Thursday, June 28, 2007

Waiting For My Girl

The wild garlic smelt faintly of piss and the small grass mound he was using as a chin rest seemed to be crawling with insects. But then Simon was on a mission to catapult himself into the heart of a girl that never noticed him, a girl that seemed even to make a point of avoiding him. He knew that she walked her dog through the woods, down the path where he had strategically positioned himself. He also knew that love could be attained through the grand gesture.

Simon was hidden beneath ten square metres of Hungarian military camouflage webbing that he had bought at the army surplus shop from a man with thick glasses and dirty finger nails. The webbing was surprisingly heavy. The black, brown, green and yellow leaves of fabric intertwined with the thick-set cord webbing had only just fitted into his school backpack. The pinch of the straps on his shoulders had burst some blood vessels; his pale flesh stained by pinprick red dots.

The path through the woods was a busy one. Simon counted the pairs of shoes as they crunched across his eye line, trying to ignore the dampness that was moving from the earth into his trousers through a slow osmosis. Thirty people had passed by since Simon had set up position at the path side, each one glancing bemusedly over the strange mound of camouflage webbing, wondering what purpose it served. The delicate lime green fauna and clumps of wild garlic were of an entirely different shading to the bold pastels favoured by the Hungarian army.

Three hours and forty seven minutes had passed and still he hadn’t seen the one pair of shoes he cared about. The anticipation was dizzying and Simon wasn’t sure if the dull ache in his belly was from the Kendal mint cake he had found encrusted with clumps of fluff in the pocket of an old waterproof coat, or the first contractions of true love.

Then he saw them, the two dainty red shoes shimmering above the dull grey dirt, followed shortly by four canine feet. Simon, careful not to disturb the form of his hopelessly ineffective camouflage, positioned himself up onto his feet with knees bent. And then he pounced, throwing the webbing up and over his head.

He heard her scream and watched in awe as her eyes focussed on his and quickly dilated. Then a foot connected with his chest and he fell back and passed blissfully into unconsciousness.

“Who the hell was that?”

“I don’t know, dad. I’ve never seen him before in my life.”

Simon eventually regained consciousness close to midnight and beneath the cold shards of the stars relived those earlier scenes, the eye contact, and the recognition over and over until he was warm enough to head home.

Thomas Spooner

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