22 Jun 2024
Love Refugee: He’s Just Not NOT Into You
Culture Fiction Love Refugee

Love Refugee: He’s Just Not NOT Into You

Oh this is what I needed! A whole weekend with my lovely friend Kate, who I’ve known since we practiced snogging on Jason Donovan posters together.

You might remember Kate, she’s the one who nearly knocked me out with her bouquet at her wedding. She went a bit Bridezilla bonkers for a bit, but since the wedding she has settled down and reverted mostly to normal.

I say mostly, because she does have a terrible habit of ‘we-ing’. Not incontinence, you understand, but ‘we like this’ and ‘we do that’ and it conjures this image of her and Ollie as a giant two headed monster going through life expressing opinions in unison. Which doesn’t exactly sell marriage, to me at any rate. But what’s a little we between friends?

It was such fun to show her around the city, doing some touristy stuff (who knew how cool a museum about one ship could be?!) and showing her all my haunts. Not that I have all that many haunts, it turns out. If I’m honest, I made a couple up, pointing out funky little restaurants that I like the idea of going to regularly and getting to know all the staff, and perhaps inadvertently suggesting that this was already the case.

She was quite gratifyingly envious of my getting to live amongst all this beauty and water and funkiness, and it gave me a bit of a boost to be reminded of it myself. Between being caught up with work and mooning around with a bit of mild heartbreak, I haven’t truly been living my Stockholm life to its full lately, and I resolved to fix this forthwith!

On the Saturday, we rented paddleboards and paddled around Långholmen in the sunshine. Paddleboards, it turns out, are easier to balance on as you’d think, but just as tiring as they look. Even so, it was quite ridiculously idyllic, with the water shimmering in the sunshine and impossibly beautiful people waving to us from speedboats and having to stop to let a mummy duck with a gaggle of babies swim past us.  Once we’d stopped, we decided to sit on the paddleboards and sunbathe for a bit, and it was nothing short of glorious to bob gently on the water with the sun beating down on us.

“So what’s the latest adventures men-wise?” Kate asked suddenly.

I should have told her the funny story about climbing up the stairs that weren’t there. I could have told her about Andreas. Even the easily-frightened coffee shop guy. But no. I had to pour out the whole Gustaf saga.

Which took so long we started to get chilly and so paddled back to the rental place then stopped at a bar in the park where people were bowling for some beer and chips. And still, I droned on about Gustaf. When I finally petered out, Kate took my hand, squeezed it, and looked at me seriously.

“You always do this,” she said.

“What?” I spluttered. “I most certainly do not!”

“You do.” She nodded vigorously.

“Don’t.”

Presumably seeing that this could go on for a while, Kate changed tacks and reminded me of the time I went on one date with a ridiculously handsome Australian called Jason (not the aforementioned Donovan, that would be weird) and when he didn’t call afterwards I promptly fell deeply in love with him and mooned over him for about a year despite only seeing him twice during that time.

“I can’t help that I liked him,” I sniffed defensively. He was yummy, all scraggly surfer hair and a giant tattoo of some Aboriginal design that meant something he had explained to me on our date but I couldn’t remember now, all over his left bicep.

“But you didn’t,” Kate said gently.

“I remember distinctly, you rang me on your way home and said ‘he’s okay but he doesn’t really do it for me’ – it wasn’t until you didn’t hear from him that you decided he was The One.”

“No…” I insisted, though this was beginning to sound horribly familiar.

Had I really not been all that fussed on Jason? Surely not, he was The One That Got Away.

“I like the sound of Andreas the Hat Man.” Kate finished the last of her chips and nicked a few of mine.

I shrugged.

“He’s great,” I admitted, “he’s just not…”

“He’s just not, NOT in to you,” she finished. “Told you so.”

 

Featured Image: Micadew/Flickr (cropped)

Love Refugee is YLC’s fiction serial; a romantic comedy about expat and confirmed singleton Ellie, determined to avoid commitment at any cost…

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