Shapes That Go Together
Morten Harket stood at the bus stop across the street from his modest suburban home. Autumn was kicking in now and leaves of different persuasions filled the pavement. Not sycamore ones. Well, some were. And when I say persuasions I don’t mean that there were any gay leaves.
Ok, back to the story.
Morten Harket stood at the bu…oh, I’ve done that bit.
The bus was late. “Nothing new there,” Morten grumbled as he checked his watch for the fifth time in a minute. He glanced at the shopping list, bemused to find Smash on it. He hadn’t had Smash in years. But times were hard and savings had to be made wherever they could.
Morten swiveled and smiled instantly.
“Joanne! It’s been a long time,” he said, extending his hand.
“Oh, enough with the hands,” she said, getting him in a bear hug.
“Look at you!” he said, smiling.
“Look at you!” she exclaimed.
“Oh, no,” he said. “I’ve put on a few pounds.”
“I know,” she nodded. “I was about to say that. You look pudgy.”
He glanced to his left but still no sign of the bus.
“So I haven’t seen you since…”
“1994,” she said, finishing his sentence. “Yeah, I remember that night.”
“Me too,” he said, sounding distracted. “So, how is life for you?”
“Great,” she said, flashing an obnoxiously-sized wedding ring in his direction. “Married a doctor, fantastic complexion. Huge salary. And you?”
“Yes. Married about three years ago. Yeah.”
“I’ve got three kids,” she smiled, taking out a sheaf of pictures so heavy they would undoubtedly squash an unprepared boy scouts division. “Yep,” she said, flicking ridiculously fast through a collection of banal shots of kids in various embarrassing poses including, oddly, one where they created a human pyramid. You?”
“No, no. We have tried but no luck yet. I’d love a child but…”
“And what do you do for a living?” she said, cutting across him.
“I’m between jobs at the mome…”
“I’ve opened my own coffee shop. It’s doing really well,” she emphasised. “Of course it’s uptown – not in this area,” she grimaced, eyeing the passersby with the sort of contempt held for common criminals.
“That’s my house over there,” he pointed. “It’s not a bad area here but the badgers have an attitude problem.”
She looked at him oddly.
“Do you remember the night we broke up?” she laughed. “What was that song that was out at the time? Do you remember the guys were singing it to you when they found out your name?”
“Yeah,” he nodded, glancing in hope that the bus was pulling up. “It was ‘Shapes That Go Together’.”
“That’s it!” she shouted. “Your name was the same as the band’s singer! Oh that was classic.”
“Classic,” he said with a false smile, driving his hands further in to his pockets.
“When I heard it at the beginning I thought ‘Ooh that’s a bit of fun!’ I liked the vocals and it had a cute melody. Bit of a 7/10 song I thought.”
“Very pleasant,” he agreed. “Brings back vivid memories of that night alright.”
“I heard a live version of the song about 2 years ago would you believe. Oh, my husband – who is quite a rich, successful doctor – is a big a-ha fan. Anyway, he had this great version live from Oslo. A few notes are off at the beginning and Morten’s vocals are a tad raw in parts but the electric guitar part in the middle is funky. Probably worth an extra point at 8/10 if this was some sort of strange scenario where one had to rate songs.”
“Oh,” she said, snorting. “That’s the night you proposed to me and I turned your down! Ahhhh, you were so cute! You’d bought that beautiful ring. I still have it by the way!”
“I never did get that back, did I?” Morten asked, knowing full well what the answer was.
“Ahh, well you were very good to give it to me. But you were like totally obsessed with me. Sure didn’t you walk 25 miles to hold me that night…”
“…just to find you had moved away.”
“That’s right!” she laughed. “I had moved in with my new boyfriend a month before but hadn’t told you. Ahhh, and you took it all in good spirits. But seriously, Morten, I mean I just couldn’t take those jokes about your name all the time. It was never going to work.”
“You know,” he said, looking at his watch, “I have to go.”
“It was great to see you,” she said, grabbing him in a hug. “You’re a lovely bloke. I’m sure you’ll find that job, get a better place to live and lose weight soon.”
“Thanks,” he muttered as he turned to cross the street back to his house.
Morten turned the key in his front door and was met by his expectant wife.
“No joy,” he said, vaulting the homeless waif in the hallway. “It was the a-ha curse again,” he said, tears filling his eyes as the memories flooded his brain.
“Never mind, darling,” she said, embracing him. “Maybe next week we’ll be able to get some groceries.
Come on,” she said, taking him by the hand. “Let’s see if our shapes go together, you and I.”
And with that, adult time began.