Anyway, where was I….
So I'm walking around a fairly popular shopping center, one I cannot name for fear I will be swarmed by a bajillion adoring fans asking me to take pictures and sign their faces….and take pictures of their signed faces…..Oh wait, I’m not Ryan Gosling…..So I’m at Bluewater…... I look down at my shopping list, it says ‘Jeans’. I turn it over, on the back it says ‘turn over’. I begin to question why I needed a list in the first place. I mean, by definition a list requires more than one item to govern the characteristics of a ‘list’, what I have here is a shopping entry. But I digest……...I mean digress…….well, both is correct, as I feel the last piece of Twix sink down my colon singing ‘It's been a long day without you, my friend, and I'll tell you all about it when I See You Again’.
It’s just before christmas so the place is more packed than a guy's hand luggage who refuses to pay for checked suitcases. I’m dodging people all over the place, sliding left, rotating right...I look like a damn Tetris piece. As I pose like an upside down ‘L’ shape I see a familiar face in the crowd. My old friend, Alison [not real name] whom I haven’t seen in forever. Like a gym buddy she spots me, and smiles in recognition. I smile back as we begin to shape shift towards each other. Me, looking like I’m doing the YMCA dance. Her, looking like Catherine Zeta-Jones in ‘Entrapment’. But, somewhere between my Village People and Temple Run maneuvers I realise my smile hadn’t fully formed. Somehow my face had only created half a smile. As if it was downloading the smile.exe file, like back in dial-up internet days waiting for a picture of Britney Spears to load. Line by line, and freezing at the neck, which you can imagine is not the prefered part of female anatomy a fourteen year old boy wishes to examine. My friend is fast approaching and here I am greeting her with half a smile, looking like I’m midway through a stroke. Like part of my face voted pro-Brexit and had run off to live with Nigel Farage. Half my face saying “Alison, oh my gosh so nice to see you”, the other half saying “Stay away from me I can practically smell your failed marriage and two alcoholic kids from here”. I slow my pace as I try to reconfigure my face. I pout, I frown, I leer, I scowl. I’m basically an embodiment of the entire emoji catalogue!!
“Hey stranger” She says, suddenly before me. I'm not sure what face she has caught me with but I hold it. “What have I told you about using my pet name in public” I return, with an unnatural air of wit. She chuckles, I grimace. We joust back and forth, exchanging compliments and nostalgia. All the while she maintains a smile Tom Cruise would be proud of. So dazzling. So effortless. Meanwhile I stand there looking like someone served Gordon Ramsey a post-Pot Noodle Soup. Gun smoke encapsulates us as we shoot the breeze…..a term which in all honesty sounds more like we shot a guy who farts a lot. We bid each other farewell and she turns to leave. It really was nice to see her I think to myself. And out of nowhere I feel it, a smile!! A proper, fully developed, one hundred percent, no extra sugar smile!! I need her to see it!! I need her to know I'm not Gordon Ramsey!!! “Hey Alison!!” I call out. She turns around and I let her appreciate the spectacle. The vision that is an authentic, perfectly crafted, life enhancing smile from thee Daniel Jackson ……… After a little while her quizzical expression informs me this isn't as heavenly and magical as I had thought, but instead, a very awkward silence. My smile quickly crumbles as she stares back at me expectantly. “Erm, where'd you get your jeans!?”