I groaned as I looked at the clock, having slept through most of the morning. After a couple minutes of fumbling around for my phone I finally located it under one of my pillows and checked it for notifications.
Nothing spectacular, well nothing at all actually. I tossed it aside and pulled my hair up, untangling myself from the sheets to go make a cup of tea.
Some people (well, most people if I’m honest) think that my tea preference is a disgrace to the English nation as I prefer Earl Grey, brewed with two tea bags so it’s extra strong (and because I’m impatient and want it straight away). Then I fill half the mug with milk so that it’s like a tea latte, but also again so that I can drink it immediately, the milk cooling the water. As I drank my cuppa I texted Cal. We had previously agreed to start our friendship project today and we pretty much hang out every Sunday anyway, but thought I’d check in just to be sure.
Cal always says things like, “I’m not going to drink,” but by the time we meet up he’s usually lost all of his resolve.
Cal, like Lad Boy, is annoyingly punctual, but also quite clever as he now knows to wait until I say I’m actually on my way, like literally out the door and en route, before he leaves. Today was no exception, which was good as I left about fifteen minutes later than I intended, having forgotten some supplies I needed for our meet up. Namely, pens. I turned around and went back to my house for a bag of brightly coloured pens. This will make sense later.
I ran out of the underground, rushing to get to the pub we frequently went to on Sundays. I texted Cal as I walked, slowing down when I got his reply.
I had taken the table literally right in front of the door since it was hot and I needed the breeze, and also to avoid that awkward moment for Cal when you walk in to a place and have to stand there looking around for someone. I had pulled out a notebook and some pens and was writing out ideas for the questionnaire I wanted us to fill out when a waitress came up and asked if I was getting ready for a business meeting.
‘Not quite,’ I answered, although it could technically be classified as such. It certainly wasn’t a date.
Awhile later Cal walked through the door and I could immediately tell that something was very wrong. He looked tired and a bit sad, which is odd because I don’t think that I’ve ever seen Cal sad before. We hugged hello and he picked up the wine list as he sat down. (See? No resolve, that man.) I already knew what I wanted because we had been there enough for me to have sampled most of the wines and the Sauvignon Blanc was the best. Once the waitress had taken our drink orders, Cal sighed heavily and I raised my eyebrows at him, waiting for him to talk. The week before something had been wrong as well but he had said he didn’t want to talk about it so I thought it best to just let him lead the conversation.
He sighed as he placed the menu down and started explaining what had happened. I listened while he talked until he started to indicate that he wanted me to join in and we discussed what was going on for the better part of an hour and I had all but given up on the idea of doing anything related to our project since the priority was obviously getting Cal to feel better, but after a few drinks I asked if he still wanted to get on with it.
‘Yeah, why not. What do I have to do?’
‘Well,’ I said, pulling out some paper, ‘I think we should fill out “getting to know you” questionnaires.’
‘I have graph paper and I have blank white paper. Which would you prefer?’ I asked, knowing that as an engineer he’d definitely go with the graph paper.
‘Good, I like that better as well. Easier to write neatly and I’m a bit OCD about that.’ I started to pull out some pens. ‘What kind of pen do you want?’
‘What do you mean?’
‘Fine point? Ultra fine point? I like the ultra fine.’
‘Uh, I really don’t care.’
‘Again, doesn’t matter.’
‘Okay,’ I said, grabbing a pen I wasn’t particularly attached to. If he can’t appreciate my absurd love for ultra fine tip black pens then he can use one that I stole from my office. ‘Read this,’ I said, handing him my notes with questions. ‘What do you think about these?’
‘Cool, okay. First. Write “40 Days of Friendship” at the top,’ I began to explain. I read through each question and we answered them one by one, me typically taking much longer than Cal to answer.
‘What are you writing over there?’ he would ask if I was taking too long and I’d hand him the answer once I was done.
‘Jesus Christ,’ he would usually answer, laughing. ‘Are we going to have to do this every day?!’ He eventually asked, halfway through the questions.
‘God, no. This is just for the introduction. Then I’ll email you a short questionnaire every day to fill out.’
He sighed. “Okay.’
So without further adieu, here are our questionnaires:
‘What does AF mean?’ Cal asked, reading over my questionnaire.
‘Oh.’ He kept reading and then said, ‘Wait. You asked me out?!’
‘Yes,’ I said, annoyed he didn’t remember. To a dance. And you said no.’
‘I don’t remember that.’
‘You ended up taking two girls I think.’
‘And you’re calling ME the player?’ Cal laughed and shrugged. ‘Should we get one more?’ I asked.
We talked some more about nothing in particular and then Cal told me a story that had both of us crying with laughter by the end. As we walked out we were still laughing and I was relieved he wasn’t as morose as when he’d arrived. We said our goodbyes and I texted him when I got home.
‘Oh, fuck no,’ I said to no one, alone in my flat as I read the article he sent me.
I had read a post on Tumblr about giant insects from the prehistoric era and it scared the living daylights out of me, which is why I am not particularly eager to bring anything back.
We talk about these sort of things quite a lot, which always comes around to my theory that we are actually derived from an alien bacteria that landed on earth during a meteor shower. I don’t want to go into too much detail, but it would certainly explain why we’re so uncomfortable all the time (too hot, too cold, etc…) and so susceptible to mild changes in climate. Like I said, it’s just a theory, but Cal and I have spent hours debating the matter.
What I meant to write was, “How the fuck DO* we prevail?” but being about a bottle of wine deep at this point my texting wasn’t exactly on point.
It usually takes one or two tries to actually say goodbye over text since one of us will send something random to the other.
But that was the end for real. (Oh, and I had a weird thing on my arm that I tried to get Cal to inspect but he didn’t want to touch it in case it was contagious. It wasn’t. At least I don’t think it was. It went away. Short story long, it wasn’t really a problem at all.)
Next time…DAY ONE! The project begins…
PS: Just in case you don’t believe me about the One Direction pens…
If you have any questions for Cal and I, we will be answering any that are sent to me via the comments section or to firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you to everyone has already sent questions! xx