She asked me if I wanted a drink. I assumed she'd seen the hole in my shoe and spotted my nearly empty glass, and thought I was too poor to buy another one. Or was at least trying to steal my wallet. Never in all my days did I think she wanted to talk to me. You can't just walk up to people and talk to them, can you? Is that what people do? Just walk around talking to each other? Why would anyone want to talk to me anyway?

So we got to talking, just as awkardly as I predicted it would be. I could see she was trying her best though. After I finished the drink she'd bought me she asked if
I wanted another. She wasn't wrong about me being poor, so I accepted. So what if I meant another fifteen minutes of akward chatting? At these prices, £3.20 a pint, I was practically getting paid £12.80 an hour just to be uncomfortable. Finally a job that made use of all my skills.

As the bartender was pouring my drink my new employer asked me if she could see my heart. It really caught me offguard. I was a little bit tipsy, but still quite embarassed and hesistant. Maybe it was my upbringing, but I just didn't feel right about getting my heart out for a stranger in the middle of a pub. I didn't want her thinking I was scared though, even if I was, so I showed her.

Half a drink later she asked if she could touch it.

"I don't know" I said. Things were moving too fast. "Maybe later"

"No, it's ok, if you don't want to do it I won't ask again"

"Ok, ok, but do it quick."

We got back to talking about the new Harry Potter book which was due to come out later in the week, but a few minutes later she stopped talking, leant forward, put her hand on my knee and looked me right in the eyes.

"Can I hold it?"

Oh, Jesus. There was no turning back now. So there I was, sitting in this crowded pub watching a woman I barely knew holding my heart in her bare hands. A minute past and she didn't offer to give it back. She was cradling it like a baby and I could have sworn I saw her whispering something to it. I didn't want to be the guy who asked a girl to give his heart back in the pub just because it was making him nervous. I had to pretend I was comfortable with this. I did it all the time.

There was only so much I could take though. It had been half an hour and I needed it back. It was mine afterall. I said that I had to go the toilet, hoping she'd see that as the sign to hand it over, but she was barely listening to me now. She was so fixated on my heart. I got up and went to the restroom and must have spent five minutes looking at the mirror practicing what I was going to say when I went back.

"Look" I said "I've got to go. I've left the oven on" and pointed at my heart. At least I thought it was my heart. It was smaller than when I left, and I was sure it hadn't been covered in broken glass. Those hairs definitely weren't there. What were they anyway? Dog hairs? They were too thick to be human. I knew that much.

Greg, Cardiff.

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