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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

"Light" Ch 20: The Mistake

This is Chapter 20 of Marcus T Anthony's online novel Light. To read the rest of the novel, to date, go to

The Mistake

She was thin, almost gaunt. She looked at me with big eyes, They were a little too hollow to be beautiful. But I could feel them inviting me in, along with the pull of her arms.

“Would you like to dance?”

“Um, yeah, why not?”

Why not? One decent reason might have been because I had a beautiful new girlfriend who was just a couple of suburbs away. But like I said, the beer was talking, not me.

We were at the far end of the dance floor away from the lights, where it was dark. I had to  force myself to keep my eyes wide, because I was having trouble focusing. That was on  account of my drunkenness. It was an effort not to slur my words.

“You’re a good dancer.”

“Me?” Giraffes on roller skates dance better than I do.

She twirled around a few times, and started dancing closer. The strange thing is that she  didn’t smile. She didn’t even look that happy. But I could see something, feel something  within her. She wanted me. And there was something good about that.

“Buy me a drink.” She said. She dragged me over to the bar like a dog on a leash.

We sat down, and she ordered some girly drink that I’d never heard of. I knew I’d had enough alcohol. So I ordered an ice water, and after looking at me like I was from the ninth planet of the Zeta Reticuli system, the barman threw some ice and water into a glass and shoved it under my nose. He demanded money. I plonked a twenty on the bar, he grabbed it and slapped down an unfeasibly small amount of change.

“There goes my lunch for the rest of the week.”

“You’re a uni student, aren’t you?” she said, moving closer to me.

“Yeah. And you’re not.” It was probably the most obnoxious thing I’d ever said in my life.  Not that I meant it, but that‘s just the way it came out.

“So? Is that important?”

“No. No. Not at all. That’s cool.”

“Do you have a girlfriend?”


“I believe you.” We were both bad liars. But she was definitely more direct than me.

“Do you want to be my girlfriend?”

She leaned close. I looked into her eyes. I took a deep breath and felt her energy. I couldn’t feel anything, and that meant just one thing. There was no connection between us.

When I say I felt her energy, I mean I felt right into her. Not with my hands, but with my knowing. I actually wanted to feel something, and was surprised that the nothingness annoyed me.

“I don’t think so. I don’t know how long I’ll be in Newcastle, so I can’t really commit to  anything.”

“Well how about one night then?”

I awoke and felt the sun on my face and opened my eyes. My eyeballs felt like fried eggs and they stung like hell. I’m not sure what cognitive orientation one feels after being smashed over the head with a baseball bat, but I’m guessing it is something like the way I felt in that moment. I groaned and stirred.

There was a moment of panic when I realised I had no idea where I was. I was in a room; small, grey-bland, with a single cabinet and a window with no curtain. There was a damp, musty smell.

I felt sick. But not as sick as I was about to feel.

“Good morning,” she said.

It was her. The girl from the bar. The blanket was pulled down and I could see half of her thin, white, naked body. If David Bowie was a woman, he would probably look like that from the neck to the navel. The sunlight shone onto her pale face. Call me a sexist bastard. But I don’t know what was worse. Remembering what I had done a few hours before, or realising that she was singularly unattractive. A darkness filled me, and I put my hands over my face. It felt almost like fear, only even darker and more turgid. 

It was overwhelming guilt. I swore under my breath.

“Is something wrong,” she said?

“Sorry, I think I drank too much. I feel a bit sick.”

No sooner had I said it then she got up, threw on a long t-shirt and left the room. She returned immediately with a glass of water.


I drank it. The glass had a strange taste, like it hadn’t been washed for a month or two. As I gulped the last mouthful there was just one thing on my mind. I had to get out of there.

“Sorry, I really gotta go.” I hated myself even as the words came out. I found my trousers beside the bed and pulled them on. I didn’t even try to find my underwear. The thought of free-balling it all the way home came to me, but I didn’t care.


I could hear the disappointment in her voice, but my desire to get the hell out of there was a lot stronger than my desire to make her feel better. Then she grabbed me and gave me a hug. Moments later she was handing me a bit of paper. Angela 4998 532.

“Will you call?”

“Sure,” I lied. I gave her my number, and she wrote it down. Only it wasn’t my real number.  It was then that she looked me in the eye. I tried not to, but I had to turn away for a moment. When I looked back she was looking down, her face long. She knew. I knew. I could see the pain of a lifetime of rejection in her face. And I was adding to her pain. I was a bastard. A complete and utter, unconscionable bastard. I let my arms drop and moved towards the door.

“Sorry,” I said feebly.

“It’s OK. I understand.” Her voice was soft, hurt.

Moments later I was walking through the cool morning air, heading towards the nearest bus stop.

I hadn’t even told her my name.

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