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The Nice Thing About Living Downtown Is You Can Go Home At Lunch

January 17th, 2011 by admin

Will failed to mop up Ulrika’s tears in the cafe. She had a long, tangled story about going to Kaitaia with her boyfriend Wayland, getting shouted at when no-one was around to admire how smooth Wayland was, the Christmas awkwardness,  overhearing Wayland telling a cousin about hoping to move to Europe on Ulrika’s passport. Their screaming midnight fight, and being forced to make it up with him the next day because of the impossibility of getting back to Wellington otherwise.

When she started her second retelling, Will got antsy. This was definitely A Scene. Wellington was way too small to allow Scenes to happen. So, he persuaded her to call in sick. He went up to his office and grabbed his laptop to “work from home.”  On autopilot, he took her back to his flat, hustling them down the quieter streets of the way. “It’s not any trouble. That’s what living downtown is for, to be close, right?”

When he walks into the lounge with two cups of Roobios tea, also prepared on autopilot, Ulrika is slumped beside one of the sofas, her tears at a slow leak. “Feeling better? Box of birds?” he says, hopefully, as if using positive language will make her misery impossible. When she doesn’t reply, he sits on the sofa near her, holding out the tea.

Wearily, Ulrika takes a cup, then leans her head on his knee. “This is just so terrible. I never want to be involved with anyone ever again.”

Will pats her head. “I’ll be all right. I’ll come over to your place and help you tell him to fuck off and – Winona?”

Everyone freezes.

Winona says, icily, “It’s lunchtime. I forgot my mobile. And if you’re looking for yours, Ulrika, I’m fairly certain it’s not there.”

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