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DATE NIGHT

He said, ‘Tell me about yourself.’ He said, ‘Tell me about you.’ He said, ‘Tell me everything. I’m interested.’ He said, ‘I want to know.’
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He said, ‘I want to know where you’re from.’ He said, ‘What you do.’ He said, ‘Do you like what you do?’ He said, ‘Who does.’ He said, ‘I’m lucky to be doing something I love.’ He said, ‘But you are who you are.’ He said, ‘Not what you do.’
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He said, ‘What do you do at the weekend?’ He said, ‘In your free time?’ He said, ‘Do you like music?’ ‘Films?’ ‘Art?’ ‘Books?’ He said, ‘Sport?’ ‘Gym?’ ‘Cycling?’ ‘Walks?’ He said, ‘Can you drive?’
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He said, ‘What are your ambitions?’ He said, ‘What are your goals?’ He said, ‘Hopes.’ He said, ‘Dreams.’ He said, ‘This is cheesy, I know, but what would your wish be if we saw a shooting star?
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He said, ‘What star sign are you?’ He said, ‘No, I don’t believe.’ He said, ‘It’s nonsense, of course, but isn’t that the fun?’ He said, ‘I’m a Libra. It means I’m easygoing and urbane. It means I’m an idealist.’ He said, ‘Of course I don’t believe.’
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He said, ‘I don’t believe how good this is.’ He said, ‘Have you tried it?’ He said, ‘Try it. Honestly. Take a sip.’ He said, ‘I told you.’ He said, ‘Didn’t I tell you it was good?’ He said, ‘One more before we leave.’ He said, ‘I’m going to get you drunk.’
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He said, ‘I’m not drunk.’ He said, ‘Look, I’m fine.’
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He said, ‘I’m fine doing whatever you want.’ He said, ‘I’d rather not.’ He said, ‘How about this place I know?’ He said, ‘Only if you’re sure.’
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He said, ‘I’m sure this is the way.’ He said, ‘This is definitely the way.’ He said, ‘Of course I know how to get there. I go there all the time.’ He said, ‘It’s down here.’ He said, ‘Trust me, it’s great.’
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He said ‘Let me show you.’ He said, ‘I’m very impressed.’ He said, ‘You’re a natural.’ He said, ‘Beginner’s luck.’ He said, ‘I saw that. Don’t think I didn’t see.’ He said, ‘That’s not really allowed.’ He said, ‘No-one likes a cheat.’
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He said, ‘I should tell you.’ He said, ‘I’ve got a family from before.’ He said, ‘We were young.’ He said, ‘I was young.’ He said, ‘Better to be open, yes? No secrets from the start.’ He said, ‘Two girls.’ He said, ‘My children are my life.’
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He said, ‘My work is my life.’ He said, ‘Ten, twelve, fourteen hour days.’ He said, ‘But that’s the industry.’ He said, ‘The way things are.’ He said, ‘The trick with work is to leave it there.’ He said, ‘Work hard. Live hard.’ He said, ‘That’s the life.’ He said, ‘Hold that thought. I have to take this call.’
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He said, ‘It’s so easy to talk with you.’ He said, ‘I feel like I have so much to say.’ He said, ‘I feel like we could talk like this for hours, and not let anything interrupt us, and not run out of things to say, just be caught in the moment of talk, our talk.’ He said, ‘Two people out talking through the night.’
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He said, ‘It really is a nice night.’ He said, ‘Look at the stars.’ He said, ‘Orion.’ ‘Draco.’ ‘Cygnus.’ He said, ‘Ursa Major.’ ‘Ursa Minor.’ He said, ‘The Plough is inside Ursa Major.’ He said, ‘Most people don’t know.’ He said, ‘Follow my finger. I’ll trace you out the shape.’
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He said, ‘You’re funny. I like the cut of your jib.’ He said, ‘The cut of your dress.’ He said, ‘Do you mind if I put my hand here?’ He said, ‘That’s my hand.’
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He said, ‘That’s me and my girls on holiday last summer.’ He said, ‘My youngest is twelve.’ He said, ‘Twelve.’ He said, ‘Fifteen.’ He said, ‘It’s going to be so much better for them when the divorce finally comes through.’
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He said, ‘You know how sometimes you think you’re through with relationships and love?’ He said, ‘Okay. But you can understand the thought?’ He said, ‘Really? You’ve never felt that?’ He said, ‘Well, I’ll tell you how it feels.’ He said, ‘It’s this feeling inside, this kind of slow closing down, or like a clearing away.’ He said, ‘You look in the mirror and don’t see yourself in yourself.’ He said, ‘You see someone else.’
