find, so they would laugh at themselves, as they sing along half in irony half in earnest, the way a teenager secretly still makes a wish when blowing out the candles on their birthday cake.

But she has never seen this man or his pen again, and instead finds she attracts the world’s weirdos as train companions, e.g. the bloke who spends his 1.5hr commutes watching the same nineties video clip of a red-haired, angered woman, wearing a lime-green Kappa track suit, sweating it out on a rowing machine. He would watch this on repeat and blush with anger when the train’s Wifi failed him, which was often and every day, but always seemed to take him by surprise.