‘I’m glad I’m next to the wall,’ I say, laughing.
Karl isn’t going to let me off the hook. He goes first, with a story about how he wasted four months of his life working for an estate agents called Foxtons. In that time he worked like a dog, to the point that he would get home to his girlfriend and be too tired to have sex. ‘She used to beg me,’ he says, eyes wide with wonder, ‘but I just couldn’t!’ He shakes his head. ‘It was such a waste.’
Now it’s my turn. On reading the event description for the evening, I’d run a quick scan of the memory files for any relevant anecdotes. Lately the saying ‘you regret the things you don’t do’ had been preying on my mind. In Forget Me Not, the woman asks, ‘Any regrets?’ ‘Maybe,’ the guy says. It’s a poignant moment. Regrets, I realised, are something I never want to have and I don’t have many. But there’s one I can’t seem to shake. There it is, a wasted opportunity which fills me with feelings of regret. It’s a trivial story, barely a story at all, but once lodged in my head, I can’t shift it. And so, when Bin Liner invites us to share, it’s the only one that springs to mind. I take a deep breath.
‘I should’ve gone to the ball at which I would have met the man I should marry but I didn’t because the guy who invited me I was still getting over and now the guy I should marry is going out with someone else….’
I said it was trivial, pathetic even.
Karl cuts in, ‘How do you know he’s the guy you should marry?’
I frown. ‘Sorry?’
‘How do you know he’s the guy you should marry?’
I don’t, but the question is just annoying. I mean, of course he’s the guy I should marry.
‘Because, when we did meet-.’
‘So you did meet him?’
‘Yes, we worked together…’
And if you’d let me finish the ruddy story, you’d have found this out!
‘… and we just got on really well.’
To the point that I was left in no doubt that he was the man I should marry. Honestly, details.
‘But if you had met, you might have gone out together, and found it didn’t work. I mean, you meet, you become lovers, and then you get to know each other, and then, if it works, it might become a relationship, but not necessarily. More often than not, it doesn’t work.’
‘True. But, well, I think it would work. But anyway, now he’s got a girlfriend. It’s such a waste.’