Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Intruder

For a long time, I was the only single one in the house. The guy in the room next to me may have had periods of being officially single, but continued shagging his ex (loudly, as well - at least, she was loud, and he was hot, so it was a good combo); the French girl downstairs had a boyfriend but she never seemed to know where he was - we never met him, and she kept having to find him, so maybe that wasn't going well; my mate, who lived in the smallest room, was almost going out with a pretty girl from our year. When he told me they were official, it wasn't a big surprise. I followed them to the shops at one point. I've still no idea why.

I was single, although that's also not a surprise. I was single all the way through university and for years beyond. I knew most of the girls in the year by virtue of drifting through the humanities department and being unique enough not to be noticed - I also lived on campus during my first year, which helped. I even fancied a few of them - well, it's me; of course I did - at various points. My mate  Blaine, who I now lived with, liked to tease me about it a bit.

And then Sarah walked into my room.

*

I knew Sarah. I knew her from one of my classes and also somewhat from the time she shouted "Don't look at the light!" at maximum volume in the library. I remember her categorically telling me that she wasn't strange - just uniquely different.

But I didn't know Blaine knew Sarah. I certainly didn't know he was going to bring her to the house. I figured that his girlfriend, also named Sarah, knew her well enough; whether they were close enough to have a sleepover, I had no idea. But Sarah walked into my room... and I had no idea why at first.

"See, what Sarah didn't tell you," said Blaine, "is that she's had half a bottle of Sambucca and probably doesn't really know whose room she's going into," which translates - possibly - as, "there's a hot drunk girl in your room."

Not that I was going to try to take advantage of her. Of course not - it's not in my nature to do something to uncouth, and besides, I had no idea how. But I thought I'd make myself more sexually appealing, in case she suddenly decided she really wanted to have sex with the only single person in the house and knew that was me or something.

I changed into my pyjamas, sat cross-legged on my bed with my little soft rabbit and a copy of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, and sat there reading with my door open. Once or twice, Blaine and one or two Sarahs went past my door. Every time, they looked in, to see me sitting there like a lemon, reading a book with a toy rabbit on my lap. Nobody said anything, nobody did anything, and Sarah certainly didn't come back into my room to randomly make love to me in a slightly drunken haze. Even if she had, I probably wouldn't have known what to say. Or what to do.

Two chapters in and I heard a bump. Sarah was back, standing on the threshold without actually entering.
"What's that?", she asked, pointing indiscriminately into my room.
"Uhm..." I selected something at random. "It's my guitar."
"Cool," she said.


There was a pause.

"Hey, ILB..." said Blaine, appearing around the corner.
"Yeah?"
"Good night," he finished, shepherding Sarah (and Sarah) towards his own small room.

"Good night," I said cheerfully, before returning to my book.


*

"Hey, I think I came into your room the other night," said Sarah. "I'm sorry about that."
"No, it's no problem," I said.
"I really didn't know what I was doing."
"Neither did I," I admitted. "I didn't even know you were coming round."

"Your room's much bigger then Blaine's," she said. "Big and light."
"You can come into my room any time to stand in the light," I said. Only I didn't say that. I got about as far as, "...look at the light?"

"I can't help it!" yelled Rachel, from the bench behind us. "It's so beautiful!"

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