I’m in no mood.
A man I sort-of know joins the queue behind me.
Namesake: Alright mate?
I’m going to be forced to have a conversation, aren’t I?
I glance at the length of the queue ahead of me, briefly calculate the number of items each person has and the resulting transaction time and come to the conclusion that it’s going to be far too long.
Me: [With heavy heart] Mmm?
Some back-story is required. A couple of years ago I did the hellish ‘flatmate’ thing and moved into the spare room of a ‘lively lady’. She’d had a number of ‘flat-mates’ in the past, and had agreed to ‘take me on’ as I was a ‘fella’ and she felt she didn’t ‘get on’ with her female lodgers.
It was ok until she perplexingly got quite ‘keen’ on me and that. Which was awkward for a bit, but then she pulled herself together and got herself a new bloke with the same name as me. And, I assumed, lived happily ever after once I moved-out and got my own place because I couldn’t tolerate all the ‘happiness’ going on.
Anyway. This is him. He's not a 'bad' bloke I suppose.
Namesake: Been up to much? Still in the same place?
Two questions at once. The bastard.
Me: Mmph. Yeah. Out last night though. Bit delicate.
Namesake: [Needlessly enthusiastic]Gotta be done though, yeah?
Actually, could you just not talk?
Namesake: Don’t know if you heard?
Namesake: Yeah, me and Lively split.
I don’t know what I’m supposed to do with this information. The fucking queue isn’t moving any quicker and the conversation is quickly getting into a place that is ‘not my area’.
Namesake: Yeah. I mean. I moved out, then we weren’t together.
Yeah, that’ll do it, I think to myself. Especially if you try it in that order.
Namesake: We were still seeing each other after I moved out and that – her idea for me to go, you know – money and that, I’ve not done well after the divorce - and…
The old woman two spaces ahead of me – after paying for her shopping - is now paying her utility bills on those pre-payment card things. One-by-one. Marvellous.
Namesake: …so she got a new lodger but he didn’t work out. This is before we officially split and that. Apparently he didn’t like having the flat to himself ‘cos she was always round mine…
Yeah, no doubt mate. ‘He hated having the place to himself’. That was his problem.
Fuck me, Mum-Ra has been replaced by Discount Coupon Lady who is taking even longer.
Namesake: …but she’s got a new one now and it seems to be going well. I mean. I don’t see her much anymore, but sometimes I see them and they’re even out together. You know? Of a night-time and that? Seems like a nice chap, actually.
I think of the Friday night texts I used to get from Lively Lady.
Namesake gazes thoughtfully into the middle-distance. The poor bastard.
Thankfully, I have been served.
Namesake: Oh. Yeah. Good to see you again mate.
I don’t then grab his shoulder and say “At least I didn’t fuck her” because I’m far too hung-over.