Chapter 4:

The Alfreds of this World

John and Yoko

“What are you going on about, eh? Tell it to me one more time. Stop pacing back and forth, eh? It’s half past-four, John. Bloody hell!” Ada shrilled. My sister sounded like a radio that’s about to explode. It’s the only downside of living in this share house---we have bad cell service.Bookmark here

“I forgot the time difference. I’m sorry. And I’m not pacing back and forth.”Bookmark here

“Lies.”Bookmark here

The women back home are fond of calling me a liar. I wasn’t exactly walking back and forth. I was walking ‘around’ the large-scale sofa in our living room probably for an hour now. Almost immediately after my talk with Yoko, she left the apartment. I’m all alone to process our conversation. I don’t plan on phoning Ada. But Anya and the guys aren’t back yet. Plus, I can’t think straight. I saw myself probably about a hundred times as I walk past the full-length mirror next to the exit door. Sometimes I look like an agitated Paddington bear minus the sou’wester hat. There’ll be times that I’m positive I look like Gandalf minus the staff, but definitely more stressed.Bookmark here

I took a deep breath before I continue. Yoko said she has read all my works. I was over the moon—for two seconds. Hey, I love my readers. When I asked if she likes them, she said no. She said that she didn’t understand, get this ‘all of them’.Bookmark here

I’m not the least bit affronted with her comment. I get this a lot back home. Alfred Taylor, a real legend when it comes to ruining writer’s careers wrote on The Toll, “John is not dramatic, his words are. John is not an actor, his words are. John will not be forgotten, his words will.”Bookmark here

Rehashing those words in my head used to throw me into a frenzy. I saw a therapist and accepted that there will always be Alfreds in this world.Bookmark here

Going back. I didn’t corner her about my work. I already know she’s not my fan. Yeah, fine, eh! So, I said the next best thing that I can think of to get myself out of that internal embarrassment.  Now that me and Yoko are talking it’s up to me to keep the ball rolling.Bookmark here

“Can I take you to dinner tomorrow night?”Bookmark here

She dropped the shy anime girl attitude, which was kawaii. Only, in my opinion, she’s more likely to be a mix between a tsundere and a kuudere. Don’t ask me to define these words. I picked it up while watching tons of anime with Felix and Jacob. Their side commentaries beat my dad’s monologues on derbies. Bookmark here

We would watch one season of anime in one night. No wonder John the poet is not writing.Bookmark here

It took a while before she responded. “I’m not sure about you taking me out. You don’t know the good places. I should probably take you. But not tomorrow. I’ll let you know.”Bookmark here

Before I can turn the conversation around, she stood up. Bowed. And walked out of the door.Bookmark here

“Ada, that’s what’s killing me. I don’t know how long I have to wait for that dinner to happen.” I got tired walking and talking at the same time. I was lying down on the wooden floor now.Bookmark here

“John, you need to bloody wait for it or do something about it. You’re not some gormless, dull person. Or maybe you are.”Bookmark here

“Hey look. I don’t need you to be all mean right now.” I’m curled a like a ball, a helpless cat.Bookmark here

“I’m not being mean. You are.”Bookmark here

“What are you talking about. You just said I’m stupid.”Bookmark here

“Well, I only said that because you are forgetting something.”Bookmark here

“What is it?”Bookmark here

“Océane. I am friends with your girlfriend. Remember? You haven’t texted her while you’re in there. Guess what, she hasn’t complained. But John, you can’t come to me talking about another girl when you have a real gem back home. Now, cheerio.”Bookmark here

She sounds angry alright. Ada’s always mad about something but this time, I knew she’s disappointed. Which is worse.Bookmark here

Aside from the Alfreds in the world, there are the Yokos. They are interesting but difficult to decipher and they are driving me nuts right now.Bookmark here

Then there are the Johns. I’ll let you decide what kind of people the Johns are and don’t be an Alfred once you’ve decided.Bookmark here

John and Yoko

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