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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‘Who’s Tristan?’

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I’ve read every credible-looking article I can find online about alcoholic blackouts, You Belong With Me is playing on a loop, and post three of 33 from the Tristan archive of my blog is before my eyes.

My phone flashes up with a message.

‘Hoy….’

Unconventional greeting.

‘… how goes the love search 1 month on?’

 

Recent events had put Tom right out of my mind, which was lucky. His profile hadn’t changed since we’d parted company, and I’d already announced to Beatrice that this meant he’d met someone. She didn’t contradict me.

 

In the last few weeks there’d been… nothing really. Except for Friday. But Friday was different. Friday was about love, yes, but other things too: sadness, disappointment, shock.

‘Whaaaaat?!!’ Perky says, when I tell her what happened. ‘That’s BIG.’

‘A non-event,’ is how my mother describes it.

Rachel only frowns. ‘Who’s Tristan?’

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Sister Act

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CC Image courtesy of Indigo Skies Photography on FlickrI look up to see Tristan approaching.

‘Are you busy?’ he says.

I think of my post-holiday to-do list: twelve tasks and counting.

‘Err why?’

‘Could you witness the signing of a contract – if you’re not too busy?’

I glance in the direction of my boss.

‘Yes,’ I say, ‘that’s fine.’

I start to rise.

‘I’ll come and get you when my sister’s here,’ he says, ‘in about five minutes.’

‘Your sister? OK.’

 

I turn back to my computer screen. He could have asked any number of people: Tobias, Ryan, Harriet who sits opposite him…. I glance again at my boss, before bending to root around in my bag for a tube of lip gloss. Lucky I put on make-up this morning. It wouldn’t do to look sleep-deprived when meeting my future sis– oh for fuck’s sake. Frowning, I focus on the screen.

The minutes slip by.

I’ll say something really daft probably, offend her. ‘Hi!’ and a smile. That’s safe. I can’t say ‘I’ve heard so much about you’, because I haven’t really. I must remember not to say her name.

It’s definitely been more than five minutes.

I mutter words under my breath, looking for the best phrase for an email. This is good. I should be working when she sees me for the first time.

More like ten.

He rounds the corner. ‘Don’t worry,’ he says, ‘it’s fine. Harriet witnessed it.’

‘Oh, OK.’

He walks away.

I really need to get over this.

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(Continued from Size Matters)

Tristan‘s section is deserted except for him. I double back, lunch in hand, and take the swivel chair next to his. We talk about the singular form of ravioli (my lunch), his recent illness (particularly common in women over 40 apparently), sky-diving as a potential cure.

‘How have you been?’ he says.

‘Good. Been dancing a bit more these last few weeks. Yeah, things have been good.’

‘Any dates?’

‘A few… but I think it’s nearly at an end.’

‘Why?’

‘I don’t think we want the same thing.’

In a ‘sourcing free condoms on my lunch break because he’s not interested in being exclusive‘ kind of a way.

‘We’re not on the same page,’ I add.

‘Is he a slow reader?’ Tristan says. ‘Did you meet at your book club?’

I laugh. Tom would never make a joke like that, which makes me feel slightly better about the whole thing.

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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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