“Ooooh a porch swing!” I started in its direction. “Err do you want to knock first?!” Alaska pointed out, “oh yeah, good point”. I wore my brightest smile as a disgruntled teen opened the door. “Hi, we’re…” was all I managed before the teen snapped “wrong house” and slammed the door in our faces. “Well that was rude!” Alaska exclaimed, “he could have at least been nice about it” Blonde added as we dragged our bags back to the car.
“Hi…..we’re the couch surfers” I tried hesitantly for the second time that evening. “Cool, yeah, come in, don’t mind the dogs” the bearded Canadian greeted us into his home, welcoming us to Nashville.
The mood from the day before had been blown off with the rhythm and blues filling the streets of Memphis overnight. “Tell me again why we’re going to Elvis’ house?” Blonde enquired. “Graceland. Because it’s what you do when in Memphis. It’s up there with the Civil Rights museum, the ‘I have a dream’ balcony and Beale Street” I smiled enthusiastically, Blonde’s face was blank “‘Dream balcony?”. “Martin Luther King, come onnnnn, don’t make me relay the entire history of America again, you know I will!” I joked.
Alaska laughed remembering many a long drive where I’d regale them both with patchy history lessons. “Oh gosh no! No more history!” Blonde raised her palms in protest as we walked past the Heartbreak Hotel, before adding “What did Elvis sing again?”. “What! How do you not know this! He did loads of stuff!” I remarked, bemused.
“Go on then, name some!” Blonde challenged. “Well, there was” I paused, my Elvis catalogue suddenly blank “oh, err, oh! He sang ‘love me tender’ and….errr oh what was that one, you know, the famous one, with that tune, you know?” I looked at Alaska for help as Blonde laughed at my failure. Alaska rolled his eyes before reeling off “Suspicious Minds, Blue suede shoes, A little less conversation, Heartbreak hotel, Jailhouse rock…”. Blonde and I shared a glance with raised eyebrows “all right, super fan much?!”. “Hey, you’re the one who wanted to come here, I’d of been happy spending the day on Beale street!” he argued back with smiling eyes.
Unfortunately Elvis proved to be much more popular than we’d anticipated “I don’t really want to queue for two hours just to get on a bus up to the house and then have queue again” Blonde moaned. “Yeah, I agree, let’s just look in the…” I paused to count “7 Elvis gift shops! Wow, does he really need that much merchandise?!” I exclaimed. “What shall we do the rest of the morning, you said you wanted to be on the road by 1 so we’ve only got a few hours” Alaska asked. “Up to you two, think it’s a choice between Civil rights or Beale street?” I proposed clutching my Elvis t-shirt, bottle opener, magnet, iron on patch… “ooh look! They’ve got Elvis Christmas decorations in that one, I’ll be right back!”.
Beale street was asleep, waiting for the shops to close and the neon lights to wake up for the evening. We were about to leave when the soft notes of a saxophone carried us through the air into a small lot. Drums joined the sax, keeping pace for the bass before the electric guitar broke the humidity. “Y’all ready?” A voice thick with Southern charm called over the microphone to the small crowd, as the rhythm sank into our skin through the sun’s kiss; our afternoon was lost to Motown.
We pulled into Nashville much later than planned, “hi, we’re the couch surfers” I said hesitantly for the second time that evening….
Our host was in his early 30th, Canadian but well travelled having lived in London, California and Alaska. He talked of the various properties he owned, about the celebrity friends he’d acquired through his job consulting on on television and film sets. About the failed marriage to an Alaska lady. He spoke of the uniqueness of Nashville, how you could go out for a quiet Tuesday beer and end up in a roof top swimming pool of some mega stars house. He showed us the spreadsheet he’d created to keep track of the numerous couch suffers he had staying. Unusually he didn’t ask about us, people normally asked, they wanted to know how an Australian, English and Alaskan came to be on the road together, where we’d been, where we were going, who we were. Our host didn’t seem interested in us; not that I’m bias, but I thought we were pretty interesting.
