I met Mike at Trafalgar Square. He loved to go out when the sun was out, basically because he loved to watch women. They always reacted strange around him. As if he was a god or something. Honestly, he really isn´t. He treats girls like shit. He really does. He doesn´t really care too much about women, even though he has a very believable I care so much about you act. He loves to play with them. Yeah, I´d say he likes the gamble. A girl who doesn´t sleep with him on their first night out is a girl he will not call again. Gosh, there have been too many girls at our door asking for Mike to talk to them once more. Why the heck he even bothered to give them our address is beyond me. He prefers to go to their place, which I prefer as well. I wouldn´t mind a girl coming over to our place every once in a while, but with Mike´s routine of disposing of girls after he had got it on with them it would have been an endless string of girls showing up in the kitchen in the morning. I really don´t bother anymore, when he does decide to bring one girl home. I don´t even ask their names anymore. I´m sure I will never see them again.
Being out with Mike is always fun, don´t get me wrong. But his obsession with girls somewhat bothers me. Even if we decide to have a guys´ night out, to just drink and party and not hook up with girls, it will be Mike who´ll say “Oh, she looks hot”. And just like that, I´ll be alone on the dance floor/at the bar/in the pub/wherever we are. Whatever happened to bros before **s, if really don´t know.
Even though we decided to meet at Trafalgar Square at 2, I was there well before him. I hate that he never shows up at the agreed upon time. He always mocks my punctuality. I pretty much can´t help it. If I try to be late, I end up being even more on time instead.
Waiting for Mike, I decided to buy a sandwich and a coffee at Prêt a Manger and as I walked back, a couple got up from the benches near the fountain and I hurried to take their place. It was really very rare that you got to sit on these benches on a Saturday at 2 when the place was as crowded as it was today. The sun got the people out of their houses. I do really believe that at least 85 % of the people here at tourists. Those Chinese people with their big cameras and their travel guides were tourists for sure. Having lived in London for quite a while, you can tell who´s a tourist and who isn´t. I mean most of the time it´s fairly easy. The people staring at London Eye or London Bridge with big eyes and open mouths are almost always tourists. Or stoned. Most people with cameras are tourists. Most people in coats on Westminster Bridge are tourist. English guys tend to wear a shirt the moment the sun comes out in spring and will only wear coats when it´s winter again. If even then. Most groups of people are tourists. It´s not so much the ethnicity you have to pay attention to. It´s more the things that you can point out that differ so much from a person living in London that tells you who´s a tourist and who isn´t. But then again you can be wrong in your judgment. Nonetheless, I think that at least 80 % here are tourists. The couple sitting next to me is here on vacation. For sure. They eat their plastic wrapped sandwich as if it was something very delicious and absolutely unique. They turn their coke cans to read the GB sign before opening them. For crying out loud, they have a French travel guide with them.
Listening to the French guy reading aloud about Trafalgar Square in French to his French lady sitting next to him, Mike finally shows up. He just sits down next to me, takes the coffee from my hand and takes a big gulp. “Thanks, man, I really needed that, you know.” Yeah, sorry, I am so late, you know, the Northern line is closed again and I had to take the Central line and then the Circle line to get here. Sorry, mate. I would have been ok with that explanation for him being late, but Mike never apologizes for being late. He once told me that I know he is never on time, so what´s the point apologizing for it then. At least I knew that the Northern line was closed, because I took the Central line and then the Circle line to get here, but knowing Mike I bet he hasn´t even been home yet. He must have slept at some woman´s house and got her to make him breakfast and then left. He would have saved her number in his cell phone, should he ever want to get it on with her again. Mike had figured out a nice rating system, giving each woman between 1 to 5 points for being good in bed, good company, good looks, good breakfast maker, and potential second hook-up. No girl has ever gotten 5 points. He just won´t see them again. Not after Emma, but that´s a totally different topic and Mike simply refuses to talk about it. His way of dealing with the break-up was to get as many girls as he could. My way of dealing with the break-up from Jen, which was reason enough for Mike and me to get an apartment together and swear of all women for a while, was to not talk to any female being. I just couldn´t take it. They all reminded me of her and though it might sound stupid, I really think that she was the one for me. You´d take your time as well, if you have just lost the one.
Mike was babbling on and on about the girl he had hooked up with, but it wasn´t really necessary I listen to him. I unwrapped my sandwich and started eating, swallowing it with a gulp from my repossessed coffee cup. Mike was good with the one-sided conversations. To be honest, I do think he preferred it that why. It´s alright to just add a “mmhh” or “really?” sometimes. That keeps Mike going for about an hour. You don´t have to worry about missing anything, really, because Mike will only talk about that girl once. It was different with Emma, I admit, but then again, he never talked about her again after the break-up.
