This is a Sunday Photo Fictionsubmission. Photo. Copyright Alistair Forbes
Back in the summer of 1996, I’d spend long afternoons lying on my back with my college sweetheart, imagining patterns in the clouds. At first, it was romantic but, after a while, it got dull. Dinner for two in town might’ve been a tad extravagant on a student loan but I wanted to see the Sneaker Pimps at the Hop&Grape, or go and watch the Full Monty at the cinema.
By September, I was becoming tired of getting nothing but the wrong sort of grass stains out of my relationship but I stuck with him. Well, he looked like a less simian Gaz-From-Supergrass; it’d have been rude not to, wouldn’t it? It was only when he became particularly pre-occupied with a cumulonimbus formation that I started to realise something was up.
“It looks like a…badger,” I said.
“Does it?” he asked in a Galway burr which I’d once found thrilling but which was beginning to grate.
I hesitated, “A…vole?”
He seemed disappointed with my answer, “But, really, what does it look like. To you?” He fixed me a particularly intense stare, like he was looking into my soul, like he was some kind of shrink.
It was then that I saw it.
He was using the clouds as a sort of Rorshach test to vet my suitability as a future wife. The nerve! And this from an engineering student, at that.
“What does it look like?” I repeated. He nodded, eagerly. “It looks like you won’t be getting past third base with me.”
With that, I caught the number 43 bus into town, confident from my cloudgazing that it wouldn’t rain for at least another few hours.
I didn’t give him a second thought until I ran into him the other day. He was looking handsome, expensively dressed and was utterly, utterly charming. I was wondering if I’d been wrong about until he told me he’d married a weathergirl.