We each chose a bunk in the room he’d converted especially for couch surfers “I’m not sure about him” Blonde confessed “yeah, me too, he seems a bit, well a bit show off, you’ know what I mean?” I added. “what are you two on about? He seems nice. You two are so judgemental, geeze give the man a chance!” Alaska argued, frowning at us.
I laid awake pondering first impressions, I always felt awkward and uncomfortable when first meeting someone, that under lying insecurity to be like and the fear they might see straight through you, realising what a nutbag you really are. I thought about our host, about his confidence, it was more than that though, he came across as incredibly open, laying all his cards on the table. In my experience, anyone who behaves so open upon first introduction does so for one of two reasons. The first reason being that they hope by sharing everything, people might understand them, it’s an insecurity, it’s to say ‘look I’m honest, this is who I am, you understand right? I make sense now? I’ve told you all I have so we can be on the same team now? Like me, please like me’.
The second reason is more dangerous, it’s the first reason but to 90%, it’s where you share almost everything but keep a very large wall around that last 10%. People like this become arrogant, they forget they’re hiding that last 10% and become almost vain over the 90% developing a ‘love me or hate me‘ attitude, where they are so comfortable in who they believe they are they forget to tread carefully with others, to curve their mannerism or adapt to others sensitivities, because why should they ‘if you don’t get me, someone else will, why would I waste my time on you?’. It’s self protection, no point risking any more pain because that 10% was definitely caused by something big!
They flit, they’re never comfortable in one spot, needing constant excitement or praise or adrenaline; however, their long suffering friends see through all this, they ignore and forgive the vanity and ego, for they still see that remaining 10% that the owner believes so well hidden. The truth is, the 90% of openness is actually one giant wall of fake vulnerability built to protect that incredibly fragile 10%. Those who seem the most confident or downright up their own asses (looking at you Kanye West!) are the most insecure, desperate to be loved people in the world. I saw this in our host as he sat there celebrity name dropping. I saw all this because I use the exact same tools only I hadn’t quite realised it until I laid there in the top bunk pondering it all. The question I wanted to know, was what was he hiding in that 10%?
We drove around various celebrity houses the next day, ate yet more barbecue and finally, finally we got ready for a night out. The excitement was somewhat dampened when it came to choosing what to wear, Blonde had settled for one of my dresses, a dress that rose extremely short on her additional height over me and yet she pulled the look off. Everything felt tight and uncomfortable on me, I was left feeling self-conscious, tugging at my appearance in the mirror wondering if perhaps I should have worn the dress I’d lent Blonde before deciding it probably wouldn’t have zipped up on me any more anyway. Hair straighteners, make-up and copious amounts of alcohol would have to be enough to boost my confidence for the evening instead.
“I’m only going to have one drink…” Blonde began sitting on the toilet seat as I leaned into the mirror, mouth open, mascara wand raised. “Nope!” I responded, eyes still on my reflection. “Absolutely not! We are having a night out! We’ve been waiting for this all trip!” I insisted, standing back to check I was mascara lump free. “But I don’t want to be hungover tomorrow” Blonde tried. “You’ve never been drunk in your life! Besides, you’re young, you only get proper hangovers when you hit 30, you’ll be fine” I tried to reassure. “But what if you all leave me…” Blonde twisted one of her fingers in the other hand. “We’re not going to leave you” I straightened my dress and sighed in disappointment at the completed look. “But what if I lose you and don’t know how to get home, what if…”. I turned to face her “listen, we are not going to lose you, you’ll be fine! I promise, no man gets left behind ok! Come on, it’s going to be fun!”.
“I’m not doing shots!” Blonde yelled over the live band, “yes you are, we all are!” Alaska yelled back as the host lined them up. “Ughhhhhhhhh!” I sputtered, as the liquid tore fire down my throat, setting my belly alight “I hate shots!” I yelled, bouncing on my toes to the music.
