“...are you sure you’re okay waiting?” asks Murph for the tenth time.
I put a chip in my mouth. “I think ya just like hearin’ me say ‘yes’.” I don’t know why I’m here, honestly. Murph messaged me asking about food, but I’d already made plans to go cruising. Yet here I am, having tea with two Americans again.
My time’s really been taken up by them, now that I think about it.
Adrian snickers and takes a sip of his fizzy drink. “Dude, I think he’s trying to stress that it isn’t a short wait. It’s over two hours,” he points out. “I mean, if you want to wait, we can’t stop you.”
Murph turns to him. “But it’s such a long wait!”
“Are you tellin’ me to get lost?” I ask.
They’re not listening to me. “I’m not saying that, Murph,” Adrian says, putting a chip in his mouth and grinning. “I’m sure you could find something to do if you think about it long and hard.”
I’m not sure if that’s an innuendo. But if it is, it isn’t that good, and it goes over Murph’s head anyways.
“Adrian!” Murph exclaims. “He’s our friend.”
“Should he really have to wait 2 and a half hours for us?”
Murph looks back and forth from me to him and says, “Wh – have you seen the show yet?”
“Yet?” I ask.
“He means ‘no’, Murph,” Adrian says quietly.
“S-so I’d want to tell him about it!” he says, leaning over the table. God, he’s so fucking loud.
“Okay, okay, Murph. Quiet down, we’re in public,” Adrian whispers.
And I agree with that.
Murph’s mouth is open, possibly in surprise. He looks away and is clearly thinking. It’s funny. “Okay,” he says, grinning. He looks at me. “You know, if you’d like, you can take my ticket and see it.”
Adrian looks at me. “I don’t think you’re the ‘musical theater’ type of guy, though,” he says. He shrugs. “Just the kind of vibe I get from you.”
I wink and nod my drink at him. “Ace. Bores me t’ shit.”
Murph gasps. “Tommy, we’re in public.”
“Really?” Adrian asks. “You’re going to say that to him?”
I snort and look outside. For a Saturday, Wilton Road isn’t that busy, and neither is the restaurant, which is weird considering the place’s spot right by Victoria Station. I gesture to Murph. “Even if Adrian really didn’t want me to come, you’d want me to. Besides...” I lean back in the chair. I accidentally touch the person sitting behind me, and I lean back forward. “...you tellin’ me ’bout it’s probably the only way you’re gonna get me to see it.”
“Might get leaked onto Youtube,” Adrian suggests, shrugging.
“Yeah, and I’ll be so chuffed when that happens.” I roll my eyes.
Murph lights up. “I can’t wait to tell you about it!” he says, bouncing in his chair. He then picks up his burger and rips a bite off it.
It’s amazing to watch. It’s like a toddler trying to eat. Or a lion pulling apart its meal.
The conversation stops for a little bit. We talk about school and how our food is before Adrian excuses himself to go to the toilet. Murph leans forward and asks, “You know, I’ve been thinking about it for a while now, so, as a fair warning, I’m going to ask again, Tommy.”
I blink. “What?” I take a sip of my drink.
He doesn’t answer. He just looks at me, sadly.
I finish off the drink before asking, “Can I ask a question?”
He nods. But when he nods, his whole upper body moves in this wave motion. “Sure. Yeah, yeah. Sure.”
I lean forward. “Why do you care?”
Murph seems surprised by it. “Why wouldn’t I care?”
“Because Adrian doesn’t seem to give?”
I swallow. “Don’t. ’t’s not worth the time ’nd energy, mate.”
He leans back into his chair and sighs. He picks at his food for a second and asks, “Want to know why I push myself the way I am?”
I shrug. “Can if ya want.”
Murph looks away for a second and taps his fingers on the edge of the plate. He looks up and inhales before looking back at me. “I do it...because I want to,” he says slowly. Murph looks back to me and continues, “Like, like everyone wants to feel like they’ve done good work, to feel fulfilled and appreciated in what they’ve done. And certainly, I understand the reality that not everything I do will be recognized, but it’s like...” He pauses and pushes back his glasses. “...like...” Murph glances to the floor for a second. “...like doing the hard work to feel fulfilled. Does that make sense?”
The answer doesn’t satisfy me for some reason. “You gettin’ knackered ’r something?”
He smirks. And right on cue, he yawns. Open-mouthed. Knobhead. “A little,” he admits, “but I’m not going to be missing a piece of culture here just because I’m a little tired.”
His answer makes more sense, now. Kinda.
Adrian returns a moment later, excited. “Look at this,” he says, showing some kind of building design on his phone. Except I can’t tell what it is and it looks like shite. “Ryan drew it.”
I don’t know who that is. Or maybe Adrian’s mentioned him before, but I don’t care to remember.
Murph perks back up again. “Oh, let me see. Is this for his final project?”
He shakes his head, grin undiminished. “No, he wanted to practice with dimensions and spacial awareness.” He turns the phone to me, but I’m not sure if it’s supposed to be a hotel lobby or a fancy barn. But Adrian takes it away real quickly to message him back.
