‘You’ by Kevin Murphy

This is an extract of a larger piece that Kevin has written around the prompt ‘You’.

Liam brings Tack up short telling him that his story of love for girls is all about him.

Liam sucked his lip loudly. ‘You…’ He wasn’t sure he wanted to go there. ‘The girls – you … what do they think of you?’
Tack looked at him, somewhat blankly.
‘I don’t wish to be cruel, Tack, but what you are telling me is all about you, with the occasional reference to what they look like.’
‘I see,’ said Tack, not a bit convincingly.
‘You seem to fall for a girl, you don’t really say why, and then you, well you chase them. Is that fair?’
‘My sister did pull me up on that.’
Liam laughed. ‘What notice did you take?’

Tack smiled and chewed his lip. He held out his elbows, arms crossed in his feeling posture. ‘I haven’t been able to describe it better, have I?’
‘Have you tried to get their opinion? Get them to say “You blah blah?”’
‘I suppose Juliette let me know that she wanted more of me when she first chucked me. Told me off in no uncertain terms that I gave her no priority when I went off on holiday with the lads.’
‘Brought you up short. You went back to her, but after your little problem – not satisfying her, you didn’t talk about it, you let it fade away? Is that a fair analysis?’
‘I suppose.’
‘Then Oona simply walked out? You,’ he coughed, ‘attempted to tell me that that you didn’t care, you took it and walked away. You didn’t talk about it? You didn’t ask her why she walked out?’
Tack looked uncomfortable with the upturned voice making questions out of statements. He raised his elbows again. ‘Body language. Perhaps I was becoming adept at reading the girls.’ He threw his arms down by his side and jutted his head forward. ‘No, I know what it was – I was at last fed up with the unsaid. How was I supposed to interpret this … well it is coded language. Look, Oona told me she couldn’t go out with me because she was engaged, chucked her bloke and played hard to get with me for six months. We then have a lovely romance, she writes over the holiday that she just wishes to be laid in my arms, then when she gets the opportunity to do that, she simply walks out.’ He turned away.
Liam moved to put a hand on his shoulder but thought better of it. He waited. When Tack didn’t turn back he said, ‘stronger from the experience, you set off on a fresh hunt again?’
Tack looked over his shoulder and nodded at the ground.
Liam glanced there and had to smile as he wondered if the earth moved.


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