“Another round?” Alaska asked as Blonde left for the toilet, “not for me, I can’t hack em! Give me a vodka and coke any day!”. “Shall we get Blonde one?” the host gestured towards the bathroom “she won’t do one if Becky isn’t” Alaska pointed out. “Get me a shot of cola then” I advised. “Oooh” an idea had come over him, he leant into the bar, ordering three shots of coke and one of black Sambuca. With Blonde’s return, we each took our shot, each producing Oscar worthy performances of grimaced faces. “Same again?” the host winked, “yeah, go then” Alaska smiled wickedly back. “Not another shot?! I’m going to get drunk!” Blonde looked concerned “it’s only three, you won’t get drunk on that” I stated. I was wrong, oh so, so wrong! We each sank our second shot of cola, Blonde swallowed her third Sambuca. We played a mean trick that would prove to be our own undoing.
“I want food! Becky I WANT FOOD” Blonde yelled into my ear, she was beginning to sway on her feet “umm, yeah, maybe that’s a good idea. Let’s get you a glass of water first shall we?”. “No I want food now!” she fired back. “Errr guys, I think we should get her some food” I called to the boys at the bar who were polishing off another drink, shaking my head in the direction of Blonde who’s own head was starting to droop.
Blonde hooked the hosts arm for support as we headed to a pizza bar, Alaska and I followed behind “You didn’t give her any more when I was in the bathroom did you?” I accused, confused how she was drunk so quickly. “No, she’s only had the three shots” he responded amused. “How can she be that drunk on three! I’ve seen her drink more than that before and she wasn’t even pissed those times!” I declared. “WHY IS IT STILL DAYLIGHT OUT!” Blonde yelled ahead of us “BECKY! DON’T LOSE ME!”. “I won’t, it’s fine” I called.
“Seriously, how is she that drunk?!” I turned to Alaska. “Well she didn’t have much barbecue and that was quite a while ago” Alaska summarised, “she had the same as me” I protested, he gave me a quick look up and down unaware that I’d notice, swallowed an opinion down and answered “yeah but she’s had two shots more…”.”Oh come on, she’s acting like she had a bottle of it!” I insisted. “You think she’s putting it on?” Alaska looked at me, at that moment Blonde stumbled on her ankle, saved from grace by the hosts arm keeping her upright “no, she’s not faking, I’m just never seen someone get so wasted so quickly, she better sober up though or we’re not getting in anywhere tonight!”.
“I want that pizza! Becky I want that pizza right there! Why isn’t he serving me?! I want that slice right there! I can get it myself” Blonde rose from her stool, ready to go behind the bar to rescue her slice. “Stay there! He’s getting it for you, he’s just serving those people their drinks” I caught the bartenders eye, offering an apologetic smile. “I want water! Get me some water” Blonde placed her head onto the bar “don’t…” I didn’t catch her in time as her forehead made contact with some spilt liquid, she rose her head, hair stuck to her skin, water dripping down her brow, a toothy smile planted across her face “where’s my pizza! Whys it taking soooo long!”. “You are such a demanding drunk!” I shook my head bemused.
“Let’s get her more drunk!” Alaska called from further down the bar, I leaned in to see past Blonde “shut it! This is all your fault!” I yelled. “You started it!” he laughed. “I don’t want to drink any more, Becky I don’t feel very well” tears slipped from her eyes. “Ok, let’s go to the bathroom!”. I rose from my seat, grabbing Blonde by the arm to steady her, she bounced off the tables like a pinball.
Yanking paper from the dispenser, I lifted her chin to wipe the tears away, just as soon as I raised her head to face me, she let out an almighty burp. “Ughhh” I grimaced “thanks for that!”. “I want cherries! Can I have some cherries, can you get me some cherries?” Blonde demanded, blowing her nose into the papers, keeping eye contact as she did so; I found it oddly unsettling. “I thought you wanted pizza” I asked, passing her more paper. “After the pizza. I want cherries and pizza!”. “Stay here, I’m just going to use the toilet”. I locked the door behind me and sat down “BECKY” Blonde’s face appeared over the top of the door “oh my god!” I jumped, she laughed “don’t watch me pee!”. She stayed put “I’m drunk” she smiled. “Yeah, I know”.
