DISGUST ~ Zack Wilson

October 8, 2007

Just before I was 30 I went out with a medical student. She was 10 years younger than me but didn’t look it. She worked behind the bar in a pub I used to drink in. She used to flirt with me when I first walked in, get really warm and affectionate after I’d had 4 or 5 pints, then cold shoulder me after I’d had 8 or 9. I couldn’t work out who had the problem.

It turned out she was on tranquillisers for some kind of depressive problem. I was never allowed to spend the whole night with her. Her housemates made me feel like an idiot bumpkin, really coarse and thick-accented. Once, she drove me over the Snake Pass in a car bought for her by her parents. We were going to a young farmers’ ball in Chester , where her parents lived. Halfway over the Snake she told me that she had a death wish. After the ball, I began to see why.

Some weeks before this we’d gone out on a Sunday afternoon and had ended up in a pub on Division Street . They had some kind of promotion going for some kind of Belgian lager. They were serving it in tall glasses with narrow bases and wide tops. The rusty yellow beer poured cold into the glasses looked beautiful on the dark wood bar of the shady mid-summer pub. I fell for it and bought myself a pint and I thought it tasted great. She tasted it and made a face similar to the one she made when we were having sex. I think this was a bad thing. She once told me that her ex-boyfriend whose Royal Navy sweatshirt she occasionally wore had used to tear her when they were having sex. She sneered at me when she said this.

I tried to enjoy my beer, but the atmosphere made it go flat and warm quickly. She drank blue WKD through a straw and fidgeted in her red sleeveless Primark top and jeans with no label that were a size too small. I tried to find pleasant things to say about people we both knew and funny things about people she didn’t. She looked contemptuous and only smiled so that she could sneer properly. Every attempt at conversation died. Even her stance, arms loosely at her sides, shoulders slightly hunched, attractive large breasts presented prominently but for derision not admiration sapped all the enthusiasm out of what was already feeling like the kind of day you find dead pets on.

She went to the loo. I downed the half pint I had left and got a replacement pint. I’d drunk almost all of that and was onto my second cigarette when she returned. She sat down and looked pained once more.

“Do you want a drink?” I asked. I really wanted one.

“No…yeah, n…yeah. Yeah…well, just a…yeah.”

“Another one of those blue things?”

“Yeah.”

I finished the rest of my beer in a couple of swallows and took my empty glass and her empty bottle and straw to the bar. I ordered up and took the drinks back to where we were sitting. I sat down and offered her a cigarette. She shook her head and took one. I lit it for her. During the ensuing silence I got through about a 3rd of my drink. She played with her straw and nearly knocked her bottle over.

“I’ve got something to tell you,” she said.

Oh good, I thought, she’s going to end it.

“But I know you don’t like…talking about…these kind of things,” she elaborated.

“What kind of things? Are y…”

“You know,” she fiddled with her curly hair, she whispered, “Medical.”

“Oh.” I really didn’t know what to say. I felt right thirsty and wanted to kill all the space in my head. “What? Were, well, y…”

“It happened in the loo.”

“Oh. Wha…”

“But you don’t want to know.”

“Well, I’m concerned.” No I fucking wasn’t. I wanted to get savagely pissed and shout.

She lowered her voice, “I’ve been having some bleeding.”

“Ah, well. Is it to do with…with your…your cycle?” Christ, I felt like a fuckwit.

“No, no.” She shook her head vigorously. “Not from that hole, from my other hole, behind.”

My mouth moved but no words came out. She looked at me like a spoilt doll. I took a big swallow of beer and asked, “Maybe you ate something?” She shook her head. We didn’t say anything else until I’d finished my pint and we’d left. She went home to prepare for her Monday shift at the hospital. I went to the pub where I’d met her and got pissed with only the bar staff for company.

We split up about 6 weeks later, after the ball. I think I’d just got back from Skegness. I’d told her it was over with an SMS. It was easier that way. I didn’t have to look at her.

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