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He said, ‘I like that scarf. It brings out the colour of your eyes.’ He said, ‘Nice coat.’ ‘Nice shoes.’ ‘Nice dress.’ He said, ‘It shows off your figure.’ He said, ‘The way it clings.’
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He said, ‘You check your phone a lot.’ He said, ‘I have to ask.’ He said, ‘Are you dating other men?’ He said, ‘I don’t mind.’ He said, ‘It’s just I’d prefer to know.’ He said, ‘I don’t mind. I’d just like to know where I stand.’
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He said, ‘Where do you stand on anal sex?’
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He said, ‘I thought that was the right way.’ He said, ‘Honestly, I swear.’ He said, ‘I know where it is. I just don’t know where I am.’ He said, ‘It must have moved.’
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He said, ‘Do you mind if we move table?’ He said, ‘The waiter keeps bumping me when he walks past.’ He said, ‘This is better.’ He said, ‘Except the view.’ He said, ‘Well, maybe if we move the table a little this way.’ He said, ‘How’s that?’ He said, ‘Maybe back a bit more.’ He said, ‘A bit more.’ He said, ‘I want to get this right.’ He said, ‘I’m happy if you’re happy.’ He said, ‘How about some wine?’
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He said, ‘How’s the soup?’ ‘The fish?’ He said, ‘The wine is very good.’ He said, ‘I’ll order another bottle.’ He said, ‘I’m not really a sweet man.’ He said, ‘I’ll have the cheese.’ He said, ‘I’ll give you a tour.’ He said, ‘Cheshire.’ ‘Wiltshire.’ ‘Wensleydale.’ He said, ‘Double Gloucester.’ He said, ‘Cornish blue.’ He said, ‘Stilton.’ He said, ‘Do you want my grapes?’
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He said, ‘You sound bitter.’ He said, ‘That’s not what I meant.’ He said, ‘It is what I meant, but it didn’t sound right.’ He said, ‘I didn’t mean anything by it.’ He said, ‘It was a stray observation.’ He said, ‘Okay. Very stray.’ He said, ‘Where’s that waiter gone?’
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He said, ‘At first sight?’ He said, ‘Sure. Why not?’ He said, ‘I’ve seen it happen.’ He said, ‘Not to me. But to others.’ He said, ‘Look around and you’ll see it.’ He said, ‘It happens all the time.’
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He said, ‘You’re not how I imagined.’ He said, ‘I’m not sure what I imagined. But you’re not it.’ He said, ‘Better.’ He said, ‘Of course.’ He said, ‘How about me?’ He said, ‘How am I measuring up?’
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He said, ‘Define “loving”.’ He said, ‘Define “love”.’ He said, ‘Isn’t this what we’re all trying to do?’ He said, ‘Isn’t this what all relationships are?’ He said, ‘Interpretations of the word?’ He said, ‘There isn’t a scale of what’s right or what’s correct, or the one true way to do things, the one true way to feel.’ He said, ‘Of course you’re entitled to your opinion.’ He said, ‘That’s all I’m saying.’
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He said, ‘It’s been the same for thousands of years.’ He said, ‘Hundreds of thousands of years.’ He said, ‘Exactly the same.’ He said, ‘The old in and out.’ He said, ‘Men and women haven’t changed.’ He said, ‘Our bodies haven’t changed.’ He said, ‘I’ve thought about this a lot.’ He said, ‘Show me the difference between me and a caveman, and I’ll show you the difference between a rock and a stone.’
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He said, ‘It’s obvious.’ He said, ‘It’s hard fact.’ He said, ‘I know we’ve only just met but I think we’re falling in love.” He said, ‘It’s powerful.’ ‘It’s serious.’ ‘It’s clear.’ He said, ‘That’s what this is.’
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He said, ‘It was rhetorical.’ He said, “I wasn’t trying to freak you out.’ He said, ‘Rhetorical means I didn’t mean it.’ He said, ‘It means you don’t have to respond.’ He said, ‘So don’t respond.’ He said, ‘How am I supposed to know you know that when you continue to act like you don’t?’ He said, ‘So don’t respond.’
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He said, ‘You sound bitter.’ He said, ‘When did I say that?’ He said, ‘I didn’t.’ He said, ‘When?’ He said, ‘It’s like you’re looking for something and you don’t know what.’
