I have not a clue where this came from. I was writing a study guide for one of my exams and suddenly I couldn't get it out of my head. I don't like the way it is written and I dislike the subject; I find it trivial and rather silly. I realised only after I had finished it that it is set in St. Stephen's Green, in Dublin, Ireland. Also: I don't know whether there is a bridge in the park.
"You are so in love with ideas of people, never what they are."
The day was windy, but warm enough still that they sat on the steps of the bridge in the park. Small flowers grew out of the cracks in the cement. She stared hard at them, trying to let him finish his monologue before asking whether he meant this sudden burst of emotion for her.
"You have your head in the clouds because it protects you from seeing reality and what pain some of us are in! You hold out your hands to some invisible beggar, some invisible lover, and you forget about your friends and the people around you. What about your books? You are in love with that guy, aren't you?"
He nodded towards the thick volume she had in her hand, a finger holding the place she'd been reading from. She looked up at him, puzzled.
"Yeah, him. You talk about him all the time, think about him. You write about him all the time. " She stood up slowly, dusted herself off. Now that he had gone into attacking fantasy, there was really no point in going on listening to him. The ludicrousness would hit him later. Suddenly something he said brought her attention from pity to anger.
"Do you masturbate and think of him?"
She tilted her head to one side, looked at him. His face was defiant, wordlessly saying, "I still mean that". Balling her fist, she sent it flying into his face. She had never actually punched somebody before, but her effort was enough to snap his head sideways. Before he could recover, she walked over the bridge and out of the park.
The streetlights flickered on as she waited for her turn to cross the street. Seeing a familiar profile and hooded sweatshirt emerge from the park, she ducked behind a mother carrying her child. They crossed the street together and parted at a coffee shop, where the mother met someone coming out of a building, and she walked on into a lighted shop front.
"Café breve', please," she said, counting out the suddenly unfamiliar coins. She breathed a shaky sigh and found a chair in a small alcove. She took a deep breath, still angry and upset with him.
He could be absolutely intolerable, but it had been so nice early that afternoon to walk with him.
Someone sat down opposite her, with a large purse and the smell of scented candles and shop smells, and offered her a tissue. She said thank-you, wiped her eyes, blew her nose, and forgot to look at her benefactor, who was still chatting on happily about the time of year.
"Are you in love?" asked the dyed shopper. "No, no, I'm not," she said, breathing out a sigh, more calm now.