“Right ready to go back out there for now?” I asked, drying my hands. “Yep” she smiled, followed by a wobbling lip. She burst into tears and collapsed into a heap on top of me, I fell into the door, not prepared to hold her weight “what if you all leaveeee me” she sniffed into my collarbone.
Alaska and Host were deep in conversation as we returned “alright?” Host remarked at our reappearance. “Yeah!” I answered deadpan. “I want cherries!” Blonde yelled “and water! Where’s my pizza!”. The waiter placed a glass of water in front of her, she instantly knocked it over. “Oh shit!” I leapt into action, grabbing handfuls of napkins to mop up the spill, Blonde laughed, whipping her hand through the liquid, flicking it into my face. After two more spilt glasses, the annoyed bar tender placed a plastic take-away cup of water in front of her, complete with a lid and straw. “I want more pizza!” Blonde yelled after her third large slice. “We’ve eaten it all, we need to pay” I responded. “Fine!” Blonde answered, making no effort to reach for her purse. “That means you have to put money down” I tried again. “Fine!” she snapped.
I placed my own money on the counter, she lifted a hand, sliding my notes across the bar to in front of her. “Err, no! That’s my money!” I stated, sliding my money back again. “FINE!” she shook her head at me as if I was being difficult, she turned to her other side, host had his wallet open, settling his share of the bill. Blonde attempted to pull out a note “no, and that’s my money!” Host laughed. “You have to pay your own bill!” I sighed. “FINNNNEEEEEE” Blonde yelled, pulling out her purse and laying a single dollar on the counter “keep going” I watched, Blonde burped in response, laying another dollar down “try again” I kept at her, 10 dollar’s later we were finally there “that’s a lot for a single slice of pizza!” Blonde complained, “you had three slices!” I clarified. “No I didn’t!” Blonde narrowed her eyes. “Yeah you did, and you ate some of mine!” Host answered, “mine too” I added. “I want cherries!”.
“Maybe we should take her home and put her to bed?” I proposed to the boys, “nah, she’ll be al’right, just let the food settle in and get her some fresh air” Host answered. “Yeah, she just needs to walk it off a little” Alaska added. “Fine, take her outside and I’ll get her some more water” I still thought bed was the best option.
“Where are they?” I exclaimed, panicked as Host and I emerged with the water to find no sign of Blonde or Alaska. “Oh shit!” Host looked up and down the street wildly for a sign of them. “I promised her I wouldn’t lose her and now I have! Shitttt!!!” I yelled. We dashed up and down the street “is that them down there?” I pointed at the end of the busy boulevard. They stood transfixed watching a street magician who looked delighted at his captured audience, albeit a drunk one. “What the hell! Where did you guys go, we were worried!” I looked at Alaska “what? we were walking it off” he stated innocently. I passed Blonde her water, she dropped it instantly, barely noticing as it exploded over the floor at her feet, instead she leant forward, lifting the top hat off the magicians head and placing it on her own. She looped an arm around Alaska and the hosts neck, letting her weight hang. I picked up the dropped drink, moving it to the trash can. Impatiently I waited for the trio to finish watching the magic tricks “I’m bored now!” Blonde announced, releasing the host, and spinning round, propelling Alaska to start walking again. Apologising, I lifted the hat off Blonde’s head, giving it back to the slightly disappointed magician, providing him with the tip the other three had forgotten.
“Where are my cherries?” Blonde yelled as I passed yet another glass of water across the table. We’d found a bar that was just crowded enough it was possible to hide anyone too drunk without being kicked out by the bouncers. “Here!” the host thrust a glass full of cherries in Blonde’s direction. Her face lit up but failed in delivering a thank you. “Where’d you get those? I asked at the bar and they didn’t have any!” I enquired. “I ran down the street to a cocktail bar, bumped into an ex-girlfriend who works there so thanks for that!” he answered. “Hey, don’t blame me, I don’t want cherries, but actually, since they’re here!” I leant forward, pulling one out of the glass by its steam “they’re my cherries!” Blonde snapped.
