Writer’s Block

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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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28 Days Later


The Worst of Times

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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.

CC Image courtesy of Vickilgh's Pictures on Flickr

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28 Days Later

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CC Image courtesy of brian glanz on FllickrIn the time that elapses between the journalist asking me out and his forgetting I exist, I turn 28.

The evening of my birthday, my brother rings. I end up telling him about my latest Tinder disappointment.

‘Tinder’s quite a casual way of meeting people,’ he says, ‘so this kind of behaviour is to be expected.’

I remind him that I’ve been on Tinder for more than two years and it’s only in the last few months that this has started happening: a guy asks me out, I suggest a date and then… nothing. The Man from Hampstead, The Man of Phone Sex Fame (admittedly that one was a non-starter), The Man from Euston Station (nothing to do with Tinder but a convenient statistic), the journalist – it’s getting very boring.

And now Viable Prospect. He proclaims meeting up to be a ‘grand idea’ and says he’ll let me know when he’s back in town at the end of the week. Four weeks of radio silence later, I unfriend him, delete his number and resolve, finally, to move on.

CC Image courtesy of 612gr on Flickr

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Blue Soup

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CC Image courtesy of irucko on Flickr

I see it as a sign of maturity that this year I haven’t invited any romantic prospects to my birthday.

And I see it as a sign of immaturity that I felt the need to share this information with all my close friends.

‘There’s still time,’ Lucy says, in response to my triumphant text.

Perky is more specific. ‘Why don’t you invite that guy?’

I’ve just finished telling her about The Man In Turquoise.

Only Beatrice affirms my decision.

‘Good,’ she says.

‘Yes,’ I say, while wondering how on earth I’m going to find the motivation to make canapés for twenty strictly platonic friends.

Homemade Gorgonzola and Caramelized Onion Canapé

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Old News

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I’m older, wiser, and back on Tinder.CC Image courtesy of damn_unique on Flickr

Scrap that.

I’m older and back on Tinder.  (For full details of the birthday itself, click here.)

And in the spirit of not wasting any time (did I mention that I’m getting older?), within a week I have a date lined up.  Yes, all it took was a week.  One week of swiping and sighing and googling ‘DTF?’.  If you don’t know, don’t ask: ignorance in this instance is most certainly bliss.  Which incidentally is the theme of my date’s tagline: imagination brings bliss at no cost.

It also, but I won’t be pointing this out in the course of the date, brings despair, disappointment, and anguish.  I should know: too much of my love life takes place in the realm of my imagination.

 

Back in the real world, I’m running late.

‘I thought you were leaving?’

‘Yes,’ I say, through gritted teeth.  ‘But I have to finish this.’

 

‘Sorry to keep you waiting!  I don’t want to start with a work rant.’

‘Go for it – get it out the way!’

‘No no, I’m not going to.’

‘Ah go for it.’

‘OK…’

He’s tall, good-looking, and I like his style.  And, more to the point, he looks nice, which might be why I ‘liked’ him in the first place.  It might also be why I’m unwilling to kick things off with a barrage of negativity.

‘What can I get you to drink?’ he says, the rant being over.

‘Oh, thank you, ermmm… is that a caipirinha?’

 

I close the front door behind me, drop my bag on a chair, and go through to the kitchen.  Ten minutes later I emerge, plate in hand.  My phone is lying on the table, next to my computer, which I power up.  Five minutes of scouring Flickr for a ‘smiley face balloon’ later – the things I do for my readers – by which time my supper is stone cold, my phone buzzes into life.

‘I had a good time this evening.  Maybe grab a bite to eat next time if you fancied it? X’

I smile.  There was something refreshingly down to earth about the guy.  I felt like I knew where I was with him, which was never EVER the case with FFS.  So I reply, sooner than I normally would, saying… I’d like that.

CC Image courtesy of Lettuce. on Flickr

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