Love like that plummets into you, like a cartoon anvil crashing onto your head and pushing you into the earth. It devastates, obliterates. She wouldn’t accept anything less, she decided. She wanted that heavy, falling kind of love that is both good and bad, because you turn into a sick person. Sick with the thrill of it all, sick with love. You become stupid, sentimental, doting, weird. You fixate on tiny things and blow them out of proportion. Hope becomes the springboard from which you dive into anything and everything, recklessly screaming YES to the Universe. And the Universe, in turn, uses that as an excuse to throw all kinds of shit at you, and you just have to weather it, survive it, find a way to keep the love alive. Keep it fresh, keep it real, keep it growing. For that person to still love you, after all of it. That is what she wanted.
The room was full of retards, she deduced within a few seconds. She’d never been to a reunion before; she’d only seen them on the movies. Wasn’t prepared for the dullness of the occasion, the complete lack of interesting-looking specimens. Everyone was so beige, so suited, so completely dull. Where were the beards and the fez’s and the unwashed clothes? There had been a couple of performers for them, after dinner, bit of a yawn-fest. It was nearing Christmas, so of course they were entertained by an inappropriate Santa and a couple of naughty elves. All very ho-hum.
She realised then that she had stooped to something she didn’t want to stoop to, and thought she’d best be getting the hell outta there. She tugged her faux-fur jacket from underneath the bottom of some seat-stealer, grimaced when she felt the arse-warmth remaining in its fibres. She took a last swig of whiskey and whisked dramatically out of the room. Trailing admiring gazes, she hoped, but refused to turn to check.
It was dark outside, and she was drunker than she’d realised, crashing through the door. Leaning against a chain-link fence in the darkness stood the shorter of the two elves, still in his costume. He was swigging on a bottle and smoking a rollie. She startled him with her grand exit, and when he yelped she leapt about a foot in the air.
‘SHIT a brick!’ she barked, dropping her goodie bag and watching the reunion poster roll down the footpath and into the gutter. ‘You scared me.’
He sneered, but kept looking at her as he took a long, hard drag on his cigarette, blowing it in her direction. ‘No shit Sherlock,’ he gravelled. ‘So … what did you think of Santa and his helpers?’
She nearly answered, then understood he was taking the piss. She realised he hated his job as much as she hated her past, and wondered why they were both in this place, for this purpose.
‘I don’t enjoy much, to be honest,’ she said, limply. She felt rather sorry for herself. No chance at love here, as she didn’t fancy herself an elf-lover. Though he was probably the most interesting person she’d encountered all night.
She looked up and down the street for a taxi, but it was deserted. She’d have to walk a couple of blocks to a taxi stand, she figured. She planned a route that would take her past a service station, so she could get a pie.
‘I’m gonna get a pie.’ She motioned her head down the street.
The elf nodded, dropped the cigarette and ground it with his foot. He was wearing sneakers, scummy Chuck Taylors, like her own.
“I love pies,” he affirmed, swinging his man-bag onto his green shoulder.