I need to go to the toilet! Blonde demanded, I held her hand, guiding her swaying ways through the crowded bar “act sober” I hissed for fear of getting thrown out “she looks sunburnt!” Blonde blurted out, poking a finger into a red faced girl. “I’m so sorry, it’s her first time being drunk” I apologised. “That’s ok, I am sunburnt” the girl replied bemused “see!” Blonde turned to me.
As I washed my hands, Blonde surveyed the toilet attendants collection “do you have peppermint?”. The attendant offered her a mint “is it good peppermint? Is it good?” Blonde questioned whilst popping the sweet into her mouth. She reached over and pulled a stick of chewing gum from the selection, sticking that in her mouth along with the sweet. With that she wondered out of the toilets, leaving me behind to once again tip.
“Do you want a drink?” the host asked as I escorted Blonde back to her seat, “yes please! I need one! Vodka coke, and more water for her!”. Blonde was leaning on Alaska chatting “here’s your water” the host stated, returning with the drinks. “Careful!” I yelled a moment too late as the water soaked into Alaska’s lap. Blonde found it hysterical, turning the glass upside down and emptying the rest “look Alaska’s wet himself!” she yelled, reaching across for my drink to empty that too “no!” I raised a finger like you would to a toddler.
The evening drove on, Blonde leaning into Alaska, her alcohol slowly wore off whilst the rest of ours wore in. I got lost in conversation with the host, unaware Alaska and Blonde had been kicked out. Blonde appeared at the table, looking much closer to sober “I think you two need to come outside, the door guys won’t let Alaska back in and he’s just asked some guys to come rough you up” she pointed to the host. “What? What are you talking about?” I asked alarmed “I don’t know, he’s just gone weird”.
We came outside to find Alaska banging his head against the wall “what are you doing?!” I demanded. With his forehead still on the wall, he turned to face me, giggled and sprinted off in the opposite direction. I yelled after him. “I’ll get him” the Host signalled, marching off. I was seriously beginning to question what kind of review this host would be leaving us. Alaska managed to get into another bar but the doormen wouldn’t let the host in, mistakenly believing him to be the drunk one.
With the poshest English accent I could muster I approached the door “excuse me, I’m terribly sorry but our friend has just entered, do you mind if I just pop in and retrieve him as we’re about to depart for the night. Would that be ok please? Sorry. Thank you. Please” I was tempted to pop a ‘Gov’nor’ in there too but felt I might be over doing things. I found Alaska at the bar, throwing back yet another drink “What the hell are you doing?!” I snapped, all patience for the evening completely dried up. “Oh, done talking to the host are we? I don’t like him, he’s a swine!” he tried to catch the bartenders eye for another round. “What the hell are you on about! You’re drunk and paranoid! Come on, we’re going home” I pulled at his arm.
“I’m staying” he signalled to the bartender again. “No you’re not, come on! I’ll make the door guys kick you out!” I argued. After much persuasion I managed to get Alaska outside to find host waiting, Alaska took one look at us and began running up and down the road “you can’t catch me, you can’t catch me” he canted like a school boy. “Where’s Blonde?!” I worried, afraid I’d lost her once again, “just there” he pointed to Blonde slumped against the wall, a worried look was spreading across her tired face “you two get in the taxi, I’ll get him” Host insisted.
We clambered into the back seat, Blonde rested her head on my shoulder “can we go to bed now?”. “Soon” I patted her head, waiting for the boys. Host had managed to convince a few locals to help cajole Alaska into the car, Alaska to his credit proved to be very light on his feet, twisting and turning from their grasps faster than a pro footballer. “Can we go now” Blonde moaned sleepily, “hang on”. I made to move “where are you going? Don’t leave me” Blonde looked up in alarm. “I’ll be right back” I answered, climbing out the door. Alaska was still giggling as he ran up and down, I was less than amused. “ALASKA, GET YOUR ASS IN THIS CAR RIGHT THIS SECOND!” I yelled, stamping my foot in a way my five year old self would have recognised. Somehow it worked.
