By Lorraine Hull
David was hungry, disillusioned, and bored. He had spent almost four hours scrolling fluorescent protein gene articles. His paper on genetically modified organisms was due in next week.
He had written 423 words and was dissatisfied with every single one of them. David hated GloFish; their exotic names belied how mind-numbingly ordinary they are. How the hell could something called a Galactic Purple Glo-Rainbow Shark be so bloody boring?
He opened the Tinder app on his phone.
It had been four months since Sam had left him; it was too soon for another relationship but he craved company, conversation and the warmth of skin.
Easier said than done. He may not be looking for long-term, but he still needed to see and feel something: an attraction, a connection.
Profiles without a human face were swiftly sent left. Too-good-to-be-true face? Left… along with the angry, sad, vacant or overexcited faces. Those with a plethora of piercings or a tattooed neck were eventually dispatched in the same direction, but not before he had appreciated the art.
It was almost an hour before David swiped right. Within 90 seconds he had a match. He sent a casual but considered message and hoped for a response with words – rather than emojis or gifs – preferably spelt correctly with apposite punctuation.
Was he setting the bar too high? Possibly. Going by past experience: probably! Maybe he should have set his distance greater than a mile?
His phone vibrated; he checked the screen: thirteen words, an apostrophe, a semi-colon and a question mark – “I’m finishing work at five; do you fancy a drink in the Ship?”
Chris worked in the Cunard Building and suggested it was just as easy to meet outside the library and walk down together.
Two bowls of scouse, and four pints later they had talked, laughed and felt more alive than either could remember in years.
David finished his Masters.
His GMO paper was published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences. A major American bioengineering company offered him a six-figure salary. He turned it down. It sounded too good to be true. Besides which, he liked his job at the library and his research proposal had been accepted: ‘Identification of the Genomic Constitution of Ovis x Musa Using Molecular Cytogenetics’.
And he had Chris. It was exactly three years since their first date. It had become an anniversary tradition to go the Ship for scouse and beer and they always started their celebrations at the Superlambanana.
Did the giant yellow sculpture represent a mutilated mutant or a charming chimera? An eyesore or an icon? Everyone had an opinion. Most of her ochre fleece had been scraped or tagged with graffiti, messages, and obscenities; a silent scarred storyteller but, like the city she stood in, she bore her blemishes and told her stories with pride and dignity.
David found a four-inch square of yellow tail, took the Sharpie from his pocket and wrote: “Christopher, will you marry me?”
Lorraine Hull is an award-winning independent celebrant, based in Liverpool. Superlambanana is a bright yellow sculpture designed by New York City-based Japanese artist Taro Chiezo. It is 5.2 metres tall and weighs almost 8 tonnes; it currently stands outside the Avril Robarts LJMU library, in Liverpool.