2 Replies to “1.27.2015 Journal Prompt”

  1. If I’m being honest, it was a bit wet, you know. I mean, the getting down on one knee bit – really? We’re living in the twenty-first century for chrissakes. This ain’t the fucking Middle Ages or shit, and he ain’t no bloody knight in shining armour, and for sure I ain’t no lady.

    It was sorta embarrassing and I wanted the floor to open and swallow me up, or swallow him up more like. He took my hand in his and he started kissing it. Jesus. And everybody in the bar was looking and their faces all slack or soft, and everyone all smiles.

    Maybe in a movie it woulda been a romantic moment, I get that – the culmination of a long will-they-won’t-they chase, and there’d be music playing, and the camera spinning round the couple so you could see, all in a blur, the dizzy love in her face and in his. And a coupla hundred onlookers, filled up with poporn and coke, and sitting in the dark as unseen witnesses to the moment. But it wasn’t like that. Everything just stopped, and he looked sorta hungry, and I felt it was a bit rude that everyone was watching and leaning in and listening.

    My blouse was sticking to my back, cold and damp, like a hand pressing me forward. I felt a little sick and, yes, a little dizzy, too; I’d drunk too much and maybe that’d been part of his plan. And I don’t mind admitting that I felt a little shaky, too, like I do when I’m standing at the top of a house ladder painting walls, or driving over a high bridge and if you look down the world below seems made of water and you just want to drive right off the bridge by the quickest route.

    He looked up at me and I almost laughed. Like that it was as though he was a pet dog I’d told to sit, saying the word with emphasis and spit, and maybe I’d asked for his paw, too, ‘cept it was the other way round and this strange short-eared, dock-tailed puppy dog had asked for my paw.

    ‘Fuck,’ I said under my breath.

    He smiled and swallowed and cleared his throat.

    In my head I kept saying over and over, not now, not now, not now. I concentrated all my thoughts on those two words so as maybe they’d be hanging in the air and he’d breathe ‘em in and he’d know then and he’d make a joke of what he was doing and time and talk in the pub could resume. Not now.

    ‘Will you…’ he said.

    And shit, he was really doing it and I hadn’t seen this coming, not when he’d arranged for us to be here, the place where we’d met and that was a year ago to the day. At least he thought it was, but I knew he was a little off there, his days and his weeks a little tangled.

    ‘Will you marry me?’ he said.

    And the floor didn’t open up and it wasn’t dark and everybody was holding their breath and willing me to say yes. And I wasn’t really prepared, you know, and the words stuck in my throat, and I really didn’t want to spoil the movie everyone was watching, so I nodded and I smiled and I bent forward to kiss him.

    There was cheering then and somebody flicked the light switch on and off and on again, and strangers were shaking his hand and patting his back, and women were kissing my cheek, and there were drinks pressed on us and advice for the future and remarks on how pretty I was.

    ‘Fuck,’ I said under my breath again. ‘Fuck, fuck, fuck.’


    Have you seen that new movie, ‘The Theory of Everything’? It’s doing the rounds just now and reaping all kinds of awards and shit. I seen it. Well, why wouldn’t I? Got his book when it came out, didn’t I? The big one, the one ‘bout the Brief History of Time. Didn’t exactly understand it though. I knew all the words and what they meant, and when I was reading the book it felt like I was there and getting it, but soon as I put the book down all my thoughts unraveled.

    And he’s just a fucking miracle in’t he? They gave him like two years to live back when and now he’s old as old and his brain is just sparking and brilliant as if it is something new. And he can’t talk by hisself, but he’s got this machine and it says all his words for him, and he sits all curled up in a chair with wheels and a motor so it can move with the push of a stick.

    Yes, so I went to see the movie. It was built around a book his wife had written after they’d gone their separate ways. I ain’t read that book, but if it’s anything like the movie, then I don’t reckon I’d understand it any more than I understand ’bout black holes. You see, the movie’s all sugar and sting, in equal measure, and I don’t believe it has much to do with how it really was between ‘em, between Stephen and Jane.

    There’s all this soft focus and sugar at the start and Stephen looks all freckled cute and he’s always smiling and his smile is as broad as his face. And he’s quick with his words and sort of confident and awkward both at the same time and with these goofy glasses. And Jane, well she’s just stop-you-in-your-tracks fucking pretty and she’s got one of them mouths that has to be kissed, only it’s not really Jane, it’s this actress called Felicity Jones and I sure am happy that it is.

    Anyways, there’s all this star-gazing and Cambridge and the camera loving ‘em both, and it’s like the perfect giddy romance. It’s what I call movie-romance. Cos it ain’t ever like that. Not really. In movies it’s all scripted and perfect and directed. Life is a whole lot messier.

    Then suddenly Stephen falls and smashes the side of his face hard onto a stone slab. I don’t know how they do that, but the whole fucking audience sucked in air at the same time. It was a shock and that was the sting.

    The rest of the movie’s about how Jane stuck by him, even when he was crumpled and couldn’t speak. There’s a lot more sugar there, and a lot more sting, cos she didn’t exactly stick by him to the end. But even the sting seems not like a real sting. Oh, the audience was all teary-eyed and silent and wanting them to beat real life and stay together. And we all of us was hurting a little bit when Jane was displaced by Stephen’s nurse – and the producers chose a sharp and sassy woman to play that part so as we none of us could fall in love with her. Yes, so not like real life at all.

    Well, at the end, I felt a little cheated, you know. Like I always do when I see movies like that. Where love is this thing that we think we understand and yet when it’s laid out in a movie we don’t really recognize it. Watching the movie, it’s easy to get carried along by the sugar rush, but thinking about it afterwards, well I lose the thread and I don’t get it – same as when I was reading his book.

    Don’t get me wrong, you should see the movie. It’s not bad for what it is, but it ain’t exactly real – what’s real and what isn’t may never be fully known and, well, I reckon that’s a bit like the theory of everything.

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