Saturday, 14 February 2015

A Romantic Comedy

I wrote this story years and years ago; I was still experimenting with styles and genres at this point, finding my feet. I never wrote anything like this ever again, but I've always kind of liked it. It's nothing like the writing I do now and clumsily try and promote on here; it's not horror, it's not weird. But sod it, it's Valentine's Day, so I thought I'd post it. (I've deliberately not amended anything that my twenty-something self wrote.)

A Romantic Comedy
It wasn’t a relationship, but a rehearsal. We weren’t really boyfriend and girlfriend, but just trying out those roles for future reference. We were very young. I don’t know why you picked me, out of all the boys who auditioned. You were considered very pretty, with your long brown hair and startling hazelnut eyes, the kind that would look good on movie posters.

We would walk around the park holding hands, while the light fell on us from different angles. Or we would kiss, learning how it was done. We never went any further than that, because ours wasn’t that kind of film. We were too young to have seen films that went further.

But what script would stop there? There was another boy, waiting in the wings. He had been learning his lines, getting into character. He was very good; I didn’t know what was happening. Suddenly I was being out-staged. You barely wanted to hold my hand anymore, let alone kiss me. You told everyone kissing me was “disgusting”, just when I thought I had got the hang of it. My first bad review.

I was forced into a different role. I happen to think I played it rather well. I took long, lonely walks, kicking at dead leaves and not letting myself cry. I wrote letters to you that I never sent. I brooded and listened to sad songs late at night. Everyone saw how well suited I was for the part, but I knew there would be other films later. I never meant to become typecast.

It wasn’t supposed to be like this. It was supposed to be just a rehearsal with you, when all the doors were still open and we thought we had time to explore them all. We were just seeing which roles we would want to play later. But the doors seem to have shut behind us.

Every script I get offered seems to be the same, with the same ‘surprise’ ending that doesn’t surprise me anymore: dead leaves and late night radio. And I can’t help but thinking that maybe it wasn’t a rehearsal, back then with you, but something far more important and fundamental, that set the scene for all that followed.

I’ve played my part with many girls, although sometimes not for long. And I just wanted to tell you that none of them have seemed as beautiful as you seemed then. I still think of you, every time the film ends, and I watch the credits with tearful eyes. I always watch until the very end, in case anything changes. It never does. I still think of you. My writing this to you when I’ve not seen you for years is perfectly in character.

What more is there to say? It all remains the same, the same long slog through the same lonely scripts. My film career has failed to take off. I’ll probably end up in some dull pantomime, with one of the ugly sisters. While your face beams down on us from the billboard of your latest blockbuster, your romantic comedy, your happy ending.


Mark Fuller Dillon said...

I'd call this a vignette, and a good one. Thank you for sharing it!

James Everington said...

Cheers Mark!