The Social Script Of Love | Kate McIntosh


The Social Script Of Love

 By Kate McIntosh

For the What We Talk About When We Talk About Love Award


I’ve seen you lots of times at the shops. I go there to buy my yoghurt and you work at the till. You usually smile at me so I know that you like me and you are not angry with me. If you were angry with me you would frown with your eyebrows. I also know your name – ‘Rachel’ – because it is on your nametag. So this means you are definitely not a stranger. Strangers are people you haven’t met before. You should not touch a stranger. A stranger should not touch you.

Three weeks ago when I came through your checkout on Monday I told you about how I had gotten a new M*A*S*H boxset and you said Alright! and gave me a high-five, so I knew that we were friends. Friends is when you know about the other person. You can give them high-fives, shake their hands, or give them a hug if you ask them.

Two weeks ago you helped me when I couldn’t find my yoghurt. You came all the way down to the back of the shop and reminded me to take deep breaths while you went into the back of the storeroom and found it and said Sorry, they were rotating the stock and didn’t put this brand out yet. Then I realised that you must love me, and I love you too. Love is when people care about you and help you. When you love someone you can kiss them and hug them and hold their hand.

One week ago when I came through your till you said See you later! so I waited for you out the front. I didn’t know how long to wait because you didn’t say. I waited until past midnight. The shop closed and all the lights went out so I ate my yoghurt in the dark but you didn’t come out. I thought maybe I got the Later part wrong so I came back the next morning but they said you didn’t work that day.

So I came back the next day, and the next. Because you are my girlfriend and we have to spend time together. When someone is a girlfriend it means that you spend a lot of time alone together. You can hold hands, hug, kiss and do sex.

This morning when I came to your store a policeman came up to me and told me to get into the car. Policemen, ambulancemen, and firemen are strangers but they are there to help you. You should listen to policemen, ambulancemen, and firemen.

We went to the police station. A woman that I had not seen before took my hand and pressed it into the ink pad. She was not a policeman because she did not have a uniform on. I did not know her name. A stranger should not touch you. The ink made my fingertips look funny and they didn’t look like my fingers anymore and I got upset. Other strangers came and touched my arms and my legs and pressed me down onto the ground. It was so loud with everyone shouting and I tried to put my hands over my ears but I couldn’t – the handcuffs were cold and they felt like razors and it made all my hair stand up and everything was loud so I made my own noise to block it out.

Now I am sitting inside the police station. I have my own room. The policeman says someone needs to come and get me. When somebody comes to help me they can let me out. Love is when people care about you and help you. I am waiting for you to come and get me.

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