The Weekend

by Joseph Matheny

I wake up. I have been sleeping somewhere I have never slept before. I wonder how I got here. Fuck, how much did I drink? I feel terrible. I go back to sleep. I have learnt that in this state it's best to sleep until I feel well enough to function as a proper human being. This turns out to be 3pm. It could have been worse; I was in a pretty comfortable bed, much better than the sofa I have become accustomed to. If what you hear is right about men then I would have left by now. Either it's not true or I'm not like most men. I couldn't leave, I've slept with somebody and I think I'm meant to be wait for them. Though maybe I am being weird by staying here until she comes back. Maybe she won't want me to be here. I think she will be back soon. I stick the kettle on and roll a cigarette, need caffeine and nicotine. There's nothing on the television. I turn on the stereo and put The Smiths in, my favourite Smiths song? I Know It's Over. A lot of people don't have a favourite Smiths song which is a shame. I hear the key in the door.

I know the girl. In fact I know her very well. I know her so well that I probably shouldn't have slept with her. She smiles when she sees me. This makes me feel good. Her name's Naomi, we've been friends for a few years, we are friends and we have the same friends. "Hey honey", I move over to her and kiss her on the cheek. She smells good, I mean really fucking good. I love the way girl's smell, their proper smell, not just the perfume they wear. I kiss her lips. "Where you been?" I ask, "Why did you miss me?" I say I have and I think that maybe I have. I don't feel weird. In fact, I feel very good. "I had the early shift at the pub, I told you I had to work this morning, are we a bit hazy on the details of last night Rob?" she's says this playfully and I can't help but smile. I can't get over how good I'm feeling. "Fuck, how much did we drink last night? Where did we go after the Druids? I wasn't acting like too much of a twat I hope", shouldn't have given her the opportunity to call me a twat. As it turns out I must have been entirely charming for the course of the evening. We make love. She is beautiful, her eyes are intoxicating; they seem to change from green to blue then back again.

I go to the shop for some lunch. We eat lunch at half 4. I make her laugh. We decide to go out again tonight, meet the gang for drinks. I don't know what all of this means and neither does she. I've always let things take their natural course. I explain this through a belief in destiny, that things are meant to be and we don't have much influence over the path of our lives. Recently though I think that I say those things to justify my apathy. Maybe this realisation means I will change. I hope so. We fall into the same comfortable routine with our friends. How's your day been? Any plans for tonight? Same old shit. I like old shit. I love my friends because everything is effortless in their company, the conversation flows with the drinks. I drink lager, but this goes no way in defining who I am. Four pints and it's time for the rum and cokes. Feeling bloated. Feeling fine. I have my arm around Naomi and the closeness of our bodies warms me. Why has this only just happened? Richard is telling us how pissed off he is at work. We all empathise because we all work jobs that mean nothing to us, jobs that we do for the sake of money rather than a sense of self worth. I've always believed this will be different one day. I'm an optimist. Even in misery I always have hope.

I become distracted by a picture on the wall. I don't know how long I stare at it, but I forget where I am and who I'm with. This is happening to me a lot recently. The picture is one taken on Brighton seafront. There are lots of people in the picture, it says the year is 1936. Everyone in the picture looks happy. I wonder who these people are. I wonder if they were happy all the time. I wonder if they had children and if their children are happy. I'm brought back to the pub when I notice Naomi looking at me. She may have been looking at me a while, "what were you thinking about?" she asks, "We're told from a young age that everyone that we can be whatever they want. No one ever tells us you can do whatever you want. I have spent a good few years of my life chasing nothing but pleasure. Society would say I am a failure. Fuck that, I've enjoyed my life, who the fuck decides what success is anyway?" I often struggle to articulate my thoughts and end up swearing instead. Naomi seems to be listening to me. I like people who allow me to talk shit like that. People that question things I guess. When I'm with someone to who life seems simple I can't cope. I really fucking hate it. I find it hard to talk. I don't talk much at the best of times. Naomi says she thinks it's down to each individual to define success for themselves. I hope she's right.

Our friends seem happy that me and Naomi have "finally got it together". Everyone was expecting it to happen. We walk back to Naomi's place. It starts to rain on the way. The road glistens from the lights of the cars and lamps. It looks wonderful, like the road isn't even there; instead I see a thousand lights as one. I suggest skipping which we do haphazardly. My hand slips perfectly into hers. We stop and buy a bottle of wine. Naomi lives in a nice flat, it has a balcony you can see the sea from. We sit on the balcony and smoke cigarettes and drink wine. We talk about our dreams. "Where do you see yourself in 5 years" she asks, "I don't see myself in the future, I can't do it, I don't see the point. If it's different to what I am now then I'm fucking things up at the moment and knowing that should make me change, I am not ready to change". She tells me that I should never change. I think that is an absurd notion but I don't say so. I hope she's right.

I've only spent 2 nights with Naomi and I disgust myself when the thought already comes to me that the good times won't last long. It never does for me. I tell my friends that I get bored, that I don't want commitment, that I'm independent. Really I'm terrified that after once somebody has spent a certain amount of time with me they will realise that I don't actually have anything of worth to say or give to anybody. This is great though. The bottle of wine runs dry. We look out at the sea; the wind is strong and the waves come crashing in over the pebbles. We are hypnotised by the rhythm. The sun starts to rise. Normally if I'm awake when the sun rises I'm inside somewhere, the curtains are drawn and I'm not having as much fun as I was 5 hours ago. I've never really enjoyed staying up through the morning. I'm enjoying this. We go to bed and fall asleep with are legs entwined. I don't stir at all until the moment I wake. I have no need to dream.

It's Sunday. We go to the pub for a roast, stopping at the shop for a paper. I buy the News Of The World. The world is made up of celebrities and misery. I flick through the pages ironically. At least I hope so. Naomi sits across from me and is a delight. I listen to every word she says. I realise that whoever she talks to smile. My stomach is satisfied, we have another pint before leaving. Outside, I kiss her goodbye and tell her that I've had great time and that I will call her later. Walking home my mind has no distractions and I can think clearly. I wonder how many more identical weekends I will have before things will be different. I'm struggling to live with my apathy. I promise myself I will find something of worth to do. I tell myself that I need this. The people I walk past are not smiling, I wonder where they are going and if when they get there, there'll be someone there to make them smile. I decide to think what I want my future to be. The unavoidable thought of going to work tomorrow hits me and my weekend is over.

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