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Same Time Tomorrow

by The Scholar

Part 26: The Blue and the Green

"That's great news," said Tom, taking a mouthful of liquid from his glass and swallowing before taking a second.

Carl practically finished his own drink in one go and then placed the glass on the table, wiped the back of his hand across his mouth and then offered a reply.

"No, it isn't!"

"What do you mean, 'no it isn't'?"

"Exactly what I said."

"Okay, well, maybe you'll have to explain that to me a little better, because, so far as I have been able to make out all these months, you've wanted nothing else but to be able to meet him."

"I do want to meet him, I want more than anything to meet him, but this is crazy."

"Why is it?"

"Because he's not coming over to England for a visit, he's coming to work and that means he'll be living here."


"So, that means he won't be going back after a fun-filled sunny fortnight at Blackpool."

"When did that last happen?"


"That Blackpool had any sun for a fortnight!"

"Don't be flippant, this is serious."


Tom took a long drink from his glass and studied his friend with disbelieving curiosity. All he had heard him talk about was meeting Allan, being with Allan, maybe even telling his parents about Allan and now that Allan was actually coming to their country he couldn't really understand Carl's sudden panic, or change of mind.

"Have you told him?"

"Told him what?" asked Carl.

"How you feel."

"What do you mean?"

"Well, seems to me that you maybe don't love him as much as you thought you did."

"Rubbish, of course I do, it's just not that simple is all."

"Seems simple enough to me. I feel quite green with envy that you're going to finally meet someone you love."

"You don't understand."

"No, you're right, I don't, but you're not making it easy to understand. Explain it to me, help me out here, because I can't get my head around these sudden changes and if you haven't told him, maybe you should."

"How can I?"

"Quite easily. How about next time you two talk you say, 'sorry, but I don't think you coming here is a good idea'."

"Yeah, like that's down to me. He ain't coming for a visit, I keep telling you that, he's coming to work here."

"I don't see what difference it makes."

"What if he doesn't like me?"

"What do you mean?"

"I mean, what if he don't like me. It's possible."

"Anything is possible since they put a man on the moon, but I don't know why he wouldn't."

"Is different to talking to him on the 'phone, or chatting with him online, he'd be here, in the flesh, as it were. Really here, life-size, alive and breathing."

"I sure hope he is."

"But what if he don't like me?"

"Then he'll probably say he don't like you and go about his business as though you never existed and you'll get on with your miserable little existence in much the same way."


"You're welcome."

Tom stood up and headed for the bar.

"You know," he said, turning back to face Carl. "There is always the possibility that in his home in Yankee-land that he's saying the exact same thing."

Carl didn't respond as Tom continued his journey to the bar in search of two fresh pints of beer.

The news that Allan was to come to England had been out of the blue, not least for Allan, who had expected to be moved elsewhere within the United States as the company he worked for expanded. He knew that they had taken over a company in Britain, but he hadn't even given it much thought and so to be suddenly told that he was being offered the chance to go there and iron out the teething problems was quite a shock.

"Naturally, this won't happen straight away," he had told Carl online that evening, "I mean, there's a little bit of paperwork involved and stuff, but I think within a month I will be on my way."

Carl had reacted to the news with disbelief and then enthusiasm and that had made Allan smile.

"I can't believe it, looks like you and I are finally gonna meet each other, won't that be something?" Allan had said.

That's when it had hit Carl. He was going to meet Allan. After months of talking on the Internet and more recently on the telephone, he was finally going to get the opportunity of meeting the American with whom he had fallen in love and then the panic set in. Talking online or on the telephone was not the same as talking in person. Despite having a photograph, Allan knew very little about him and what if, when they met, he didn't like what he saw? Would he turn around and head back to the States, or would he remain in England and forget he ever existed, do his job and then go home?

Carl was scared. He had never felt so scared. He knew that Tom couldn't fully appreciate what was going through his mind; he couldn't say with any real honesty that he understood it himself.

And then perhaps Tom was right, maybe he should say something to Allan, maybe Allan was feeling the same. Why could nothing ever be simple? Why did this have to be such a big deal? He should be happy, he should be walking ten feet off the ground, he should be yelling from the rooftops the fact that he was going to finally get the chance to meet the guy he loved, but instead he was sitting in a pub with his best-friend bemoaning the fact that the world, as he knew it, was about to come to an end. How pathetic.

Tom placed two drinks on the table and Carl looked at his friend as he returned to his seat.

"I'm sorry, I'm being such an arsewipe."

"That's okay, when you've known you as long as I have, you'll get used to it," Tom grinned.

Carl managed a smile and took a long drink from the glass Tom had placed in front of him.

"Oh, while I remember," said Tom, reaching into his pocket and extracting two brightly coloured packages, "better have these."

"What are they?"

"Happy birthday, they're presents."

"Oh, thanks. Damn, I'd almost forgotten it was my birthday."

"How can you forget your birthday, even I remembered it and I didn't even know you on your last one."

"That's true, but you didn't have to buy me a birthday present."

"Hey, it's your twenty-first, besides, they're nothing exciting."

"Can I open them?"

"Well, if you don't you won't find out what they are?"

Carl laughed. Tom smiled.

Tearing open the first package, Carl's laughter grew louder, as he held up a pair of sports socks, one blue the other green.

"I can guess what's in the other package," he said, tearing it open to find that he was right, a second pair of socks, again one blue and one green.

"Well, what can I say, I'm nothing if not original."

"Thanks, Tom, not just for the socks, but for putting up with me."

"Hey, it's what friends are for, right?"

"Even so, I know I'm irrational at times and you're right, I need to talk to Allan, tell him how I feel, maybe he is feeling the same way."

"Well, not right now, we have more celebrating to do and I for one aim to get completely wrecked."

"I'll second that," laughed Carl, as he raised his glass. "Happy birthday to me."

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