(fiction) June & the excuse.

June didn’t have much time. She needed to get to the wedding, the invite for which had been sitting in her coffee table for the last 2 months. It had taken her 3 weeks before she sent the RSVP silently being tortured by the lie of having ticked the ‘+1’ and knowing full well that she was not going to find a date in time. How was she to in 5 weeks, fix her life, find a decent guy and have him accompany her to a wedding? Life isnt Hollywood, June would not find her ‘perfect’ man and take him to the wedding, catch the bouquet thrown by the bride and smile knowingly at her best friend as they both stared at the deep blue eyes of the new man in her life. That sort of thing didnt happen.

June knew this was nonsense and didn’t watch such Hollywood movies, or even even hang out with people who did. She knew life was imperfect and didn’t always have a happy ending. After all, chance, mis-chance, serendipity, fate… whatever you call it, none of this was really true because she had gone through life knowing none of it was. And where was the evidence to the contrary? She had done the math, statistically, she was doomed to end up alone.

June didn’t bother with much make up, she checked her hair, she checked her dress. She looked better than most days and that was fine. She picked up her things and walked out the door determined not to think about the ‘lie’ in the RSVP and to just have a good time.

She hailed a cab, mumbled the name of the church and settled in. She gazed at the fast moving traffic, trying to distract herself, but she was fidgeting and was very self conscious about the anxiety she now felt. The uncomfortable conversations about her rehab. The usual answer about why she was alone and how she was still looking and the other lie, the one that really hurt to tell, that she just could not find a decent guy. Wasn’t it true that she actually found decent guys but they didn’t want to hang out with her? Well, she knew none of it mattered, but sometimes she couldn’t help herself. She bit her lip tried to focus. It was then that she noticed the cab had stopped.

‘What? Are we here?’ She asked
‘No, the route is blocked’
‘I see’
‘What’s the uh, problem?’
‘The route is blocked. The bridge is closed’
‘Yes, uh, why is the bridge closed?’
The cabbie looked back like this was the dumbest question he had ever heard. He shrugged and then turned back. ‘This is the only route, if the bridge is closed, i cant take you. I cant back up , look behind you. it could be a while before the bridge opens’
‘Okay, uh, take me back’
‘You deaf? I cant make a U-turn, im stuck in the traffic, yea?’
‘Okay… so, i wait?’
‘If you want to’
‘I could leave’
‘Yes’
‘Okay, I’m leaving’

She exited the cab, suddenly furious at the way the cabbie had not tried to do something. She wasn’t herself just now. Where was her composure? She shook herself and walked back. No alternative? Was there really no way? Had she just gotten a perfect excuse? She could just call and let them know that she could not make it. After all, the bridge was out of commission and she could also make up a reason for not being at the after party. She had the perfect excuse. She called up and reached one of the bridesmaids and told her she was not going to make it. The girl at the other end didn’t even bother asking why. Surely the wedding was busy.

She sat down on a park bench and lit a cigarette. The day had suddenly started to look better. She did not have to pretend to be happy anymore. She stared at the strangers walking past. They were all so ‘busy’ It was a Sunday, walk slowly old man, you don’t have to rush. Two youngsters jogged past and June cursed, she didn’t like the healthy. She didn’t like the young anymore. She didn’t like her own age group either, we are boring non creative types she would say, our minds too set in our ways.

What she needed she decided was something ‘different’, even Hollywood. She put out her cigarette and started to get up when a large dog suddenly ran up to her and put his paws on her knees and started panting, its large eyes looked kind and happy. She froze, and then she laughed. Did she just think that the dog had kind eyes? What the hell?  She heard a yell, the dog’s owner came running, out of breath and all apologies.

June didn’t really listen, she was a bit shocked and as was typical of her, she didn’t like dogs much, but this guy was cute and was looking genuinely dismayed so she smiled and said it was okay. Before she knew it, she had accepted to have coffee with him and she found herself giving her ‘real’ and not a fake. Was it just the shock of the moment? Anyway, she was seeing Mark for coffee and for the first time in the day, she felt optimistic.

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