A: Oh. Hello! It’s…good to see you. I wasn’t sure you’d make it.
B: Did you think I’d stand you up?
A: Ha! No. No. Well, maybe. It was a possibility. I mean, you wouldn’t be the first. Might not even be the last. I don’t know, do I…
B: No, I suppose not.
A: What’s the – ah – how’s the weather going, for you? Down here it’s been…it’s been pretty hot. This Spring. Getting through three shirts a day, you know?
A: Thought about going for a picnic yesterday. In the park.
B: Did you?
A: No. I mean, going by myself. In a park. With children – might give people the wrong idea?
B: I could have come.
A: I didn’t think that was your scene.
B: I love parks.
A: Yeah? Well. Maybe next time. If you like. We could go together. There’s a lovely spot, just underneath this big tree – half in and half out of the sun. The grass is so soft, you can just sit there and drift off.
B: Could you not-
B: Could you not use that expression “drift away?” It’s a bit-
A: Oh, God-
B: Don’t worry-
A: No, no, no-I’m sorry-
B: Honestly, it’s fine. I’m just being a bit…sorry. I’m still a bit…out of practice. As you can tell.
A: Yeah, yeah. Same.
B: So, what do you like to do for fun?
A: Oh, you know. Go out. Have some drinks. See friends. Go to the cinema. They’ve got a new one.
B: They have!?
A: Yeah. Yeah, a lot has changed since you left.
B: I can see that. I like what they’re doing to the place. Bringing a bit of…a bit of energy to the old place. Although – I’m not a fan of what they’ve done to Gino’s.
A: The pizza place?
B: Yes! It looks so weird now.
A: I know what you mean. There’s actually this other place I like to go to now. This new noodle restaurant, about ten minutes from where the Red Boar used to be.
B: Is it good?
A: I mean, it’s good enough. Not really my sort of thing. My brother took me there with his new girlfriend. Still, I was thinking, next week, if you’re free-we could go there?
B: Could do. If you don’t mind paying…I could try and make it up to you?
A: Well. If you want to make it up to me…we could try-
A: What I talked about, last time-
B: We’re not doing that.
A: Why not?
B: There are rules-
A: I don’t care about…I just want to get closer to you. Don’t you want to get closer to me?
A: Don’t you want to…feel me? Be with me? In that way-
B: Of course I do but-
A: There’s always a but.
A: Well. If that’s off the table, if you still want to make it up to me…
A: Just don’t leave again, so soon. Stay with me. Why do you have to leave at all, Luce? Why can’t you just…just stay with me!?
B: You know I can’t.
A: CAN’T OR WON’T?
B: Can’t. You don’t think I want to? You think I like these circumstances? Nathan – you don’t know how lucky you are – to be able to spend this time with me-
A: Am I now?
B: A lot of people would kill to be in your position. In our position. Trust me. I have to hear them. You’re one of the lucky ones.
A: Well, I don’t always feel it.
A: Not always, no. It’s frustrating.
B: You’re telling me.
A: And, I’ve been-
A: Talking to some people. Online. Who are in the same boat as us.
B: You what?
A: Look, I just wanted some advice, alright! Is that a crime? Anyway. I was talking to this one girl, and she’s done it. With her husband. The whole way. And the way she described it – I mean, obviously, they took all the safety measures, she walked me through that.
B: You’ve been giving this a lot of thought…
A: I just don’t think you’re…being totally fair to me. You need to keep an open mind. They do it – once a month, or so. And the way she describes it-it sounds incredible! It’s not even that hard. I just want to help us – make us more like a real couple. The way I always wanted before…before what happened. Don’t you want that?
A: I just want you back. Don’t you want to come back?
B: YES! But you’re not listening.
A: Put yourself in my – other guys. They can…they can take photos, with their partners…share a moment….share a night together. And, I can’t talk to them – can I? I can’t tell them…about you. Me and you. For God’s sake Luce, I was there when they-
B: When they what!?
A: I was there when they said goodbye to you. Your family. Our friends. And there was me, thinking that I’d missed my chance-selfish, yeah, yeah – but that’s what I thought-and then this…it’s not the same, is it? It’ll never be the same. Never.
B: Oh, diddums. That must have been really hard for you. Boo hoo.
A: Don’t talk to me like that – In that tone-
B: I’m not using a tone. You’re using a tone.
A: I shouldn’t have said anything.
B: Damn right, you shouldn’t have said anything! I was having a good time – I wanted to see you, I mean, I thought you looked hot for fu- I WAS LOOKING FORWARD TO THIS! And, then you start bringing up my parents and this random girl on the internet – who the Hell is she anyway? How can you trust her? And ruining the whole…I already told you it’s not going to happen.
A: You thought I was hot?
B: That’s not the-! Look, maybe this was a mistake.
A: A mistake?
B: This whole – it’s different with my parents – but with you – there’s all this pressure. I should have listened to the others. They told me this was a bad idea. I should have just let you – let you let me go. Kept this a secret. Why did I-
A: Hang on-
B: This isn’t working-
A: Look, I’m sorry. I made it weird. I’m sorry. Look, I’m really sorry – let’s give this another go. We’ll go anywhere you like – anywhere you like! Please, I’m sorry – this, my fault. Totally my fault – yes, you’re gone but you’re not REALLY gone – of course I know that. Not really gone. Not to me. Look, I just need to get used to this. We can – we can make this work-
B: Nathan, I’m dead.
A: Yes, I know.
A: Are you still there?
A: Right. Hanging up. Classy.
A: God, I’m an idiot.
This story is part of a brand new Creative Writing series within the Boar Arts section! If you want the opportunity to feature in the new creative section of the Boar, you can submit pitches to email@example.com.