A Minds Eye

Lying awake, thinking.

Yesterday we were told that Bob had left the college. The official cause college gave us was ‘personal reasons’, but I know that’s not right. To assume to yourself that official reasons are automatically ‘right’ would be a grave mistake. Official reasons are probably “we’re-covering-our-arses” reasons.

Okay, I’ll clarify this. Sounds like something that would be the basis for an episode of Friends, but here goes.

There’s six of us. Me, Gracie, Johnnie, Anthony, Lisa and Vicky. Bob was an older postrgraduate guy who also lived at college. He had some past involvement with Gracie; it had started and ended before I came to university. Since then, Bob had just hung around us all the time. That’s how it started. It was awkward. Just awkward. Every time I entered into the room and he was there, with everyone, there was just a sense that no one else wanted him to be there. People would talk about him when he wasn’t around.

Then yesterday, he was gone. Just like that. When everyone else found out there was a sense of relief. But me? I was taken aback a little. And I had stayed like that until now.

~

I’ll get up; I have to be at work in an hour. A lovely 11am-9pm shift at this burger joint that I work at.

I open the window. Sunny day? Nope. Still raining. Jeez, its been raining for the last week! I cobble on my work clothes and head down to the college dining room. Continental breakfast this morning. I eat some toast, make a hot chocolate, and then go to work across the road in the massive shopping centre.

My boss welcomes me when the same happy enthusiasm he always has. He’s a lovely guy, really fun to work with, even if all we do is sell burgers.

“Prep the bread rolls, thank you darl” he laughs. I smirk. Always knows how to cheer me up. I high five him, grab 100 rolls and a cutting knife.

I’ve got my Ipod in my pocket, so I get him out before I start to cut some bread. Need some thinking music. Radiohead looks good. King of Limbs? Too indie. OK Computer? Too popular. Go for tried and tested, and pick In Rainbows instead. I start to cut some bread.

~

We have a party tonight to go to in the city. An old friend from college, George, is having a 21st that’s at some pub under the harbour bridge. I’ve already said I’ll be late, but I’m keen for a big night. I haven’t drunk for over a month, sometimes when work and uni get too much, drinking with mates and nights out seems just the ticket. Except tonight, I know Bob is coming too.

At least I think he is; he was invited too. But would he come? Something tells me no, because he’s probably over us. But what if he wants us to feel guilty? He can still turn up if he wants, and we can’t do anything about it. God, it would be awkward if he did.

Would it kick off if he did? Would he be that pissed that he’d want to start a fight? Is he even like that? Does he like to punch on?

~

Bread is cut, and I’m just standing around, with Harry, an awesome bloke who’s just finished university and is about to get married. I tell him about the whole Bob situation.

“If I were you, just ignore him. Works best” he says. Pretty staple response.

“Why? Why can’t he just go away and not come?” I ask.

“You don’t know what’s going through his head. You can make up stuff but at the end of the day you’ll never know what it’s like to be him.

"So better to avoid the conflict altogether. He may not come anyway, so chill out” replies Harry.

He’s got a point. I don’t know anything about Bob. When it comes right down to it, apart from the whole thing with Gracie, no one knew much about him.

~

We had theorised about him in the past. His age (he looked really old), what he’d done for most of his life, where he was from. That kind of stuff. Eventually, we decided to make up stuff about him; like that he was nearly 50, or that he’d been convicted by the police for some reason.

Bob never told us any of this. He was really secretive.

~

Harry points out a girl to me, a brunette with brown eyes. I recognise her; she does a class with me.

“Serve her” he says. I know what he’s on about. He’s been trying to get me to get a girl forever. He told me the trick is to be smooth, confident, and relaxed.

It’s got to the point where every time there is a girl that’s pretty that comes up to order, he makes me serve them. His solution is that “if you get laid, you have a happier life”. Didn’t see what all the fuss is about. But I do like the look of her.

The girl comes up.

“What would you like?” I ask. (Come on, make a good impression!)

“Umm… just the beef and cheese burger please” she replies.

“What bun would you like that on? Sour-dough, Wholemeal or White?” I ask (I’m sweating so much, this girl is much prettier close up).

“White please” she says.

“Any chips or drinks?” I ask (She’s going to totally ignore me!).

“No thanks” she replies, smiling back (she smiled! SHE SMILED!).

“Okay, then just $9.50 all up” I reply.

She pays on card. Then turns to leave.

“Umm, excuse me” I say (okay, here we go).

She turns around. “Yup?”

“I just noticed that we’re in the same class. It’s… god… its—” (trying to remember her name, OH GOD!).

“Mia; I remember you” she replies (YOU SHOULDA KNOWN THAT!).

“Yeah, you enjoying the class?” I ask (Trying to find something to talk about. Stop it! STOP! STOP THIS TRAIN WRECK, STOP!!!).

“Yeah, its good” she replies.

“I was just wondering, did you want to catch up for a coffee or something? Or a beer?” I ask (SHE DOESN’T LOOK LIKE A GIRL THAT DRINKS BEER!!!).

“A beer? Really?” she laughs. “Perhaps” (WHAT???)

“Perhaps as in yes, or perhaps as in—”