Title: Boy Meets Girl

Author: Linda Burgess

In: Sport 13 Spring 1994

Publication details: Fergus Barrowman, October 1994

Part of: Sport

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Sport 13 Spring 1994

Now That Boy Has Found Girl Again

Now That Boy Has Found Girl Again

He can’t sleep. Mary goes to bed every night, 9.45 on the dot. He roams about the house. He listens to music, almost anything brings the pain of unbearable longing to his throat. Mozart. Johnny Denver. Whitney Houston. Everyone sings of love, and he is dying of it, for it. At 12 o’clock at night he watches old movies. The black and white screen bursts with lovers separated forever as the train pulls from the station. Close up, Humphrey Bogart weeps. And so does David. He knows at last how love feels. He buys the video of La Traviata. Verdi and Zeffirelli have it right in one. He watches it, watches it, watches it.

Mary has noticed that they’ve stopped spending six minutes together every Saturday morning. He’s almost constantly aroused but to climb into bed beside Mary—which he does increasingly less often, his nights being spent in vicarious media passion—to climb into bed beside Mary is to quell his desire immediately. He cannot make love to her. He can’t, he won’t, he can’t. She asks him why not. So he tells her. He also tells her of his dream. When the Syrian dies, which will be soon, he says, he will ask Megan to come home. He will not leave her and their daughter, he says grandly. Megan will have a house in town, he says, and I will visit her. There is no reason for anyone to be hurt. There is no reason for anyone to be unhappy. Then a brilliant idea occurs to him. She could live with my mother, he says. She is in that big house all alone. She has always loved Megan like a daughter, he says. He laughs quietly as he tells her that his mother had always hoped they would marry. He is surprised that she is not laughing with him. He has not been unkind, he is not going to leave her. All that he has been is honest. But then Mary has always been hard to please.