You Burn Your Regrets But Leave Mine to Me~Ben Ashwell

July 21, 2008

It’s always pleasant when you meet someone who resembles a character that you once created. You feel a certain fondness towards them, as if you know them already. It makes you feel like when your friends said that they enjoyed reading your story they weren’t just being polite. It makes you feel like at least something you have written has some honesty in it. Unfortunately for me, most of the characters that I create are unsavoury in one way or another, even if I don’t intend them to be when I start out, when I read the piece back I realise what I’ve written.

I recently had the pleasure (as I write this word I realise that is not at all true) of meeting a woman who resembled a female character that I had written about nearly half a year ago. She was the femme fatale of a story in which she broke the protagonists’ heart. She couldn’t sleep until she had done so. Having met this woman I was filled with the kind of fondness that I described earlier. Fortunately for me the feeling seemed mutual.

Over the next few weeks we saw each other casually, occasionally staying over at each others houses. I once went to hers to find that her room was full of smoke. When I asked her about it she told me that she had written down everything that she had wanted to change in her life on pieces of paper. Then she threw them into a fire in order to get a spiritual high that she recommended strongly. Considering my initial fondness for this woman had grown during the past few weeks, I was levelled by this gesture. I thought that I’d finally found someone that suited me. Someone with some “depth” (I write with my tongue very firmly in my cheek).

A few days after this she stopped returning my texts. After that her phone always seemed to be turned off. She was the first person to ever take an interest in me so I hoped that something had gone wrong with her phone. As the week continued I remembered that she had once phoned me from a different number. In that moment everything made sense; her old phone had broken and she’d forgotten to tell me that she had a new number.

My ears were full with the dial tone and my head was filled with her, but as the phone rang I felt a tingling sensation in my temples. Maybe this wasn’t her number; maybe she was avoiding me. Before I had time to acknowledge these sensations the receiver clicked and I heard a man answer in a brisk voice that echoed like the lowest frequency of a double bass.

“Hello.”

“Hi. Is Esther there?” I tried to hide the surprise in my voice.

“No. Who’s this?”

“Who’s this? I’m Buddy,” I replied, a little bemused by the aggression in the man’s voice.

“I’m Esther’s boyfriend. How do you know her?”

“Oh, err, no, I’m, err, I know her housemates.”

“Are you sure about that that?”

“Yeah?”

He hung up halfway through saying, “Good.”

I laid back on my bed, slightly panicked by the threat in his voice. As I laid there a thought entered my head, I can only assume through the temples. Maybe I was on one of the pieces of paper that she burnt. Maybe I was on a few of them. Maybe I was the reason that she felt she needed to do that in the first place. I began to ask myself over and over again, “Was I naive to assume that a girl is single if she invites herself back to my flat the first time that she meets me?” I thought about that for a while before I rolled out of bed and walked across the road to my local, fully aware of how much of a cliché I was being. In the pub a drunken old man asked me if I was married.

“No, but I do have a girlfriend,” I replied in a beat.

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3 Responses to “You Burn Your Regrets But Leave Mine to Me~Ben Ashwell”

  1. Alan K said

    “It’s always pleasant when you meet someone who resembles a character that you once created.” Great sentence and it actually does happen….

  2. Butter Cups said

    “Considering my initial fondness for this woman had grown during the past few weeks, I was levelled by this gesture. I thought that I’d finally found someone that suited me. ” not too sentimentally put. nicely sad here.

    i like this story.

  3. egle said

    luv it.

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