Forget Me Not

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CC Image courtesy of James F Clay on FlickrI’m watching a film on my computer, otherwise known as waiting for a Facebook message from the world’s slowest correspondent.  He’s called FFS for a reason.  I’ve twice given up on him and we’re yet to go on an actual date.

I know – and not just because Flatmate has told me as much – that so long as it’s evident I’m not at the forefront of the guy’s mind, I mustn’t let him anywhere near the forefront of mine.  Which is a lovely idea

So yeah, I’m watching a film, which it turns out is brilliant and wonderful and endorses all those dangerous myths about love and soul mates and relationships founded on a meeting of eyes and absolutely zero verbal communication.  They’re bad news, such films, because they make me nostalgic.

There’s a scene where the man and woman, who only met properly a couple of hours before, slow dance at a silent disco.

He’s walking her to a party when they have a blazing row, and she goes on alone.  He follows, and arrives to find a roomful of guests silently dancing, each lost in their own little world.  There, in the middle of the floor, is the woman, eyes closed, moving in time to music.  He goes over, puts a hand on her shoulder, and she turns.  They don’t speak.  She removes an earphone, offers it to him, makes a selection on her iPod.  A slow, sweet song comes on, and they dance, arms round one another.

I’d dreamt of just such a moment since the days of the dreaded school disco.  I remember one time, Angels came on and I grabbed a partner.  A minute of shuffling on the spot later, I realized it didn’t work with just anyone.  Ten years on, at an office party, I discover someone it does work with.  So, when the couple in the film starts to dance, it’s him I think of.

*

An hour in, I’m despairing.  Matthew’s not a patch on the male protagonist.  I’ll never have what the characters in the film have.  I bet they’re together in real life.  Hell, this isn’t a film at all, is it?!  It’s just two actors falling in love!  It’s probably not even scripted!  I want to cry!

Then, all of a sudden, the woman in the film is despairing.

Is there someone else – is that it?’

There isn’t someone else.  I won’t tell you what happens in case you watch it, which you should.  It’s beautiful, funny, and heart-breaking.  It’s the kind of film I hope to write one day; about the kind of love I hope to know.

CC Image courtesy of lisandroPeralta on Flickr

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Sweet Like Chocolate

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SIX MONTHS EARLIER…CC Image courtesy of niallkennedy on Flickr

‘They’re like paving slabs!’ I say.

We peer in at the display of tarts, cupcakes, and giant brownies.

Would it be weird if I said it matters which brownie you choose?

‘You have to choose the right one,’ he says.  ‘That one there, top left.’  He points.

I laugh.  ‘The corner?!  No!  You want a middle bit!’

‘You’re not serious?!’  He gives me a playful shove.

We argue all the way to the bakery opposite, where I’m buying a present for my mother.

‘One sec,’ I say, ‘I’m just gonna have a look in the window.’

‘Which one is it?’ he says.

I point.

‘“Vanilla, chocolate and pecan brownie”,’ he reads.  ‘Sounds good!’

‘Yep, except,’ I feign a disapproving look, ‘it’s not vanilla, it’s Valrhona.’

‘What’s that?’

‘A very expensive chocolate brand – one of the best.’

He looks sheepish.  ‘I should know that, being a Swiss national.’

Inside the shop, I ask to have a closer look at the brownies, before choosing a centre piece.  Swiss National makes tutting noises.  Laughing, I pay.

CC Image courtesy of EverJean on Flickr

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Read My Mind

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‘Good Christmas?’CC Image courtesy of Theen … on Flickr

I shrug.  ‘No power.  As in, we had a power cut.’

‘Oh God!  Of course, you live… don’t tell me….’

He scans the memory files.

‘… Sussex?’

‘Yes!  And you’re…’

I scan the blog files.

‘… Hampton Court?’

‘Wow, yes, wow!  Impressive!’

I can feel myself blushing.  ‘Ditto.’

‘Yeah but you’ve remembered, like… the place. Wow.’

That’s the problem: if you edit something enough it becomes part of your DNA.

I look for a subject change.  ‘This is Beatrice.’

They shake hands.

‘This is Tom,’ he says, gesturing towards his friend.

We make small talk.  Conversation reverts to the subject of power.

‘At least we were only without it for two days,’ Beatrice says, ‘whereas you – it must have been, what, over a week?!’