Murph sighs. He then looks at me. “Have you ever been in a relationship?”
I shake my head. “Nah.”
“Aw, really?” Adrian says, never looking up.
“I heard that. Stop it,” insists Murph.
Adrian looks at me and smirks. “Wasn’t too harsh, was it?”
I shake my head. “I get worse from my flatmate.”
“Ah, yes. The infamous ‘Steve’.” He looks back at his phone. “We’ll have to invite him along at some point. I’m dying to meet him.”
No. Never. Fuck, I hope they never meet him.
“…why?” asks Murph genuinely.
“Why ya haven’t met Steve?”
Murph shakes his head.
“I haven’t dated?” I ask.
I shrug. “Dunno. Never really met someone who made me think, ’WOW, I need to spend all my time with them and only them, inhaling the ground they walk on’ ’r some shit like that.” Besides, kind of doubt anyone’d be into that with me.
Fuck. I look down and shove some chips in my mouth.
Without looking up, I nod to Adrian and say, “I know loverboy over there’s in one.”
“I am,” he says, still grinning at his phone.
“And you?” I ask, nodding to Murph.
Murph purses his lips and shakes his head. “No,” he says slowly, like it’s a bad memory. “Most of the time, when I like someone, they get to know me, and that’s what puts them off.” He pauses, and it feels like he meant it to be there. “I’m, not socially conscious, I guess, enough to know when to do things, so they don’t end up liking me back, even if there was a chance they could.”
Wow. This isn’t something we talk about in fucking public, Murph.
But then he laughs like everything he’s just said was a giant joke, and keep going, “I think, like, one person tried to ask me out, but it just went...whoosh.” He swipes his hand over his head. “You should know.”
I nod. “Yeah.”
Adrian snorts. “Oh, yeah. That’s a thing that happened. What was it like, trying to flirt with him?”
“Like flirting with bricks.”
He nods. “Yep, sounds about right for you,” Adrian says.
“Oh, wait,” Murph says, eyes glancing up to the ceiling, “I did date someone, but it was for...like, a month. Ish.”
Adrian and I both lean forward. “Are you serious?” he asks.
Murph clearly isn’t sure how to respond. “Y...y-yes?”
“Holy shit,” I whisper.
“Holy shit, indeed,” Adrian says, looking at me with wide eyes. He looks back to him. And then moves his whole chair to face him. “Details. I need details. Go.”
He begins rubbing his fingers over the edge of the table. “Like...the first time she asked me out, it went over my head, because I thought she just wanted to hang out more. The second time she was really blunt about it. And, and she was my best friend so I said, ‘sure’.” Murph says it shrugging, but his eyes’re big and sad. “But then she tried to kiss me and I, I guess she had tried to do it before but she was my friend so I got freaked out and then she got confused and then a week later she broke up with me.” He clenches his jaw. “Stopped being my friend after that.”
Adrian looks at me. “Weirdly enough, it was both seriously anticlimactic and perfectly, like, you.”
That’s a sad story. That’s not what you should’ve said. What the fuck, dude?
And, apparently, Murph knows it.
Because he turns his whole body towards him and half-shouts, “I didn’t know the parameters of an adult relationship when I was 14! Cut me some slack!”
I lean back in my chair. “That’s the most eloquent sentence I’ve ever heard ya say,” I point out.
He turns to me. “I say a lot of eloquent things!”
“Except that!” Murph announces. And then catches what he just said. “Wait, no. That doesn’t count.”
I look down and stuff more chips in my mouth. Something’s wrong, but I can’t put my finger on it.
I guess that’s what made up my mind to wait for them.
We leave the restaurant close to seven. Wilton Road’s gotten busy in the past half-hour, but we didn’t notice. Adrian was trying to justify to me why Indiana Jones was a good trilogy and the fourth one was shite.
We don’t really talk that much as we walk towards the theatre. Murph looks worn out, and Adrian’s sweaty. Granted, the day has been weirdly hot for March, so I don’t suspect anything.
The seven-way intersection in front of the station is packed with a combination of cars, tourist busses, and trucks. It seems like every single London Bus in the city is parked by or in front of the station. The light’s fading and it actually kinda makes the intersection really pretty.
We stop right before Wilton road branches out in three directions. “You sure you’re okay to wait?” asks Murph. I don’t know how many times he’s asked me now.
“Do ya want to wait to tell me about it another time?”
He shuffles his foot on the pavement.
Adrian rolls his eyes and grabs Murph’s shoulders. “We’ll see you at nine-thirty. Ten at the latest. We’ll be by the theater’s front doors.” He burps. It has good bass.
“I figured.” I inhale. “See you guys then?” They nod, and we turn our different ways - me for the station, and them for the show.
i'm very happy to announce that "SomeWhere On..." will start updating every week on Thursday, while "Dorky Green Eyes" will update on every Wednesday until it's completed.