19 Sep

Frank was never happier, nor was he ever more sad,
Than when he was sat alone in his flat with a book on his lap, or a pen in his hand.
Happy because he didn’t have to please anyone,
Sad because he had no one to please.
No one was good enough for Frank,
Nor was Frank good enough for anyone.

Women liked Frank,
They always had.
Frank never could understand this, but wasn’t one to question such things.

Frank was repulsed by women who thought themselves too beautiful,
The ones who couldn’t walk past a mirror without stopping.
He hid from them.
He hated how they thought they were better than others,
How they thought they had more rights.
‘Why does she think she has more of a right to disturb me than her?’
He would ask himself, bitterly.

Frank didn’t have much time for women who approached him,
Or who smiled too confidently at him,
Or those who looked at him in a way that he thought too forward.
Their first words to him were something he’d not heard before.
Frank liked originality.

Frank usually went home alone,
But not always.

Frank liked the women who thought they didn’t have a chance,
The ones who didn’t know they were beautiful.
The more imperfections the better.
He could find something he was fond of in almost anyone,
So long as she didn’t think herself too beautiful.
When Frank didn’t go home alone, he went with one of these women.
Never to his place, always to hers.
He would say nice things to her all night,
And she wouldn’t know whether to believe him or not.
But Frank meant every word.
He never lied.
He often stayed for breakfast,
Or went to a café with her and had a toastie and a cup of Earl Gray.
Frank never used the word ‘café’,
To him it was a ‘kaff’.
Eventually the time would come for Frank to kiss her goodbye,
And to escape back to the sanctuary of his own flat,
Where he didn’t have to please anyone,
And where he had no one to please.

Sometimes Frank found himself
quite by accident
in what he called a relationship of convenience.
She was lonely,
He was lonely,
What was wrong with two people
Giving each other a bit of companionship for a short while?
But Frank had always talked himself out of things
Before the girl even knew she was in things.

Frank would entertain himself with games he created.
“What do you think of beards?” he would ask, “Big, proper beards?”
And if she said, “I don’t like them,”
He would go into the bathroom and give himself the cleanest of shaves,
And then throw away his razor!
Purely to amuse himself.
The beard would grow,
A primitive, out of control, untamed beard,
Hiding his face.
Frank would never mention it,
Never draw reference to it,
But neither would she.
‘She hates beards,’ he would say to himself,
‘So why doesn’t she say something? Why does she tolerate something she hates?’
Frank would never tolerate something he hated.
And now he hated that this woman couldn’t just be honest and open.
He had his excuse.
He would walk one way,
She would walk the other.
Never again would there be contact.
‘If only you had told me I looked disgusting,’ he would think,
‘We might have had a chance.’
He knew this was bullshit.
None of them had a chance.
It wasn’t their fault that they weren’t Her,
But he held it against them all the same.

There were different versions of this game.
Frank had some pretty awful t-shirts
That could be worn every day if necessary.

The thing Frank hated more than anything else?
Women who drank
Every day and every night
And who denied it.
The ones who would already be on bottle two or three
When he arrived at the door,
But who would have hidden the empties.
And yet, these were the women Frank found himself with
More often than not.
Sad women.
Women with a history of pain.
Frank never knew if he attracted them,
Or if they attracted him.
But either way,
Sooner rather than later,
They began to remind him of his mother,
And the last person he wanted to share a room with was his mother.
Frank had his excuse.

Frank blamed himself.
For everything.

Frank would close his eyes,
And pretend
That she was someone else…

Frank was a reader,
He had three or four books on the go at any one time.
People mistook this for intelligence.
He was never one who could pull a quote out of thin air.
People that did
He looked at with admiration
Or disdain
Depending on his mood at the time,
Or how much of a pretentious prick the person doing the quoting was.

Frank did not have time for pretentious pricks.

Frank actually had a lot of friends.

Frank used to walk for five or six hours at a time,
Unravelling the knots in his heart,
And deep down in the pit of his stomach,
Where everything came from.
He would chat to himself,
Either out loud,
Or in his head,
Depending on whether or not there were people about.
Sometimes these conversations took place in different languages.
He found it good practice.
But he always insisted that of all the languages in the world,
English was the most emotive.
In the evening Frank’s aching legs would distract him
From his aching heart.

Frank truly believed
That love was exactly as it was portrayed in the songs he listened to.
Songs that had been written before he was born,
But had lost none of their meaning.
The songs his dad had used to listen to.
He believed that love,
Pure love,
Only came about once or twice in a lifetime,
And usually at an inconvenient moment.

Frank often wished his dad were still alive,
So that they could talk.
About the things that fathers and sons talk about.
But then he would remember
That they had never been able to do that while he lived.
despite what others said of him,
He didn’t feel his father had done too bad a job of bringing him up.

Frank was never happier, nor was he ever more sad,
Than when he was sat alone in his flat with a book on his lap, or a pen in his hand.
Happy because he didn’t have to please anyone,
Sad because he had no one to please.

No one was good enough for Frank,
Nor was Frank good enough for anyone.


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