imagine if

the man she likes

the man she likes
Written by Cathoel Jorss,

I saw a girl on the Underground travelling with the man she’s in love with and the girl he likes. They were Italian. Crisp faces. Hers, naturally, a little long and sad; the other girl’s, naturally, coquettish and confident. He had a lovely outlook, solid stance, good beard, and kind expression; compared to them he was tall, he stood unselfconsciously, his feet well planted. Oh, how she loved him and craved for his attention, his acknowledgement. The other girl was wearing a cute mini. On the platform the girl who loved him poked him as if playfully, but he barely saw her; the other girl made a lot of play with the straps of her little backpack. My girl couldn’t help herself, she went close to him and buried her face in his chest, pretending she was joking, but really soaking up some of his smell and his heartbeat, his masculine solidity, his illicit love that would never be her own. Your heart would have ached to see her. She followed him onto the train like a little sister, dragging her feet. The two girls were, purportedly, friends and she had to pretend to be interested in what the winning girl was saying, which seemed endless; the loser girl was lacklustre, she’d lost confidence, she could see the headlights of disaster barreling right down the tunnel towards her. They leaned on opposite sides of the carriage, the man, the two girls, and you could see he had forgotten they were travelling in a trio. She peeled his heart open with her yearning eyes. She longed for him and gazed and gazed. And longing does no good at all. I could have told her that, if she’d asked me; I thought of saying so. But she wouldn’t have believed it, we never do, just as he couldn’t see the love standing in front of him, yearning for every morsel of his blessed being.

18 comments on “the man she likes

  1. And what woman cannot relate to that post? High school. The boy down the hall at his locker. Dreamy. I stood at my locker, daily, waiting for him to go to his… he was quiet, shy.. but so dreamy. He noticed others, but never paid attention to me. Ah.. the painful memories of youth. The loser girl will learn – or not. In any case, I loved reading the essay.

    Kim Lifton November 13, 2015 at 11:22 pm
  2. Crushingly beautiful!

    Jonathan November 14, 2015 at 1:01 am
  3. The decades I’ve spent pining with unrequited love. I feel her pain, her anguish, and her despair. Yet, knowing my life, I would reach out to her, only to be rejected, again, To tell you the truth, it’s getting damned tedious. Beautiful writing, in which you, again, capture the essence of people and their situations with minimal verbiage. You have a great eye as well as a wonderful way with words.

    Brendan Kelly November 18, 2015 at 11:33 pm
  4. Dear Brendan, thank you for sharing your painful story. It just sounds such a waste. A living, breathing, empathic love unable to be expressed. I am sorry. I can imagine it gets tedious as well as agonising. Maybe the woman you love knows something about herself that you can’t know, which would make the two of you incompatible and unable to be happy? Or else she has qualities of self-regard or some other kind of superficiality that might make her at close quarters less worthy of your love? Perhaps I am imposing optimism in a situation I know little about. It’s just painful to picture all that affection going up the chimney into the heedless sky.

    Cathoel Jorss November 27, 2015 at 9:45 am
  5. I re-read Pride and Prejudice recently, and this reminds me of Miss Bingley. She’s so mean minded, but so pitiful, leaning over Darcy as he writes a letter and commenting every few minutes on his handwriting. She could almost not even exist for him, however much she yearns and flirts and walks around the room…

    Jameela January 9, 2016 at 10:36 pm
  6. Oh, and taking up the second volume of a book he’s reading, only to toss it aside with a yawn and a speech about how she so dearly loves reading! Aye, Miss Bingley is vivid. Her character teaches us more about his than almost anything else, I reckon. It’s almost as if she is what Elizabeth mistook for him.

    Cathoel Jorss January 10, 2016 at 4:30 pm

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