With host in the front and Blonde and Alaska slumped either side of me, I stared through the windscreen from the middle seat, my teeth clenched in frustration, I’d wanted a wild night out but not like this, not like this at all. I caught my eyes in the mirror, rage burnt behind them ‘swallow it down, just let it go, it’s not like you’ve never been a nightmare drunk before, let them have this, don’t say anything, be nice’ I told myself.
“What’s wrong with Alaska? I don’t like him like this” Blonde stated as we prepared for bed , “listen I don’t want to two sharing a room with him tonight, I’m not sure he’s safe” the host stated. “Oh, he’s fine. He’s just drunk and got a bit jealous, he’s harmless” I insisted. “Still, I’m not letting you two share a room with him, I don’t like how he was acting tonight. You can both have my bed, I’ll sleep on the couch”. He wasn’t going to take no for an answer, so I set Blonde up in the room, not ready to sleep yet myself “you are going to sleep in here with me aren’t you?” she muttered already half asleep “yes” I answered closing the bedroom door.
Alaska was cooling off on the porch so host and I set up shop on the sofas. “What is going on?!” the host asked, clearly confused by the developments of the night. I tried to explain what had happened on the last night Blonde and I had stayed in Alaska the state, how Alaska the man and I had formed a close bond over recognising this inner pain in each other but how by making Alaska aware of some of the issues he’d been holding onto, he’d had this strong reaction and lashed out, attacking my confidence. I went on to share how Alaska had flown to Chicago to join the road trip because he’d felt he’d found someone who loved him for who he was inside, not the version of himself he shows the world. That he wanted to explore this ‘love thing’ further, mistakenly believing that if someone loved him it would fix all the issues he’d been building since childhood.
I went on to stay that Alaska now wanted a relationship but I wasn’t so sure I agreed, “the thing is, he told me I wasn’t physically attractive in anyway. I know that’s not what really matters in the long run but, well I’m still a girl, I still want to feel attractive. I’m not confident enough in myself for it not to matter that other people don’t find me attractive. I want someone to love me inside and out. He thinks I’m asking for too much, saying I’ll never find that which just makes me feel even more ugly, like he’s saying that I’m so hideous, no one will ever find me physically attractive.
But he’s wrong, I’ve had past relationships where the guy loved me for how I looked and my personality. I’ve definitely dated guys in the past who weren’t necessarily the blue eyed, tall, chiselled guy I’d consider my type but as I got to know them and fell for who they were, their physical side became more and more attractive. That’s how it works isn’t it? You love someone for who they are, and they become even more physically attractive as a result. You don’t even notice their bald spot or those annoying habits…well until it starts going wrong and then that knuckle popping becomes REALLYYYY annoying!
Anyway, my point is, he wants a relationship but I just feel like he looks at me like I’m some obese troll and yet I should be ok with that, even grateful because he likes my personality and that’s meant to be enough!” I paused, looking up at the host who smiled sympathetically. “Ughhh sorry, life story there! Ha! Where is he anyway? Is he still on the porch?” I rose from my seat, heading towards the front door.
I surprised Alaska who was leaning against the door, clearly straining to listen to our conversation “go to bed!” I begged. “Ughhh” he huffed, pushing past me to the bathroom before heading to the bunk-bed room. “Let him go to sleep” Hosts insisted as I was about to go check on him.
We sat on the porch until the mosquitoes smelt my blood and began their nightly feed on my skin, we retired back inside for safety. Alaska stumbled out the bedroom, falling over on the kitchen floor. Host sighed, lifting him up and helping him back to bed, I stood in the doorway watching helplessly, suddenly spying something next to the bed “what is this!” I yelled, holding the nearly empty bottle of vodka, Alaska only smiled naughtily at being caught “that’s mine! And why has he got a lemon and a pineapple in here too!”. I groaned “clearly he was trying to make a cocktail!”.
