The sun is setting over the sea, and the Mournes loom impressively against a shimmering sky of dusky pinks and soft orange hues. I lean back in my chair and look out over the railing of Maud’s waterfront café, sipping my second Americano and eyeing up the last mouthful of Belgian Chocolate ice cream in the tub I’ve been sharing with Jay. He pushes it towards me. Life is good.
“I could just sit here all night,” I murmur quietly, gazing dreamily at the sea. Everyone nods their agreement. “Let’s!” I add as an inspired afterthought.
Jay sits up as if he’s been stung, and stares at me with a degree of horror that I feel is disproportionate to my relatively inoffensive statement. “What did you just say?!” he demands, angrily. The magic of the moment is gone, and I look at him in some confusion. “Erm… I said I could just sit here all night… let’s!” I repeat, a little defensively.
Jay slumps back in his chair. “Oh,” he replies, sounding incredibly relieved, “I thought you said I could just sit here all night… ‘lit’. I was going to slap you.” Everyone gazes blankly at him. “Lit?” I ask finally. He shrugs. “Yeah, you know, like short for ‘literally’. I thought maybe it was some ridiculous slang term, using abbreviation. Maybe you picked it up from a dodgy 90s sitcom or something. I didn’t expect it from you. My instinct was to slap you. I’m sorry.”
I completely understand his pain. There is silence for a while. “This coffee is amazing,” remarks Red. “Lit!” chorus E1 and I, in glee. Jay’s regret at having spoken becomes more deeply etched upon his face as the evening progresses.
Alas, the day draws to a close, and we walk back along the seafront to Rio the Clio. Jay stumbles and bumps into me. “Ugh,” he groans, sleepily. “I’m just dead.” He pauses, and glances sideways at me. “Fig,” he adds, for clarification.
I’m going to miss my friends…