‘The Question’

(Dialogue between Lee & Kara, sat in a pub.)

L: I can’t answer that!

K: Really? But you were doing so well.

L: Really?

K: It’s just a question. Aren’t we a little beyond worrying about ego?

L: It’s not that. That’s not me.

K: I know darling.

L: It’s just . . (pause)

K: Go on.

L: Fuck! OK . . it’s been weird how we’ve . . clicked, I suppose . .

K: And . . ?

L: . . and . . (draws breath) Look, I told you I already have a female best friend. A girl.

K: A woman. So?

L: I don’t really get close to male friends.

K: And?

L: I could introduce you to a couple of brilliant blokes. Blokes who’ve known me for years. Blokes who’ve seen me at my worst . . (laughs). Blokes who’d help me bury . . you know, blokes who’d hide shit for me . . never, ever speak of it . . and never ask questions.

K: (Smiling) Were you a gangster?

L: Shut up woman!

K: Well, at least I’m no longer a girl. (Still smiling)

L: What I’m trying to say is that I’m not close to them. I’m close to my best friend. Just her . . I mean . .

K: You mean you’re not going to answer my question!

L: Oh-for-fuxake!

K: Get to the point man!

L: Aaagh! (Smiling, wide-eyed, looks into the distance then focuses intently on her). I feel too close to you, too soon.

K: Oookay . .

L: It’s been like a blur. It’s like you arrived with this Paddington Bear label around your neck, saying ‘I’m important; I’m your friend; look after me’.

K: I don’t need looking after.

L: (Sighs)

K: . . and I don’t like marmalade.

L: What?

K: The bear. I don’t like marmalade. And I don’t have a hat.

L: You don’t have a hat? What, you don’t wear them?

K: Of course I do! But I don’t have a Paddington Bear hat.

L: See! This is the problem!

K: What?

L: This is not a two-days-down-the-road-from-meeting conversation.

K: Oooookay . . what sort of a conversation is it?

L: I’m tired of this.

K: (Just gives him that look)

L: What happened? What did I miss? Is this how strangers talk now?

K: We’re hardly strangers.

L: Kara, we’ve seen each other twice.

K: We’re hardly seeing each other.

L: Hmmmm . . and here’s my problem.

K: (Gives him that look again)

L: You gave me that look.

K What look?

L: That look you give me.

K: Lee, fuck the look! What the hell are you going on about?

L: You know what, I really have no idea. I can’t even remember what I was talking about, let alone where we came into this conversation.

K: You said there was a problem.

L: (Quizzical look)

K: You said this was an odd conversation.

L: Right . . no, it’s not odd. I mean . . I mean, we don’t know each other. I mean this is day two of me knowing you and we’re talking like we’ve known each other forever . . like we’re close.

K: We are close.

L: See what I mean? How does that work exactly? Did I skip a generation. Do you speak like this with everyone you’ve just met?

K: What, so it’s my fault we got on?

L: Well, do you?

K: (Silence, looking at glass of wine)

L: (Deep breath) I’m not going to answer your question.

K: Well, that’s clear enough. Why not?

L: (Silence, looking at glass of beer)

K: Weeell?

L: Because . .

K: Yes?

L: . . (Long pause) . . because I haven’t decided whether I’m going to fuck you yet. (Looks away with brows furrowed)

K: Finally!!!

L: (Still looking away with brows furrowed)

K: . . . Ohhh, I like that!

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