If You Can’t Resist, Delay

He sat and looked at it while she sat and looked at him, looking at it. You could say there was tension in the air. His face looked pained, because he was in some sort of physical discomfort, but more so because he felt put upon. There had been pressure, certainly, and it wasn’t entirely warranted or needed or seemed proportionate to the problem that needed solving, which wasn’t a big problem and didn’t need much solving. It was the kind of problem which would go away – possibly – if it were just left alone.

And now his brow was furrowed.

He was both pained and in pain, if the distinction between the two isn’t too fine … and if I can draw attention to that distinction without seeming like a prat. OK. Perhaps you already think that. Sorry.

The pressure exerted, the twisting of an arm (figuratively), the knowledge that he was expected to do something, do it now, and do it successfully, all seemed unnecessary, and in fact it was this pressure that was the truly unpleasant thing. The problem itself was small and didn’t need fuss.

It was like that time with the hairstyle. The incident his mates would never let him forget: an early fishing trip, leaving before light, and he had got dressed quickly, without having a shower. He was running late, and there wasn’t time. She had smoothed his wildly recalcitrant hair down with her hands and with a palmful of some sort of fragrant female styling product, and he looked like a little boy ready for his school photo. His mates said you had to be over 18 to go on the fishing trip and demanded to see his ID. They said much worse than that too. He tried to mess it back up again, but it wouldn’t budge (it was a high quality product, purchased from the outlet store at a never to be repeated discount). And he became “hairstyle” after that. That was his new name.

He consented to having his hair styled because he knew it was impossible to resist such an intervention, and now, again, he knew he was powerless to resist. He could delay though. And so he would do just that.

He looked at it, and she looked at him, looking at it. It was on the table and it was in a glass of water and it was a dissolved aspirin which had ceased spitting fragments of exploded tablet up into the air over the surface of the water in little geysers of ballistic pharmaceutical activity. It had become calm now. Becalmed. And the drink settled. He quite liked the taste of aspirin but he didn’t really think his headache was enough to require a medical remedy like this – however he must act as the powder in the glass had begun to sink to the bottom, and it didn’t taste nearly as nice in this state as it did with the powdery bits suspended, he thought. So he must act.

He drank it.

She smiled.

He hoped she would leave him alone now, but first he had to admit he had been stubborn and childish and taking an aspirin had been the only really sensible course of action.

He confessed: “Yes, you win,” he said.

“That’s right,” she replied. “I do. I always win.” He eyes shone malevolently. “Now, I’m going to keep an eye on you.”

And he smiled too.

Published in: on November 5, 2014 at 7:31 pm  Leave a Comment  

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