Extract 4 is from what I imaginatively call ‘Section 1A’. It’s a character sketch of the main protagonist. I don’t know if I need character sketches.
He was too well known for his sarcasm and wit, and his cynical approach to life. Teaching was always a performance for him; he was good at it, but not outstanding. He thought that if he ever showed flair or promise it might put him in line for promotion, and he would never seek that. There is an art to under-achieving, and he worked hard at it.
Socially he was amiable enough. Never ‘one of the lads’, but happier in mixed company or with women colleagues.
‘You haven’t made a pass at me.’
‘Not just tonight. You never have, have you? Don’t you fancy me?’
‘Feeling insecure, are you? No, I just never saw the point – you being married and all. I don’t like complications.’
‘There wouldn’t have been complications, I’d have slapped you down, but you never even tried. That’s not normal.’
‘Maybe, but it’s the way I am. I can only cope with one relationship at a time.’
‘Who says you’re coping?’
‘Ooh!, nasty, and I thought we were friends.’
‘I suppose we are Bernard, I suppose we are, just that, just friends.’
Another dance, another might-have-been, what-if? moment.