‘Five days,’ I say.

‘Fuuuck.  What did you do?!’

This from Hampton Court.

I take an unusual line.  ‘Well, I don’t know if your brother plays the guitar – or if you even have a brother…’

Fortunately it’s not until we’ve parted company that I remember he does indeed have a brother, so my ignorance is genuine.

‘… but, well, I do, so we errr we had sing-a-longs!’

‘Oh God.  That must have been awful!’

Actually it was quite fun, not to mention funny, the four of us – my parents, my brother and I – trying to read the lyrics of ‘Read My Mind’ by one solitary gaslight.

‘Hmm I think, after a few days without power, your threshold for what’s awful falls quite a lot!’ I say, laughing.

HC tells us of the time he went camping, and his neighbours, whom he liked, moved on to be replaced by a family whose fireside mewling sent him to the edge of madness.  We joke about campers’ irritating tendency not to stay put for very long.

I laugh. ‘It’s like renting in London!’

HC stares.  ‘That’s exactly – it’s like London rentals – I was about to say exactly that!’

I smile.

(TO BE CONTINUED)

CC Image courtesy of threecats78 on Flickr

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If You’re A Bird…

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CC Image courtesy of shaniecegooden on FlickrMatthew is in many ways the perfect crush.

1. He speaks like someone out of a period drama.  Like, the other day at work, we’re looking at guns.

‘Do you shoot?’ I say.

‘Yes.  Do you?’

‘No.’

‘Do you go out with them ever?’

Inwardly I swoon.

‘Errr… a couple of times.’

Which is stretching the truth.  I ‘went out’ with the guns once, whilst staying with my then boyfriend.  My presiding memory is of trying to convince him of my rural credentials whilst caught, literally, straddling a barbed wire fence in the middle of the Devon countryside.  Not my finest hour.

 

2. We’re soul mates, apparently.

Colleague pauses in her work.  ‘I think you and Matthew should get it on.’

I nearly fall off my stool.  ‘Why?!’

‘I was talking to him in the kitchen the other day and… he reminds me of you.  You’re quite similar, like, you’ve got the same sense of humour.  Kind of… dry.’

I laugh.  ‘OK!  I’ll see what I can do!’

A few minutes later, Matthew walks past.  I turn beetroot, my default colour whenever he’s in the vicinity.

‘Hello!’ I chirrup, my default sound whenever I speak to him.

Colleague smirks.

‘You can tell that you like him,’ she says, once he’s out of earshot.

‘How?!’

‘You go bright red!’

And I sound like a bird.  Other than that, I’m stealth incarnate.

CC Image courtesy of Wilfbuck on Flickr

3.  He’s good with children.

‘Hey…’

Matthew looks up from what he’s doing.

‘… please could you help a client lift a pram up the stairs?’

And then marry me, and we can have a baby and you can lift our pram up the stairs etc etc.

‘Yeah sure,’ he says.

We walk together towards the stairs.

‘How are you?’ I say, turning beetroot.

He looks surprised.  Beetroot is usually mute in his presence. ‘Yeah, good.  I haven’t seen you for a while.’

He’s noticed!  It’s love!  Weeeee!

‘No… I’ve been more at the other office recently.’ I grin. ‘Going up in the world.’

He laughs.

 

Pram safely delivered onto the pavement, he comes back downstairs.

‘Thanks!’ I say.

Colleague smirks.

CC Image courtesy of Marj Joly on Flickr


Or Are You Just Happy To See Me?

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I’m looking for my purse when Beatrice arrives.CC Image courtesy of Orofacial on Flickr

‘Is that a toothbrush in your bag?’

‘Yes.’

‘Why do you have a toothbrush with you?’

Let me think…

A voice comes from behind me.  ‘I always bring a toothbrush to work.’

I turn to find myself face-to-face with Adam, looking gorgeous in burgundy.

‘Thank you, Adam.’  I turn back to Beatrice.  ‘See?  Perfectly normal.  I’m just going to get a drink.’

When I get back, she and Adam are chatting.

‘… I make soda bread,’ he finishes up.

Beatrice looks at me.

I smile.  ‘So do I!’

‘Wow.  Toothbrushes and soda bread.  You must be soulmates.’

Thank you Beatrice.

'You must be soul mates'