A few weeks ago when I tweeted that I wanted a bike, my friend Jim said it would be like “giving a gun to a penguin”. In hindsight he is probably right, but I finally achieved a level of poverty this month which means I can no longer afford luxuries like bus tickets. And so today I became part of the Chorlton cycling squad.
“It’s easy,” He says. “I quit all the time.”
We’re sitting outside a cafe smoking cigarettes. It’s a loosely themed Hawaiian joint that serves piña coladas in the evening, and the parasols that shield us from the sun look like enlarged cocktail umbrellas. Our shadows stretch out over the plastic tabletops, his spidery six-fingered hand running over mine as he flicks grey ash into the glass tray.
“But how.” I press, holding my cigarette like a dart and staring deep into the stained yellow end of the filter. “Half the time I don’t even realise I’ve lit one.”
I’m a guilty-pleasures-of-the-nostalgic-nineties-music-variety kind of girl, but even I had to stop and double-listen when I was reliving the 5ive greatest hits album. Don’t Wanna Let You Go is the stalker anthem of the twentieth century which conjures up images of Jefferey Dahmer moonlighting in a cheesy boyband.
With charming lyrics such as “You see our faces every time you turn your head around / We’ll be watching even when you turn the lights down / We will always be around / No matter where you are“, I can only imagine what the parents of my generation thought during school discos.
As the omniscient band growl in low voices to “don’t make a sound”, add to this the soundbite of a girl screaming (seriously) and you have a pop song that is truly terrifying. Beware, kids.
When he gets home from work he shrugs off his long coat and goes into the garden.
She leans against the frame of the back door and looks at him.
What have you got?
A beer, he says, and cracks the cap off the bottle with the handle of the corkscrew.
Oh. Can I have one?
He shrugs, taking a sip of his own. He wipes the foam from his lips. Sure.