Ian said goodbye and eventually left and Damien had the living room to himself. He felt a draught and looked up and Karen, his soon to be ex-girlfriend, was at the door, with her empty cardboard boxes and large suitcase.
Like I told you last night “I’m moving out” said Karen, and she picked up her boxes made her way into the flat.
“Do you need any help?”
“Make sure you don’t take any of my things, especially my DVDs”
Damien left Karen in the bedroom and went out to the living room. Looking for the Heart of Saturday Night hummed from the stereo whilst Karen packed her bags and collected her belongings. After a short while Damien passed caring if she took one of his albums or books. She probably bought them anyway.
“This is a ridiculous situation!” Said Damien whilst trying to keep an eye on what Karen was packing
She’s the one moving out, he thought, but Damien felt like the uninvited guest the one that should apologise or something.
Its funny how when you first meet a girl she likes you for who you are! It’s over time they try and beat the old you out of your system and install the man they want. You’ve only got to watch a chick flick and it’s the man that’s the love rat it’s the man that’s emotionally challenged. It’s funny how a woman can change your taste in music or when you actually get a chance to listen to some music.
When Damien first met Karen they’d spent hours making compilation tapes and listening to anything from Joy Division to The Smiths. Then over time it went to easy listening compilation CDs and some ginger bloke from…
“You can keep the Simply fucking Red CD!!”
It was only last week during a meal with “her” new work friends that Karen introduced Damien and went onto telling them that…
“…he’s an underground-writer, not a proper writer of course but someone with an unusual hobby along with a few BEATNIK friends who also write for no particular reason on a web site that hardly anybody visits”.
Damien tried to explain that “writing for no particular reason is the only way to create…as once you’re writing for someone else or you work to an unnecessary deadline… you might as well end it”. Nobody listened. They recommended books mentioned on SKY arts and the Richard and Judy book club. Matt recommended that Damien enrolled onto a writing course. Karen also amused the group with Damien’s unsuccessful career as a drummer for a band called “The Strangely Brown Incident” They thought the name was kind of cute, that was up until one of them asked…
“What exactly is a strangely brown incident?”
Damien replied “…it’s when you’ve unknowingly shat yourself stupid and avoid embarrassment by passing it off as a strangely brown incident; we’re pretty big on Google”.
The silence was incredibly heavy. Trying to move the conversation on Damien told them a little more about the band but none of them were interested and not exactly impressed that cartoonist Eric Reynolds designed the sleeve for their demo single called “wipe it clean” or even slightly interested that the Seattle based indie label Sub pop were actually going to offer them a contract and tour with Mudhoney.
Karen walked back into the living room with an overflowing cardboard box and checked her phone.
Damien couldn’t help but notice this and asked “Who are you expecting a call or text from, it wouldn’t happen to be from Matt would it?”
“And would that be a problem?” She replied in a matter of fact way
Damien actually wanted to ask her to sit down and think about what she was doing only because he was wondering how he was gonna get to work as Karen was taking the car. Considering this woman completely changed Damien’s life, he was gonna miss her. Was I or am I in love with her? He thought or was I conditioned into loving her…something similar to that imprisoned girl from Austria was towards her father?
Its weird how Damien’s flat now looked anaemic with only his pitiful possessions scattered around the room. Damien couldn’t help but think that it’s really cool listening to the Ghosts of Saturday Night and the way it reverberated around the room.
“I wish I learnt how to play the piano”. He said out aloud
Out of the blue the annoying polyphonic Cold Play ring tone blasted from Karen’s phone. She cheerfully answered and strolled into the kitchen and closed the door. Leaning against the door Damien could hear the low murmur of her voice over Potters Field.
Strolling back to the stereo Damien thought how men need a soundtrack to whatever they are emotionally struggling with. Holding a CD case he was sure the Tom Waits CD belonged to Karen, either way
“I’m keeping this one! “
Eventually Karen re-appeared and without a word picked up her suitcase and embarrassingly bright red backpack and left. Before the beat of dust she stirred settled, Damien’s phone beeped and it’s surprisingly a text from Karen
You can keep the Asylum Years
Not wanting to accidentally quote Forest Gump, Damien thought Life is seriously like a film soundtrack! As his now ex-girlfriend drives away and Ruby’s Arms slowly fades out.