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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The Best of Times

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CC Image courtesy of Ibliskov - Flucтuaт Nεc Mεяgiтuя on FlickrI’d been looking forward to the party. Tristan would be there, and Tobias. We’d demolish the canapé supply and drink too much cheap white wine. Tobias would make a passing remark about clothing, sparking a fit of anxiety from Tristan about his branded jumper, and I’d reassure him it was fine. Twice.

 

We’d cross the road to the neighbouring pub. Tristan would order doubles in place of my usual single. We’d bump into someone I went on a couple of dates with once and Tristan would ask, ‘What’s the deal with that guy?’ Twice.

 

I’d say or do something daft.

‘You’re really great,’ he’d say, laughing and clinking glasses.

 

We’d hug and I’d say:

‘I’ll miss you when you go to New York!’

And he’d tell me to come visit.

 

Out on the pavement, we hug again.

‘I always want people to be more like you,’ I say, ‘cos that makes them a better person.’

‘You’re really great,’ he says again.
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Later, in the casino, over champagne, we lose money and laugh about it.

 

Later still, in the crowded bar, he kisses me. Light, tender and unexpected.

‘Tristan…?’

I meet his eye. He looks happy and drunk and takes my hand, tight, beneath the table. We rest our heads together.
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Paradise Lost

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CC Image courtesy of Glen Bowman on FlickrSeveral years ago, the BBC broadcast a period drama called The Paradise. It was about a department store in the north of England run by charming entrepreneur Moray. The local totty thought he was the best thing since sliced bread and badly wanted to marry him (which would have been to his advantage, since totty’s father had pots of money ready to invest in the store).

Enter Denise: pretty, clever and ambitious. She makes her mark at the store (lots of bright ideas for displays, that kind of thing) and even catches the attention of Moray. Cue URST (UnResolved Sexual Tension).

Just when we think Moray and Denise are about to sail off into the sunset, there’s a twist (SPOILER ALERT). The crucial speech:

Denise: I don’t want to marry Moray. I want to be him.

That’s the line from the series that most stayed with me. And it’s the line I resisted the urge to quote when, earlier this year, I found myself on a date with the man who’d helped script the series.

‘It was great!’ I said. (I probably clapped.) ‘It was better than Mr. Selfridge.’

He grinned. ‘Aww bless you.’

(I should have known then it was doomed.)

 

We saw each other a couple more times, and each time conversation turned to his job.

CC Image courtesy of Marvin (PA) on Flickr

I’ve dated people from a range of professions: engineers, a journo, an architect, a theoretical physicist. Infatuation, I find, is usually accompanied by a heavy dose of job envy. And if I don’t fancy doing the actual job – me as a theoretical physicist LOL – I’m seduced by the lifestyle that goes with it. I still have no idea how the physicist managed to go on fortnightly holidays.

But – the journo aside – it’s all been fantasy. Until Moray.

 

I hung on his every word. Date one, I admitted to having tried to get into script development a while back. I’d even spoken to several script editors about the best routes in. He knew the people I’d spoken to. It just gave us more to talk about.

But, unlike Moray, he didn’t come to me on bended knee. So, shortly before the inevitable parting of the ways, I started mourning the relationship. He was fun; I’d miss that. I’d miss the sex too. But what I’d miss most was sharing a passion. We’d watched the trailer for The Crown and agreed about the lack of conflict. We hadn’t agreed about Michael’s character in Mum (I found him a bit annoying), but we did both love the theme tune (‘You’re Gonna Miss Me’) and listened to it together the last morning I spent at his.

I told him the best bit of screenwriting advice I’d ever read. He told me about the alien story his company was in the process of pitching. He loved his job. I loved his job.

I loved his job. I loved his job.

Five-hour meetings to determine characters’ back-stories. Brainstorming plot lines with a writer in their hotel room. Working all Sunday on a scene breakdown.

 

I set about updating my CV, making over my LinkedIn profile, emailing potential contacts – the works.

 

Occasionally I thought of him, pictured his head resting on my pillow.

I like you.’

I smile. ‘I like you too.’

We kiss.

‘What do you want?’ he says.

It’s a script joke – a protagonist should always want something.

The same thing as you,’ I whisper, and pull him closer.

If only that had been true.

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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.

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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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Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien