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Laurence Rivers’ New Neighbour

Laurence Rivers’ New Neighbour

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I bit my lip and concentrated as hard as I could at the grainy image on the TV screen. The brief vignette of femme désnudé from the 11 o’clock freeview on the tarot channel. Trying hard neither to concentrate on the phone number nor the colloquially lewd offers at the side of the tiny image, I worked my wrist into overdrive and finally came, it had taken over twenty minutes, fuck sake.

The solitude of suddenly going from a state of constant girlfriend to a state sans girlfriend was fairly heavy-hitting, though not entirely unexpected. No “fingers at a bus stop romance” but something vaguely deeper, and its absence certainly left a large, car park-like space in my subconscious.

In no area is this more prevalent than that of masturbation. In addition to this, I don’t have WIFI which, given the circumstances, is a pain in the arse (proverbially) and balls (physically). Depositing another spattering of creation on some bog roll destined for the sewers probably speaks volumes for the joy of living alone as a bloke in a small, vaguely Catholic, village.

It was in the haze of regret and shame that accompanies most orgasms that I heard someone in the flat next door for the first time in months.

A few months before there had been a music teacher called Triana or something similar. From the very toilet seat I sat upon I had often fantasized about going over, ostensibly to help with some plumbing or something before beginning some kind of undertaking that would have been more at home in ”Showgirls”. My mind unfolded like some 15 year-old’s porno script as I could help with some terrible affliction in her flat and the rest would unfold as it does on a laptop screen. It was distinctly unlikely given my complete ineptitude at both DIY and talking to women, but it never got anywhere near that. Trading her most likely happy marriage for a night of disappointing sex with the drunken waster whose farts she can hear echoing off the marble floor nightly, probably hadn’t crossed her mind as much as it had mine (once every morning at about 10:30 and twice daily on Saturdays). We only spoke twice. The first time to determine which buzzer reached her flat, and the second to ask me if I could let the postman in and collect a pair of “circulation aiding” socks that she had ordered. It wasn’t much of a surprise when she left without so much as a goodbye.

The new bloke is called Enrique. The mention of the name meant I would have to conjure up some more elaborate situations on the crapper.

We lived in harmony for about 4 days, me working evenings and him working mornings. Ships in the night, separated by the complete disinterest of one party, me. Then finally I heard the doorbell ring and with the marble cavern that is my apartment exacerbating every movement, I couldn’t just ignore it. I opened the door.

“Enrique, nice to meet you”

We meet and shake hands. He does a strange handshake. Kind of over the top and limp. The same motion as if you were getting a senile elderly relative to feign dancing or having a good time at a social occasion. Across our mutual languages we exchange what could loosely be termed as pleasantries. I look into his eyes. He is just what this block needed, another pathetic wanker not getting his end away. At this point he told me he had a girlfriend. He used the suffix –a, definitely a girl. She lives up north. Six hours drive. Apparently he is sad she lives at such a distance. Sad? Listen Enrique, I’ll give you sad, pining over the news reader while wanking over the girl who reads late night Tarot purely due to the fact that I don’t have internet. That’s sad.

He says we should go out for beers but, even in a foreign language, I can tell that his heart isn’t really in it. He has sussed me out. Anyhow by that point I realized that I could get porn on my 3G pay-as-you-go phone. My eyesight would be a bit fucked due to the smallness of the screen, but it was better than nothing.

The only female contact I had was Maria, a nubile 19 year-old, who I taught for free on a Saturday morning. I taught her for free for many reasons, none of which complied with my wanker boss’ order not to teach private students. The first was that Maria was fucking hot, a melting product of a Mediterranean diet and 700 years of Arab occupation. The second was that on Saturday mornings I was in no fit state to teach anything and the mere success of managing to put on some trousers in the wake of her arrival, offset my body’s processing of a litre of cheap gin. Finally, I felt obliged to clean up the cans when she came round.

She clearly felt slightly guilty at not remunerating my efforts and each week she brought a slice of cake or some type of omelette. Finally after months of free English class the moment came. The hour elapsed and I heralded her to the door, eagerly anticipating the imminent deluge of lager. At this point, as I let her go out to the marble hall she turned and said;

“I just really wished I could do something else to repay you for this. Anything at all, what can I do?”

Her exact words, I kid you not. A phrase like this would be more at home on Channel 5 at 11 o’clock, ten years ago. We stood awkwardly in the hallway. I have never been placed in this type of position before and my brain was motoring at the prospect. When faced with propositions like this, the mind struggles with the myriad of options available to it. You picture imagined futures and moments of sheer bliss. I thought harder than ever before turning to her. Our gazes met and I thought we had a moment of clarity about what was almost certainly going to happen. She awaited my answer;


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“Oh sorry, I mean beer, cerveza, you know Heineken, Cruzcampo or something eh? You wanna do something, bring me some beers next time.”

“You’re making a joke yes?”

My stony-faced expression stated the contrary.

“There’s nothing else you would like?” her eyes twinkled.

“I also drink whiskey.”

She left after that and I never saw her ever again, a hindrance to any potential romance, but all the sadder to know that she would never bring me beer. I suppose we had different visions of how the rest of Saturday was going to go.

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