Image © Copyright Amy Charles Media 2014

7 Mar 2016

Pink Vinyl

I'm waiting, outside the Wetherspoon's,
at the bottom of Ecclesall Road.
Romance brews
beside a warmly lit room,
cheap ale, no music,
and the Tuesday night 'Steak Club'.

My new job pays 866 per month.
That leaves 416 after rent and bills,
which abandons me far too quickly:
especially in a new city;
when I'm 24,
and I'm single.

But still, I phoned Mercury Taxis,
dancing to the screech of the tyres:
leaping through the window
'midst a hand-break turn,
racing through Hillsborough
up the hill, towards the Uni,
over the top, past The Harley,
and across the Bramall Lane roundabout.

I urged him to rush:
shared the thrill of spontaneity.
Clutching a glossy white Chanel bag.
One of those jumped-up
cardboard carriers they give you,
which folk never throw away.
Inside was something far more special.

You'd told me how, as a bairn,
you'd sift through your old man's records;
and this one was always your favourite.
You didn't even like the song at first:
you just loved the way it looked.

Not seen it since.
Presumed it was hard to come by.
Yearned for it, for a moment,
toasted with
Strawberry Timmermans.
And now here I am
clutching it's designer disguise.

The glass exterior
renders Wetherspoon's a fish-bowl,
only... as if to magnify my circumstance,
they all gawp out at me.

There's a seated patio,
and I can feel folk watching
from the corners of their eyes:
using me as a marker.

"Was he here when we ordered?
How long ago was it?
Should I say something?
No, not about him... the steak...
it's been 22 minutes..."

Nervous girls arrive for
first dates,
catch my awkward eye,
as I scan like a lighthouse,
and breathe sighs of relief
on spotting dates inside.

Couples come and go,
as I exceed 45 minutes.
3-0 leads have succumbed to
4-3 defeats
in shorter periods.
The soaring high
precedes a crushing blow,
when you realise you'll never go anywhere
with centre halves like these.
Except, you never noticed them,
when you were cruising at 3-0.

We're opposite a roundabout:
connecting the city centre,
Hanover Way,
Waitrose, and Ecclesall Road.
Ecclesall Road leads to
Hunter's Bar,
Sharrow Vale,
and Nether Edge...

Car after car,
and none of them are yours.
None of them are your taxi,
your lift.
I almost wish that the streets were empty
to stop the flow of faces
taunting foolish hope.

Cars to the left of me,
Steak Club to the right...
here I am,
stuck in the middle,
with 'Cool For Cats' by Squeeze
on pink vinyl,
an exasperated text,
claiming misunderstanding:
with no kisses,
and no apologies.

You're at the other side of town.
You haven't eaten yet.
You're too busy now.
Too busy later.

"No man is an island,
but this woman is."

A huffed sigh slips my phone
into its denim holster.
Instead of a taxi,
I ride home with Davy Crockett:

arrows in my hat,
and pink vinyl clashing with
scarlet cheeks.

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