I was recently accused of neglecting my writing because, and I quote, I’ve “started writing in circles”.
Looking back over the last couple of posts, it seems that my critic has a point. All I seem to write about nowadays is men: complaining about the lack thereof, the fact I don’t understand them, the fact they don’t understand me, why can’t I find a nice one, why did he turn into such a bastard, I’m so lonely, I love being single.
And it’s spiral after spiral of happiness and despair. One after the other. Yeah, sorry about that. I hate to tell Monsieur de la Pérouse that this post is unlikely to be much different.
Let’s bring y’all up to date, shall we?
Oh, it’s going to be a slow, long game with this one.*
Where were we? Ah yes, that’s right. I’d just found out that this man, this man I’d lusted over for the last 2 years remember, this man was single.
It was a Saturday night and, as is my wont, I was in a local bar with a girlfriend (for the purposes of this post, simply J). It was someone’s birthday and she had dragged me along with her as her “date”. As we arrived, she dashed off to make the obligatory “Happy birthday! You look fabulous! Is that a new dress/haircut/face” chat. I hung up my coat and squeezed my way through the incredibly French crowd – “Excusez-moi, excusez, pardon, ex-”
A frantically waving arm to my right catches my eye. Thank God! Other friends! I won’t be forced to make stuttering small talk with strangers in painfully bad French. Kisses all round for H and A, and then I see him, standing a little further back. Monopoly. (please see explanation below)
What’s he doing here? Why’s he out on his own with H and A? Why isn’t he with his male friends doing manly things like spearing boar and making fire?
“You look nice” says H, always on hand to make one feel better about oneself. “I love your eyes” chips in A. The girls look at Monopoly expectantly, question marks in their eyes. He grins and starts to speak. Saving him from having to come up with the remainder of the triumvirate, I suddenly spot a small table hidden round the corner that’s free. Leaving dignity aside (a rare commodity anyway) and leaving him mid-sentence, I make a dash for it, elbowing aside the too-slow underage drinkers. Suddenly we’d found our place for the evening.
It was an easy night of conversation. J, H, A and I chattered about everything and anything. Monopoly looked slightly confused (and, at times, more than a little uncomfortable) at having stumbled onto an impromptu girl’s gossip session but skilfully held his own. An occasional gem of information about the inner workings of a male mind. A well placed sparky comment to stop things getting too serious.
And I looked, and glanced, and smiled, and wished.
He went to the bar.
“You know Monopoly’s single again?” I nearly missed the passing comment from A.
A quick dissection of the circumstances followed (“about a month ago”, “she dumped him, apparently”, “no, I think he’s ok about it”) and then conversation moved on. At least, for most of the table.
I sat there considering. A month single, that’s a good amount of time that he’s not completely rebounding. She dumped him, not so good, he may still be pining. He’s ok about it? Hmmm, hiding his feelings probably. So what do I do now? Make a move? Pretend I don’t care? Try and set him up with someone else (invariably my default when I fancy someone – why do I do that?) Carry on as normal?
My internal monologue continued as we finished our drinks and made our way downstairs to the cocktail bar/club. It was still on my mind as I danced, drank and was totally ignored by this guy (honestly, what a tosser). I was still thinking about it as I complained to Monopoly about being ignored by that guy (not just passively ignored by the way, I was standing with him and his friends, he looked at me and then very obviously turned his back on me). My thoughts were still whirring as I realised that everyone else had left. Monopoly were on our own.
“Time to go?” he asked.
“Time to go” I said.
Lausanne is a small town, everywhere is pretty much on the way home for me, so I didn’t complain as we started walking in slightly the wrong direction. I tucked my hand in his arm as we walked slowly down the cobbled streets. I stumbled on my heel as we passed the drug dealers, clubbers and random drunks. A short downhill and we finally got to his door.
“Do you want to come in?” he asked
“I do” I said.
Sharing a beer on his sofa, watching rugby at 3 in the morning, we chatted, discussed and laughed. Curled up under a blanket, I marvelled at the sparse nature of this flat and fridge. Rugby over, beer finished, Chabal’s performance assessed, I stretched and yawned.
“Do you want to stay?” he asked.
“A bad idea…” I said. “…but then I’m a big fan of bad ideas.”
Suddenly it’s 5 in the morning and I’m rudely awoken by the doorbell. Not a brief ring. A constant din. As if someone very drunk is just leaning on it. Monopoly’s phone started ringing. And ringing. An accompaniment to the never-ending shrill of the doorbell.
For the next 20 minutes, she stood there, outside his house, leaning on the doorbell and ringing his phone. He sat at the edge of his bed, half asleep, head in hands. I, meanwhile, cowered, like the wimp I am, on the other side of the bed, hoping against hope she didn’t suddenly find a key/break down the door.
Then, as soon as it began, it was over. She gave up.
Monopoly and I curled up again, and slept.
* “He” will henceforth be known as Monopoly – that’s also a long game I enjoy playing.