Ed was very excited about his latest writing efforts. In fact, he was so excited about it he had printed it out and was taking it out for a walk. Well not exactly out for a walk, but sitting indoors typing didn’t do it justice and felt going to sit outside, basking in the sunshine and watching people go by would inspire him even further. He was even going to write with a pencil. That’s how serious he was. An honest-to-god, sharpen-with-a-penknife pencil.
It was as he stood outside his front door, dithering about which direction to head for maximum inspiration his old friend Dave snapped him out of his reverie.
“Yeh, yeh alright. Hi.” Replied Ed meekly. Being snapped out of his reverie was something that Ed was going to have to take time to get over. He liked Dave. He liked Dave a great deal, but this was precisely the wrong moment for him to turn up out of the blue. Turning up out of the blue was something that Dave did. He was one of those people who goes off the radar for weeks or months at a time, and then turns up as if everything were normal, apparently unaware that explanation was needed. Ed could see him every day for a week, and then not see him for three or four. It was just something he accepted.
By the expectant way Dave was looking at him, Ed felt it was his turn to talk. He didn’t know what to say.
“Um.” He tried. Yes, that would do. It was the best he could muster at such short notice.
“Mate, I was just coming to see you. We don’t see each other enough.”
“Oh.” It occurred to Ed he was outside for a reason, but couldn’t recall it. He looked back at his house.
“Don’t you ever think after all we’ve been though, we should see each other more?”
“Erm, ok. I was just, um…” Ed looked up and down the street. Perhaps the answer would be obvious if he looked around a bit. His brain was racing, though it was more in a manner of a dog chasing it’s tail than a sprint.
“Think about what we’ve been through together. School, uni, gender reassignment, unconscious summer holidays in Portugal.” Dave smiled a devious smile at Ed, who knew the part about gender reassignment had been a test to see if he was listening. He had certainly been hearing, but listening would have been a strong word for it. Dave continued regardless.
“And all this time with me living so far away, you know? Well, guess what?” He asked expectantly.
“I er- I’m not… Hmm?” Ed was taking a surprisingly long time to get a grip.
He really had been, for a very short time, in ‘the zone’. You’ve heard a lot about the zone, but you’ve probably never quite been in it like Ed was. Unfortunately, a characteristic of the zone was an utter inability to comprehend it, even when you were in it. The zone was like a helicopter. Getting in one could be tricky and once you were in you never wanted to come out, but anyone who said they really knew how one worked was a liar.
“Come on man!” Cried Dave at last, “This was supposed to be big! I was supposed to come along, get a big embrace, then I was going to reminisce briefly, then you’d say how brilliant it would if I moved in around the corner. I was going to tell you I was doing that tomorrow, then we’d go ‘yeh!’ and get to the pub, chuckling like idiots.”
Ed attempted to put a few of these things together.
“Ok, right. So you’re-”
“I’m bloody moving in round the corner aren’t I?!”
Ed finally shook off the last of the zone. He was in the moment, fully engaged and ready to go to the pub chuckling like an idiot. It was just then when Dave changed tack.
“So what’s that then?” Dave asked, pointing at the sheaf of paper under Ed’s arm. Ed was now so soon out of the zone that when asked about his work, he seemed surprised there was something nestling under his arm and almost dropped it.
“Oh, that’s er- my manuscript” Ed wasn’t sure why he had decided to use the word manuscript. He wasn’t precisely sure what exactly the ‘manu’ part of it meant, and why it would make a difference. Up to that point, he wasn’t sure if he’d ever actually said the word aloud before. It wasn’t even a script.
It was turning out to be an odd day for Ed.