Status Update

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Harriet pulls on my sleeve. ‘Two years I’ve been single!’12-years

‘Twelve,’ I say.

‘No, two.’

‘No, I’ve been single for twelve years.’

She looks what can only be described as horrified. I laugh. ‘Could you get that look of your face?!’

But secretly I’m pleased. It’s a long time since anyone’s reacted to this statistic. Usually, if it comes up, you get a shrug, ‘So?’ or ‘My friend Emily has been single since university…’.

I don’t care about your friend Emily. And did you not hear me say TWELVE YEARS???!!

The number came quickly to mind. Just last week a guy I met online (Spareroom.co.uk – mixing it up) asked me straight out:

‘How long have you been single?’

Then I did have to think about it.

‘Twelve years.’

‘Out of choice?’

What does that even mean? Have I chosen not to have a meaningful, fulfilling relationship with a member of the opposite sex for over a decade?! Like hell I have! But, in the interests of furthering this particular relationship, I decide not to split hairs.

‘No,’ I send back. ‘Ha.’

CC Image courtesy of tamaralvarez on Flickr

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Beatrice comes back in. ‘You don’t have to leave.’ CC Image courtesy of kuchingboy on Flickr

‘No, it’s fine,’ I say, reaching for my bag. ‘It’s only… I don’t know what to do!’

‘How did you leave it?’

‘He said he’d be in touch today, to arrange where to meet.’

‘Does he know where you are?’

‘I said I had a thing in Old Street til, like, 8.’

‘And you haven’t heard from him all day?’

‘No.’

‘Hmm.’

 

I should have learnt the first time. Or the second time. Or last night, when he rang…

‘So,’ he says, ‘I’ve ordered food for two, just in case.’

I laugh. We’ve been here before. I say no, he asks why, and I say I’d rather meet for the first time ‘not at one of our flats’.

‘So… bye?’ I say.

‘No!’ He steers the conversation in a different direction.

We leave it that the following evening, after my friend’s birthday party, we’ll meet for a drink. Somewhere public, though he does joke that he’ll book the whole place out.

*

Beatrice, one year older and definitely wiser, tells me what only good friends do. That I’m worth more than this. That he knew I was busy til 8 and he still hasn’t been in touch to make a plan. That I shouldn’t contact him.

 

Wednesday night. I’ve just got into bed. My phone buzzes into life. I recognise the number, partly because of our call history, partly because of the number of times I’ve deleted it from my phone. I let it ring out.

When he calls again, I do a quick Google and install the relevant app.

CC Image courtesy of ant.photos on Flickr

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No Reply

What I’ve Learnt From Tinder

28 Days Later


In Development

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CC Image courtesy of "Stròlic Furlàn" - Davide Gabino on FlickrI’ve made so many bad decisions in the last 48 hours.

The first was telling Tom I didn’t think men and women could be friends. Which he took as a green light to kiss me.

The second was telling him not to get an Uber.

The third was swiping right on my one good job contact.

 

‘Did I mention I keep seeing my TV contact on Bumble and want to swipe right but think it would be a mistake?’

‘Anna, this is the third time you’ve mentioned it,’ Beatrice sends back. ‘We have agreed twice that it would be a mistake…’

 

Chris and I match and, a couple of days later, I meet a girlfriend for lunch. His name comes up in conversation.

‘I love Chris,’ she says. ‘He’s such a sweet guy.’

‘Yeah,’ I say, smiling. ‘I really liked him.’

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CC Image courtesy of dbeck03 on Flickr

I stop dead. ‘He’s not coming. The colleague – the one in the posts…’

My mother looks aghast. ‘Not Tobias?’

I can’t help smiling. One day I’ll accidentally call a colleague by their blog name.

‘No, the other one.’ I say his real name.

‘Aww.’

Fuck.

 

My brother is laying the table. ‘Are you going to eat with us?’

‘Don’t worry,’ I say, ‘I’ll eat later. I’m going to go… spaz out somewhere.’

 

My mother finds me in the sitting room, staring at the floor.

‘Do you want this candle?’ she says.

‘Oh… err it’s a new one. There’s not much point opening a new one for tonight. None of it matters anymore. I don’t mean that. I mean… it’s just – probably not worth it.’

‘OK.’

She’s about to go.

‘This isn’t about Tristan, by the way,’ I say quickly. ‘It wouldn’t matter who it was. It’s about numbers.’

‘I realise that.’

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CC Image courtesy of Juska Wendland on FlickrA couple of years ago, just after the car crash that was my 26th birthday party, my brother gave me some good advice.

Don’t invite someone you’re dating to a party because it will make it all about them.

When I drew up the guest list for my housewarming, Tom‘s name was conspicuously absent. Obviously. I’d said I didn’t just want something casual and he’d suggested ‘being friends’.

Colleagues featured heavily on the list. Then the usual round-up of friends, my brother, and men I’ve always had a vague crush on but nothing has ever happened with.

It was safe. The latter wouldn’t come; the former would treat it like after-work drinks.

Then Friday happened.

‘Can I invite Tom?’

Beatrice says no. I play the Friday card. Tom is the least of my worries.

I don’t see Tom everyday and feel a jolt in the pit of my stomach. I don’t don my headphones to drown out his voice when he comes over to talk to Ryan. I don’t look up mid-meeting, see him walk past, meet his eye, struck by the sadness of his expression, and spend all afternoon wondering what it means.

Tom doesn’t pass my desk on his way out…

‘Bye,’ I say, with a wave.

… and acknowledge my farewell but keep walking.

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