Taste the Difference

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CC Image courtesy of akintsy_photo on Flickr

(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.

CC Image courtesy of Harald Link on Flickr

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Feelin’ Good

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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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wigan2Rush hour at Euston station: not my usual habitat. I’d attended a dance class the night before in Angel and, distracted by the attentions of my favourite partner, had left without my favourite cardigan. So I was on a mission to reclaim it.

He comes through the same entrance that I did. Seeing me he does an odd little pivot, diverting his course in my direction.

‘That was very… something,’ I say, laughing.

He smiles. We exchange greetings.

‘You’ve been getting around a lot lately!’ I say, immediately regretting my turn of phrase.

He’d messaged me in January, saying he owed me dinner and asking when I was around. I’d learnt he’d recently spent time in India, Scotland and the north of England. And when I’d seen him in the autumn, he’d been on the brink of leaving for Japan.

‘Yes,’ he says, ‘I’ve been to Wigan today.’

I laugh. ‘That’s not quite what I meant!’

He doesn’t say anything, only smiles.

‘But OK, how was Wigan?’

The train comes; as we board, he tells me about Wigan. I listen, half-smiling, to his wry, intelligent words.

After letting him know I was around in February – and resisting the urge to specify the 14th – I’d heard nothing further from the man.

The train pulls into the platform at Angel.

‘See you soon,’ I say, as the doors open.

‘See you soon.’

We both know what that means.

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Maybe Baby

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I survey a broad cross-section of society i.e. Beatrice, Perky, my mother and Adrien, whose response is my absolute FAVOURITE. I print it off and flyer the flat with it, I love it THAT MUCH.

When I start to read your emails

So yeah, I survey my nearest and dearest, and there’s an overwhelming response of:

NOT OK

Which fortunately chimes with how I feel about the whole thing. I know I should be fine with it. I should be, like, that’s totally cool man, shrug it off and go out dancing with my girlfriends.

NOBODY DOES THAT.

But that’s not me. Maybe I’ve got too attached too quickly. Maybe I want a boyfriend so badly I’m ignoring all the reasons it probably won’t work long-term. Maybe this is more about pride and ego and wanting to feel special than my feelings for the guy. But whatever the reason, I’m not OK with it. So I tell him.

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CC Image courtesy of Debs (ò‿ó)♪ on FlickrBeatrice has just texted to say she’s got a Tinder date lined up.

‘He’s a ginger version of Rob,’ she says, ‘so that might be a problem.’

‘I think Ginger Rob is par for the course,’ I send back. ‘I’ve spent the last eight months looking for a doppelganger of Viable Prospect.’

I go upstairs to get ready. My top needs ironing and I’m contemplating washing my hair in the vain hope it will come out looking entirely different. Longer and more bouncy.

I put away the ironing board, transfer essential items to my evening bag. There’s ten minutes until I need to leave, enough time to reply to a couple of messages.

At the top right of the screen, a small number two, in red. Reminders, no doubt, of invitations unanswered. I click on the icon and feel my stomach drop.

 

Two days earlier…

Beatrice shifts in her chair. ‘It’s embarrassing.’

‘It’s not!’

I tell her about the time I almost went to see someone for the same reason. ‘But I knew a therapist couldn’t tell me what I needed to know – only he could do that. So I messaged him, and, when he stopped replying, I was finally able to move on.’

‘Do you still think about him?’

I shrug. ‘I guess I compare people to him. But I know now he doesn’t want to be with me, and it’s invaluable, knowing that.’

 

I stare at the screen a moment.

‘Fuck you!’ I say with a half-laugh. ‘Fuck you!’ I get up, pace the room. ‘You are not fucking doing this. You’ve fucking ruined enough of my fucking life already. You are not ruining my evening.’ I grab my coat and bag. ‘I am going to have a fabulous night.’

 

‘Do you want another drink?’ My date gestures towards the menu. ‘Or do you want to dance or… do you just want to get out of here?’

He’s already told me he’s not a very good dancer.

‘Err… out of here?’

‘So,’ he says, once we’re outside, ‘your place or mine?

I suppress a smile. ‘Err… yeah, that’s what I meant earlier by I think we want different things.’

‘Ah.’

 

Tubing home, my thoughts drift to another first date. We didn’t want the same things either.

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