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#KidologyQuotes 85:The embarrassing silence which followed was of geological length...

Updated: Dec 16, 2023

Xian sighed theatrically and closed her eyes to emphasise the extent to which she was put out by such niceties, considering small talk decadent, but finally shrugged: her belly bumped him backwards.

“It’s... different, I suppose.”

Jim's smile froze to his face.

“Different? Different to what?”

“Hah!” Her laugh was a sharp little bark that made Jim scared, “I was at Sao Paolo, Buenos Aires, then Berkeley. It’s different to all of those seats of learning. In so many ways.”

Jim smiled politely through Cupasoup-gritted teeth.

“Oh? 'Ow so?”

He held his breath: why had he chosen that moment of all moments to drop an H? Had it sounded like "Ah so"?

Xian rolled her eyes up to the grimy strip light dotted with dead flies; over to the demoralising kitchen unit, the cracked mugs and hot-water warnings; to old men in tweed doing crosswords, and Mad Mary the sociology lecturer knitting her cat another dress. Even Laurent, the most normal of the lecturers, was absent, on some fact-finding mission to Tangier.

“I knew Marquez intimately, dined with Fuentes; Borges dictated his thoughts to me when unable to write any longer; I loved Bolano – and occasionally Bolano loved me back. And now here I am. Here,” She paused, her stare giving Jim the benefit of a lifetime’s oppression, “with you.”


The embarrassing silence which followed was of geological length and so appalling Jim thought his face would fall off.


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