Short: Observer Bias

[This is the seventh short in the Order of Polly. To start from the beginning, you can click this! If you want to read more about the series, you can do here!]

“Well, ehhh, say what you will and knowing you, you will, but the sex is fantastic.” Lucy raised her glass in the air, waiting for Polly to hit it in their mock toast. She did and added a swift response.
“I’m sure he’s useful for other things as well.” They both took a big mouthful.
“Oh, well probably. I hadn’t noticed.” Lucy slammed the glass down on the table, a little bit harder than she intended. Of course, by this point the two of them had had several glasses in them. Lucy chirped up again. “Did I mention the sex? Hunny, the sex!” She started laughing, a little manically. Polly squinted, prompting Lucy to stop, before they both started laughing. It was all too apparent to the people who weren’t drunk, namely everyone apart from Polly and Lucy, that they were being rather loud.
“So, Andy said three words to me after dinner last night.” Polly assumed a serious look for a moment.
“Oh…shit babe, right, well, yeah.” Lucy put down her glass and just let her mouth hang open.
“Yeah.” Polly paused, while Lucy tightened her gaze, “Ben and Jerry’s.” There was a couple of seconds of silence before they burst into even more laughter.

It had been five weeks since Polly met Andy. In that time, she explained to the rest of her housemates how she’d tried to take their advice, but being as stubborn as she was, she didn’t want to show it. Instead, she spent a lot of time hanging out with Lucy and just pushing herself in a variety of different ways. Going out more, talking to more people. Generally having a bit more fun. The simple fact was, writing everything out had helped her more than she realised. Even if her stories lacked substance and her characters were generally flat and wooden, the realisation that even they were having more fun than her struck her harshly late one night. Well, it was time to make some changes. Cue her first meeting with Lucy.

The following evening she sat alone in her room, staring at her laptop screen. She was writing the final part of her poorly written series of short stories, undecided about what to do. Have a happy ending and it becomes silly and pointless. Have a depressing ending and it doesn’t really help her mood, although that would be hard with everything good that has happened lately. It then dawned on her that while there were some annoying things going on her world was generally okay. It wasn’t perfect, but so long as there was nothing that would stop her plans of ruling the world, which was a few years down the line anyhow, it wasn’t too much of a concern.

While slowly tapping out a sentence her phone buzzed from a text and made its way to the floor. Leaning to pick it up, Polly saw that piece of paper sandwiched between a couple of unused writing pads. She drew it out and unfolded it, despite knowing exactly what was on it. It was something she and John had written, those many moons ago. It was that weird reason for keeping anything like that, to remind and encourage you, delivering that mixing dosage of sourness and optimism. She read over it, yet again, but this time laughing at how pathetically cringe-worthy it all was. Looking at her phone, Andrew graced the pop-up box. She read through the message, saying nothing in particular, then put the phone to rest on the desk again. Making her way to the bin, she tore up the piece of paper and in an act of absolute rebellion for her, tip-toed downstairs, grabbed a match from a cupboard in the kitchen, tip-toed back up. Striking the match, she dropped it into the bin with a big smile on her face.

Of course acts of rebellion have consequences. In this extremely minor case, Polly was taken by surprise as to how little the paper was burning. Then again, three seconds later, it turned into something quite ferocious. On seeing the bin now entirely in flames, Polly could only muster a rather loud “Ooooooooooooooooh, fuck!” before realising she had to jump into action. Another dash downstairs for the oven gloves, then back up to take the engulfed bin into the bathroom. Placing it into the shower cubicle, she turned on the shower and took a sigh of relief. After the flames had died down, she turned it off and stood there, looking curiously at the mould of plastic in the cubicle. Polly then turned around after hearing Nola make a tired, obvious cough.

A brief stare-down later, the two went downstairs to the kitchen at Nola’s request. Polly sat down at the table while Nola grabbed a glass of water, queuing Polly’s quip “That would’ve been useful a few minutes ago!” receiving only a death stare in return. Polly opened her mouth to speak again, but closed it. She grasped her hands closely together, resting them between her crossed-over legs. Nola gulped down her glass, facing away from the table, rinsed the glass in the sink and then turned to face Polly, leaning back onto the work surface.
“The problem you have, Polly, is that you don’t give a shit about anyone else.” Polly opened her mouth again, letting out a little gasp. “Sorry, do you have something to say?” Polly lowered her head and shook it, slowly. “I wouldn’t care even if did. So anyhow, I’m sorry about this, but someone’s going to have to be the bitch that calls you out. It might as well be me considering no-one else is in.” As soon as Nola had finished, Polly lifted her head and spoke up.
“I’m really sorry, I didn’t realise anyone else w-“ and was quickly cut off.
“No, you didn’t. Because you live in ‘Me’ land. What was the last thing you talked to me about? C’mon? Yeah, a guy. And before that? Some random shit. And before that?” Nola’s voice was on full offensive volume, whilst Polly sat there quietly observing the decorations on the table cloth. “When was the last time you asked me anything? Oh. No. Wait! I obviously have a boyfriend because Sophie and Emmie do and I must’ve been at his now just like they are. Fuck off, Polly. For the last two years we’ve all indulged your whimsies. Have you actually looked back and thought about how much had happened in it? You met some wonderful people, had some crazy fun times and had experiences that so few other people will have. Yet complain, complain, complain. That’s all you fucking do.” Nola stopped for a moment, hearing a quiet sobbing before taking a moment out for herself. She regained her own composure and finished up. “I know, it’s harsh to hear, but this fantasy you live in has to stop. It’s not the friend I love after all the time we’ve spent together. Did you stop to think about that? All the normal things you do? Where you just hang out with your mates and have a cool time?” By this point, Nola was speaking over the volume of Polly’s crying. Looking at the clock, she went back upstairs to her bed, putting her hand on Polly’s shoulder as she walked past.

[To the next entry: Lag Time]


About thejgman

I am a person and do persony things! Favourite things include Mars bars, video games and, surprisingly, writing. I'm a graduate in Cultural Studies, with a focus towards all things digital and technological.
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