The exercise: Thanks to Carol for the topic idea! (This one is more of a mental/emotional exercise than observational, but you get bonus points if you can somehow tie this to a person you can see and describe OR a physical object.) Think of a time where you’d like to change what happened – whether it’s to get that witty retort in or to say something you never got the chance to say. Write how it should have been and compare it to the reality.
My effort: I call round your house even though I shouldn’t. Even though we aren’t together anymore. Even though we haven’t been for while. This time we are staying broken up, you said. Just like you did the million other times you said that was it. Before now though, we always managed to find each other again. There was that time a few months back where it seemed like things might get back on track. I even stayed the night. But that was then and you went back to teacher training college and I went back to a bedsit and a crappy factory job while I worked out just what was the use of a Literature degree.
I pretend I am calling round to see your brother. I pretend it’s a happy accident that you are there. I pretend I am interested in the news about Princess Di on the radio that Sunday morning. I pretend not to notice you as you make coffee and toast and read your Dad’s paper. I talk to your brother and bide my time until I finally get a chance to ask you to come out for a coffee. You say no. I say, that’s cool even though it really isn’t and I ask about your new job and we talk for a bit. A little later, after swapping some CDs with your brother I leave. As I start for the Fuzz and Firkin and a pint you call from back down the street. You are heading out the door, putting on your coat. I will have that coffee you say, catching me up, we should talk.
Except that isn’t what happens. What happens is I pretend I am calling round to see your brother. I pretend it’s a happy accident that you are there. I pretend I am interested in the news about Princess Di on the radio that Sunday morning. I pretend not to notice you as you make coffee and toast and read your Dad’s paper. I talk to your brother and bide my time until I finally get a chance to ask you to come out for a coffee. You say no.I say something feeble to try and persuade you. You still say no, too much to do, too little time before you head off back to Surrey and your new flat and teaching job. I try again to convince you and that is when you burst into tears. That is when you scream at me to leave you alone. I try to calm you down, truly confused at your reaction. You scream at me some more. That is when your dad grabs me by my arm and marches me out the house, dumping me on the doorstep.
I should have left it alone when you said no. I found out later why you reacted so emotionally to my offer of coffee. But that is a whole other story.