We sat at the kitchen table “right, enough about me! Tell me about you!” I declared. “I’ve told you everything there is to know” he began. “Nope, there’s something in there, you’re hiding it. Come on, spill!” I was looking for that 10% of vulnerability to explain the rest of him. “All these houses? Celebrities? You got quite a few dogs, you fill your house with couch surfers, you’re really out going? If you don’t mind me saying, I sort of get the impression you don’t like to be alone for too long?” I was trying to tread carefully, I wasn’t exactly know for my tact.
Thankfully, he laughed, “Well maybe. Alaska’s lucky, I’d give it all up to have someone who truly cares about me”. I waited “I had it once” he paused. “What happened?” I presumed he was talking about his ex-wife, “she died” he answered. “Oh, I’m sorry. I thought you’d got divorced from your ex-wife, sorry, I didn’t realise…”.
He chuckled “oh not that bitch! No she cheated on me and then the guy she did it with ended up getting arrested, she’s back in Alaska now” he smiled. “Then who…” I started. “We were high school sweethearts, I thought she was the one. She was the one. She died in a car crash when we were 17. I guess I never really got over it. Got married young, the next girl who came along, and well, you know how that ended…” he smiled sadly.
The confidence, how we’d mistaken it for boastfulness, it saddened me that Blonde and Alaska would never see the real side. “Wow! That’s so tough. And you’re stuck with the memory of your first love, never getting to see it through or see how it might have played out. I mean you will always compare things to that, and nothing will live up to the memory” I resolved. “Yeah, exactly. So Alaska’s lucky, I just don’t get why you’re putting up with it if he makes you feel the way he does” his face contorted in confusion.
“Well, I love him, I mean, I know he’s a good guy and so what if he’s a little fucked up, we all are. I’m just not sure I can be ‘in love’ with him y’know? He really hurt me when he said all those things. I don’t know if I can get past that, I’m not sure if I want to get into something where it won’t ever matter how much effort I make, the person I’m with will never find me attractive. Do I sound shallow? I dunno, I know we all get old and fat and grow hairs from our chin but at the start, well you want to be physically and mentally attracted to each other right?!” I finished as Alaska stumbled out the bedroom once again having been listening.
“I do think you’re attractive” he slurred “but not in the way you want me to, what am I suppose to say, you have a small ass or good body? I’d be lying and you’d see through it! Do you want me to lie, is that it?” he slumped onto the sofa. I took a deep breath “no of course not, but everything you say makes me feel awful about myself. I don’t want to be with someone who makes me feel bad about myself” I yawned.
“I can’t win! If I give you a compliment you think I’m full of shit but if I don’t say anything, that’s not right either” he complained. Host interrupted “you obviously really knocked her confident with everything you said up in Alaska, now it’s your job to try and repair the damage you’ve done. You’re going to have to work really hard and give lots of compliments!”. “It won’t work, she’ll think I’m being insincere” Alaska dismissed.
“You could at least try and say something nice, rather than all the things that are wrong with me!” I shot back. The host lifted an arm around my shoulder in support “well maybe, it’s going to take a really long time until she’s going to believe you find her attractive or trusts that you mean it, she might never get there but it’s down to you to try, to try and repair some of the damage you caused” as the Host spoke, I wondered if he had more belief in my forgiveness skills than I actually possessed.
Blonde cooked an apology breakfast for everyone the next morning as we poked fun “no cherries on mine thanks”. Alaska replaced the vodka as I stripped the bed sheets. We awkwardly waved goodbye to the host “please don’t give us a bad review”. The mood in the car was sombre as I pulled away, rain smashing against the windows. “Yeah, least favourite host so far” Alaska muttered grouchily, “I’m not sure he was such a fan of yours either!” I spoke into the mirror, watching Alaska readjust his backpack as a pillow. As Alaska and Blonde slept, I worried at my lip, all those swallowed frustrations beginning to turn my stomach. It was probably just the hangover.