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He said, ‘Have you seen her?’ He said, ‘The woman I was with.’ He said, ‘She went to the bathroom and—‘ He said, ‘You’re right.’ He said, ‘She probably had to take a call.’ He said, ‘She’s probably waiting for me outside.’
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He said ‘Have you seen a women just come out here?’ He said, ‘Yes, alone.’ He said, ‘I don’t know where she went.’ He said, ‘I wouldn’t be asking you.’
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He said, ‘Hey, you two lovebirds.’ He said, ‘I’m talking to you.’ He said, ‘Have you seen a woman—‘ He said, ‘No, I won’t just “leave you alone”.’ He said, ‘What are you even looking at?’ He said, ‘You don’t know what you’re on about.’ He said, ‘That’s Ursa Major.’ He said, ‘Don’t call it the fucking Plough.’ He said, ‘It hasn’t got anything to do with me, but you should be told when you’re wrong.’ He said, ‘Don’t talk to me like that.’ He said, ‘Shut your mouth.’ He said, ‘Look what you made me do.’ He said, ‘You deserved that.’ He said, ‘You had that coming.’
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He said, ‘Where did you guys come from?’ He said, ‘I’m only taking a piss.’ He said, ‘What’s it to you?’ He said, ‘Can’t you see I’m looking for my date?’ He said, ‘I’ll do nothing of the sort.’ He said, ‘I know my taxes.’ He said, ‘I pay my rights.’ He said, ‘I’m a father.’ He said, ‘I’m on a date.’ He said, ‘Well, it’s a funny story, actually.’ He said, ‘Where are we going?’
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He said, ‘Where are we going?’ He said, ‘Why are we going there?’ He said, ‘This seems a bit.’ He said, ‘Un.’ He said, ‘Un.’ He said, ‘Unnecessary. Thank you.’ He said, ‘There’s been a mix-up.’ He said, ‘You’ve got the wrong man.’ He said, ‘This is a case of mistaken identity.’ He said, ‘Why am I here?’
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He said, ‘What are you here for?’ He said, ‘We all make mistakes.’ He said, ‘I punched a guy and tried to piss on his leg.’ He said, ‘We all make mistakes.’ He said, ‘It was embarrassing.’ He said, ‘I didn’t even need to go.’
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He said, ‘When’s it my turn?’ He said, ‘How long am I going to have to wait?’ He said, ‘Don’t take my shoelaces.’ He said, ‘Don’t take my coat.’ He said, ‘I’ve got nothing on me. Nothing dangerous. Nothing sharp.’
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He said, ‘There’s nothing I haven’t told you.’ He said, ‘Nothing you don’t know.’ He said, ‘It was a misunderstanding.’ He said, ‘Crossed wires.’ He said, “Different page.’ ‘Different hymn sheet.’ He said, ‘Wrong end of the stick.’ He said, ‘Well, the right end, I suppose. But you’re not listening.’ He said, ‘What don’t you understand?’ He said, ‘It happened exactly as I’m telling you, as I told your colleagues at the time.’
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He said, ‘What time is it?’ He said, ‘You’re joking. What a joke.’ He said, ‘This is a joke.’ He said, ‘Why am I still here?’ He said, ‘Isn’t there a maximum you’re allowed to do this before you have to let me go?’
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He said, ‘Go via the park.’ He said, ‘It’s quicker that way.’ He said, ‘Take the next left.’ He said, ‘Here is fine.’ He said, ‘How much do I owe you?’ He said, ‘How much?’ He said, ‘Daylight robbery.’ He said, ‘You should be ashamed.’ He said, ‘What’s the world coming to?’ He said, ‘Same to you.’
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He said, ‘It’s the same thing as always.’ He said, ‘Get in and go to bed.’ He said, ‘It’d be helpful if you found the right key.’ He said, ‘You are a stupid man.’ He said, ‘She was nice.’ He said, ‘Was she nice?’ He said, ‘We got on.’ He said, ‘But then she left.’ He said, ‘Maybe she had reason to.’ He said, ‘What did you expect?’ He said, ‘She was nice.’ He said, ‘Put the key in the lock.’ He said, ‘I really felt that we got on.’ He said, ‘Climb the stairs to bed.’ He said, ‘There was a connection.’ He said, ‘Is that true?’ He said, ‘It doesn’t matter.’
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He said, ‘What matters is to live.’ He said, ‘To live and to learn.’ He said, ‘That’s the truth.’



ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTOR


is a writer living in London.