As he was just explaining how he and her got it on more than once that night, I noticed a little blond girl, rushing down the stairs leading to the National Gallery, in her feeble attempt to catch one of the pigeons that are all over Trafalgar Square, picking up the rests of bread, chips or whatever they can find. She opened her arms and ran among them, startling them. As they flew off, she followed them with her eyes, her arms wide open and a huge grin on her face. I couldn´t help but smile. She reminded me really very much of my little sister. When she was younger she was always chasing birds, pigeons, or our neighbor´s cat. Later, she chose to replace birds, pigeons and cats with boys. She is married now, living in Oxford with her husband. I just hope that should she ever have children, they´ll look like her when she was a little girl.
Mike was still talking about some exquisite details about his nights. I just closed my eyes and enjoyed the sun on my face. I heard him talking, just as I heard the noise from all the people around, the cares that raced by, the French guy still reading something to his wife. But it all seemed to be muffled and in a distance, as I was only focusing on my breathing and on the warmth on my face. It was getting really warm, sitting there with no breeze, so I got up to take off my blazer. I really love that blazer. It belonged to my father, but he gave it to me on my sixteenth birthday. For him, turning sixteen marked the beginning of being a man and he wanted to give me something to grow into. He died two years later. He never saw me wearing that blazer. I fathom he would have been proud seeing me wear it now. I turned out a lot like my father with his broad shoulders. Sometimes, and now don´t laugh at me, I still think the blazer smells of him. I really do.
I noticed that the shirt I had grabbed from the floor this morning was indeed grey. I remembered undressing the night before and hanging the grey pants over the back of the chair. As I got up this morning, I just put the pants back on, but in the poorly lit room with all the curtains drawn I just grabbed the one shirt that was on the floor and put it on, not noticing that it was grey as well. Well, shame, I thought to myself, and then pushed my hair out of my face with my hand. I really didn´t mind too much. I do believe that everything goes with dad´s blazer.
Mike had taken the coffee cup from my hands again and drank the rest of it in two or three big mouthfuls. “Thanks, mate”, he said, handing me the empty cup. I sighed, knowing that there was no point discussing that with Mike, and got up to go to the trash can at the end of the bench. As I disposed the trash, I noticed that woman sitting on the stairs the girl had raced down just minutes before. She was definitely staring at me. Why was she staring at me? Yeah, I know that I should have checked my wardrobe before I left, damn it. I frowned at her stare. I felt it on my, even though she was wearing sunglasses. I just knew she was staring at me, because she didn´t even move and behind me was only the trash can and a wall, so I do believe that she was staring at me rather than staring at the wall.
I walked back to Mike and sat down next to him, rummaging for my sunglasses so that I could take a proper look at her, without her noticing that I am staring back at her. How uncomfortable. I put the sunglasses on and looked down, as to check whether there were some stains on my shirt or anything that could have put her off. But there was nothing. So I ignored Mike, who was still talking, to look at her again and as I did, she sat up straight, straightened her hair with her fingers, taking on a relaxed posture. Yeah, she had been staring at me alright. Then she took off her sunglasses and got up to throw something in the trash can and as she walked into my direction, she was moving her hips funny. I think that´s what she calls her sexy walk.
“Just look at her, man”, Mike said. “She has a gum sticking to her butt.” He started laughing and I couldn´t help but grin. She really did have a purple gun stuck to the back pocket of her pants. Even though she was trying to be as sexy as hell for me, the whole scenario was just hilarious with that gum sticking to her butt. Reaching the fountain, she spun around. “Someone has to tell her, man”, I heard Mike say. “You do that, man. I´ve had enough of women today.” He pushed me off the bench and then closed his eyes to enjoy the warm sun on his face. He would make a fuss would I refuse to go, so I just walked over to her, taking my glasses off as I reached her. Her face lit up as I approached her. There really was a sparkle in her eyes and even though I admit that she was kind of pretty, I didn´t fancy her at all. She wasn´t Jen, so she didn´t matter.
She looked at me surprised, yet as if she knew that I would come over to talk to her. I stopped a good two feet away from her. “You know”, I said, “You have a purple gum stick to your butt.” I heard Mike roar in laughter right behind me. His laughter infected me as well. My face lit up with a big grin and I turned to look at Mike, almost missing how the woman´s face fell apart as she noticed that I hadn´t come over to be her stupid knight in shining armor. “Well done, mate”, Mike said, patting my shoulder. “Let´s get some more coffee. The one you brought me was disgusting.”