(Continued from For Old Time’s Sake)
The taxi rank comes into view. He turns to face me. ‘We can’t really go back to mine…’
Thin walls, apparently.
And mine really isn’t an option.
Thin walls, thin floor, thin bed…
Twenty minutes later, he’s kissing me goodnight at a bus stop somewhere south of the river. Ingeniously, we’d decided to take a taxi not to either of our homes, but to a ‘convenient’ midpoint. So here we are, at three in the morning, both faced with the prospect of a night bus.
‘So,’ he says, ‘just how thin is your bed?’
I laugh. ‘Thin.’
It might not even be a single. Ironic, huh? Again, we kiss.
‘You were joking when you asked that, right?’ I say.
‘Err… not entirely.’
I look down the street in the direction of home. ‘Oh come on.’ I take his arm and we start walking.
On the bus, I rest my head on his shoulder. ‘You’ll have to wait outside my room for a bit, Love Actually-style.’
I’ve just remembered, I’d put out clean sheets ready to change them when I got in. I just hadn’t reckoned on there being someone with me. Plus there are the bits of foliage and thread (remnants of my fancy dress costume) strewn across the bed, which will need to go somewhere. As for the rest of it, a quick tidy probably wouldn’t go amiss. The scene in Love Actually, where Laura Linney’s character does a quick whizz-round of her room always brings out my superior streak. I’ll never be like that, I think, watching it. She should be tidier.
‘Give me… five minutes.’
Which is probably exactly what she says, isn’t it, to Karl, the ‘enigmatic designer’.
In my defence, this situation shouldn’t arise. I mean, if you saw my room, you would say at once that it couldn’t, or rather, shouldn’t, accommodate a second human being. And I would be inclined to agree.
Ben appears in the doorway. I would say he ‘surveys’ the room, but that would be to misrepresent the facts.
‘I said the bed was thin!’ I say, smoothing the duvet.
He takes me in his arms, or tries to.
‘You take off your leaves,’ he says, ‘I’ll take off my boots.’
I laugh. ‘I bet that’s not a line you use often.’
(TO BE CONTINUED)