No Reply

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CC Image courtesy of Iain Farrell on FlickrBeatrice and I laugh.

I’ve just told her that, with Tom proving to be flakier than dandruff, Viable Prospect is starting to look like a ‘safe haven’.

‘I’m laughing,’ she says, ‘but we both know…’

‘I know.’

‘What did he say?’

‘He said, “Anna. How goes? Sor–”.’

‘Oh for fuck’s sake,’ she cuts in. ‘”How goes?” Argh. You know anything the guy says is gonna make me angry.’

In contrast to how I felt when his message came through.

I was sitting at the kitchen table, trying not to look at my phone, hoping for a message from Tom (yes, that’s a legitimate activity for a Tuesday night). It didn’t occur to me that the message from an unknown number might be VP resurfacing. It even took me a moment to recognise his photo.

‘And I felt… nothing.’

‘That’s a really big thing,’ Beatrice says.

‘What do you mean?’

‘Well, think how far you’ve come. I mean, would you have reacted like that two months ago?’

‘I suppose not.’

I wouldn’t have contemplated not replying either.

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In Search of Perfection

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‘I’m giving you a cheque,’ my grandmother says, folding the slip of paper, ‘but if there’s anything else you want…’

‘Like a wedding dress,’ my aunt puts in.

I laugh. I don’t know how long my relations have been suppressing the urge to quiz me about my love life but today, finally, they’d cracked.

‘Has your brother got a girlfriend?’ is how it starts – a complete non sequitur to what we’d previously been talking about.

‘No,’ I say, ‘not as far as I know.’

‘He needs a strong woman,’ my aunt says.

I laugh. ‘I doubt he thinks that!’ I take a sip of my drink. ‘What do you think I need?’

‘I don’t know,’ she says slowly, ‘but I suspect you’re looking for perfection.’

‘Why do you think that?!’

‘Well, you can’t even choose a draining rack!’

The draining rack had gone back, hence the cheque.

I laugh. ‘Mmm yeah. But it was too small! There were things wrong with it!’

My aunt doesn’t say anything. I take another sip.

‘So there’s no one…?’

This from my grandmother.

I think of my Saturday dateTall, charming, successful… looks a bit like Tom Hiddleston: I know better than to mention him after just one drink.

‘Hmm no,’ I say, ‘but I’m trying!’

‘Is there anyone at work?’

‘I have some wonderful colleagues, but they all have spouses or long-term girlfriends.’

My relations look almost as disappointed by this as I am, which is saying something.

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(Continued from Feelin’ Good)

‘What’s your thing?’ he says. ‘Dancing?’

Only in times of crisis.

‘I’d say… writing.’

‘Like, creative writing? Short stories?’

‘More like… memoir?’

‘Wow. I’ve never met someone our age who’s writing a memoir.’

‘Sorry, no, not memoir, that’s the wrong word. They’re more like… vignettes, of life, about things that have happened to me.’

With a heavy – make that total – bias towards scenes of a romantic nature.

‘How many words are you at?’

‘Oh it’s – it’s not that kind of format. I….’ I think of Todd’s words, take a deep breath and go for it. ‘So I write an anonymous blog.’

‘Why’s it anonymous?’

Yes why IS it anonymous? And why did I feel the need to mention this fact?

‘So I can write what I want.’

‘And, what kind of thing would you write about?’

‘Erm…’

‘Give me an example, of something you’ve written about.’

I think. A wedding, a ballmy four very attractive colleagues.

He goes on, ‘Might you for instance write about this?’

I barely hesitate. ‘Potentially.’

‘That’s all I wanted,’ he says, with a grin.

I laugh. I have no idea what he means.

He makes as if to unfold his jumper.

‘Are you going?’ I say, looking at it.

It occurs to me I might have just done something very very stupid. The sort of thing that would elicit a sigh and an eye roll and a ‘Well, what did you expect to happen?’ from my mother.

But I like this guy. I really like him. And by some perverse logic that makes me want to tell the truth.

He laughs. ‘No.’

 

Half an hour later, we’re outside Sainsbury’s.

‘I don’t know – if you want to do this again? Or you can tell me on WhatsApp,’ he adds quickly.

‘Yes,’ I say, ‘and you let me know too.’

I go to hug him. And there, in the afternoon light, on a busy South London pavement, we kiss.

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CC Image courtesy of fedfil on FlickrI’d decided not to tell Beatrice after what happened with the last few Tinder prospects. I would wait until it was a Thing, and in the meantime pigs would start flying.

‘I dunno,’ I say to her, over supper on Tuesday, ‘I – I’ve just got a good feeling about him.’

The good feeling continues into Wednesday, and Thursday, by which time we’ve taken things to the next level (WhatsApp) and fixed on Saturday for drinks.

Thursday afternoon, without thinking, I open up his dating profile. To be met with entirely new pictures and – I stare – a new tagline.

That evening I go dancing, because you can’t dance and check your phone at the same time.

(TO BE CONTINUED)
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My Week With Tristan

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CC Image courtesy of Captn_Jack on FlickrMany more WhatsApp messages to Beatrice and I’ll have a book – albeit the kind you’d definitely have to self-publish if you wanted it to see the light of day, which I wouldn’t – called ‘What Tristan did today to make me love him’.

Friday, he took me on a lunchtime walk to brainstorm solutions to my work crisis.

Monday, he left the lunch table early to hint to my lazy colleague that he should also be getting back to work.

Tuesday, he sent me a printout in the form of a paper aeroplane.

Thursday, we both got very drunk, hugged and he told me I was one of his favourite people at the office.

Friday, I resolved to be satisfied with this.

Monday, we were laughing about something and I looked at him and thought, I can’t do anything but love you.

Fuuuuuuck.

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