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"Light," Ch. 10:The Date

"Light," Ch. 10:The Date

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Published by MarcusTanthony

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Published by: MarcusTanthony on May 19, 2011
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“Light,” Chapter 10: The Date
 You can also read this article on
 www.22cplus.blogspot.com Click  herefor a full list of chapters for Marcus T Anthony's novel "Light." I sat at my desk at Edwards Hall, looking out the window and facing my friend, that bigold gum tree. My breath was short and shallow, and my heart was beating faster than anOlympic sprinter’s at the end of 100 metres. I stared at the tree, looking for inspiration.It’s twisted branches jutted skyward eerily from behind dry eucalypt leaves. I tried tomake the light come back again. I looked this way and that. Half closed my eyes. But it wasn’t there. Maybe the tree’s spirit had flown to a better place. Or maybe my eyes were just getting better.I was looking for a miracle. Maybe a sign. Anything to help me relax.
 
Marcus T. Anthony 
(PhD)Email: mindfutures at gmail dot com
 
Six pm. Only one hour till the big date with Amanda. A thousand thoughts ran throughmy mind. What if I messed up and said the wrong thing? What if she hated me? What if she wanted me to kiss her? Or go even further. In my mind I tried to thumb back through a dozen anatomy classes and several editions of Penthouse magazine toacquaint myself with the required knowledge. I got up and paced back and forth over thecrappy green carpet, no doubt wearing it even thinner. What was I supposed to wear? I flung open my not-opulent wardrobe and stared at themess within. My good white shirt. The one I’d worn to the rugby awards ceremony theprevious year. Nope. Too formal. I tried on the rugby jersey. No way. Looked like a bogan - an uneducated moron from the suburbs. In the end I played it safe and wore jeans and my favourite Midnight Oil T-shirt. Not very original, but at least I felt like me.I was almost out the door when I caught a whiff of my sweaty body. I quickly dabbed onsome deodorant, and shuffled out into the evening.I trudged along the poorly lighted dirt track that ran through the scattering of trees between Edwards Hall and the university. The April night was descending, and ratherappropriately Venus was sitting low on the horizon. Maybe that was the good sign.“Thanks, God.” Two seconds later I remembered that I didn’t even believe in God. Already the late autumn air was cooling, and I suddenly realised that a T-shirt was notquite warm enough. My teeth were chattering. But that may have just been the feartalking.Did I mention I was crapping myself? As I trudged along I couldn’t but thinking that Amanda reminded me of someone. Who was it?I heard the merriment from afar, getting louder with each step. The uni bar was a largehomestead-style building, with an airy verandah surrounding it. It was always packedon Friday nights, which is why I always avoided the place on that particular day. As I walked up the wooden steps, hands deep in my pockets, that cold fear hit my stomachagain. What
was
that? It was like I just
knew
that there was no way on this earth that Amanda would be interested in a guy like me. I mean, who would? I wanted to turn andrun the other way, but for some reason my feet kept walking.Perhaps my ambivalence explains why I walked right past her. Didn’t even see her.“Greg!”I spun round and it was her sitting at one of the big verandah tables all by herself.Smiling. At me.
 
“Oh, sorry, didn’t see you there. Forgot to bring my glasses.” I sat down at the largeoutdoor table, opposite her. She looked even better at night. She really was quite pretty,her long blond hair flowing back behind her shoulders.“I didn’t know you wore glasses.”“I don’t.” My humour was dryer than a bucket of dust left in the sun. So when shelaughed, I knew we were off to a good start.“You’re a funny guy.”“Trust me. I’m not funny. Vladimir Putin is funnier than I am. Much funnier, actually.”That just made her laugh more. I waved to the waiter and ordered a beer. I could tell youthat I
almost 
forgot to ask her if she wanted a drink. But that would just make me look like a complete klutz. So let’s pretend that didn’t almost happen.“I’ll have a Sprite thanks.”Suddenly I wondered whether I should be consuming alcohol.“Don’t drink?”“No. I don’t. It gives me a headache.”“Me too. The headache I mean. But there’s that inebriated bit before the headache setsin. That’s the fun part.” We talked for a while, and I was genuinely surprised to find myself relaxing. I hadn’trelaxed with a female since a nurse had anesthetised me after I twisted my ankle real bad during a rugby match five years before.It was as she was talking about her family from the North Shore of Sydney that the lightstarted up again. At first I couldn’t quite see it, but as I relaxed with her, there it was.There was an eerie glow about her head and shoulders, as if someone had turned a light bulb on inside her head. It was all a bit freaky. But the more I tried to look at it, it would vanish. Then, as I stopped trying and relaxed again, it would return. I thought abouttelling her about it, but then thought better of it. We drank, ate and chatted for a couple of hours. We talked about uni, the meditationgroup, about food, about just about everything. I was shocked at how at ease I feltaround her. I couldn’t help but think that things looked promising. Then, at around nineshe had to leave. She said she was driving back to Sydney the next morning, as shealways did.“You spend weekends with your family? I see my olds about once every six months.That’s about as much as I can handle.”

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