On and off, I have been dating S for the better part of the last two years. Mostly off, actually. First time round, our blossoming romance was curtailed on our fourth date, when he took me out, bought me a three course meal, and – on a street corner, beneath a crescent moon – told me he was junking me for his ex-boyfriend. I turned on my heel and refused to look back.
Perhaps a year later, S came into my life again. We bumped into each other at the bar of a charity cocktail party, and a little over a week later were kissing on the steps of Southwark tube. A year, I thought, had made all the difference. The two of us were older, wiser, and – perhaps most importantly of all – his ex-boyfriend had his visa revoked and was consequently in another time zone.
So we dated for a few months, and it was all going well until the day Amy Winehouse died, when I had what can only be described as a ‘Britney Spears with the epilady meltdown’ and called everything off for the most inconsequential reasons. After that we drifted, with only occasional texts (usually misspelt and heavy with the scent of one too many Jagermeisters) to break radio silence.
Then, on New Year’s Day, I decided to throw caution to the wind. “You’re an idiot,” I typed. “We were so good together, so why aren’t we together?”
“We were good together,” came the reply. “I think I’d like to see you when
I get back to London.”
And now it is tonight, and S is sitting across the table from me, and there’s a bottle of Sauvignon between us (silently adjudicating, as it has done on so many of our previous dates), and we are finally going to have it out.
“A bottle of Sauvignon, silently adjudicating as it had done on so many previous dates”
“I think we’re very similar” he says. “We’re both highly strung…”
“I’m not…” I begin, and catching his smirk, close my mouth firmly.
“So when we hit a snag, neither of us wants to be the first to back down. The problem is that now so much stuff has happened, it’s hard to remember a time when one of us wasn’t pissed off at something the other one said or did…”
“Or who they decided to trot off back to,” I say (in my head).
Out loud I say: “So you still like me then?”
“Of course I like you. Why do you think I helped edit your application for your promotion at work?”
I shrug. “You work in HR.”
“It was seven pages long!”
S smiles at me. And although I’m smiling too, inwardly I know that if the man of my dreams turns out to have been him all along, I’m going to kick off big style.