Monday, May 04, 2009
There is a girl. I am going to call her Chuck because she reminds me in many ways of the character from Pushing Daisies.
She works in the same building as me. We had exchanged pleasantries before, in that vague sort of office way. Suddenly last week, for reasons I still don't fully understand we resolved to meet for a drink outside of work. It was more her idea than mine, but if someone like Chuck asks you out for drinks you jolly well go along.
Also because it was someone like Chuck, I wore a tweed suit to meet her. I live in a very rough area, I think it wouldn't be an understatement to say it's like the set from the Wire. Perhaps not the idea place to wear a tweed suit, but evidently smashing vintage tweed garners respect in the hood, I was fine.
I made it to the bar we were meeting in a little late. I was wearing brogues and clopping across town as fast as I could but there are limits to how hard you should push yourself, especially on a hot day while wearing a pink shirt. Well if you are going to wear tweed, there is no point in being half-hearted.
This drink in the bar was our first meeting outside of work. So I wasn't sure what it would be like. When I first saw her the sparkle in her eye when she saw me, it suggested that this wasn't quite the innocent drink after work we were both pretending it was.
We started with a reasonable bottle of Merlot, which evolved into another and then before I knew it we were taking supper in the restaurant. I ate the worst risotto I'd ever paid £15 for, it would have been the worst risotto ever but I'd had an even worse one in the work canteen earlier in the week. It was horrific, but for £2.50 you could forgive it, a bit.
The risotto was awful but by this point we had drunk enough wine to not care too much. We retired back to the bar and tried to secure some more drinks, we failed. Even Chuck's local celebrity status (more on this later) couldn't get us just one more gin and tonic for the road.
It was at around this point, and yet again for reasons I don't quite understand, we kissed. My memories of this moment are shrouded in a fug of booze and endorphins but I can remember the hairs on the back of my neck standing up.
Eventually we left the bar, having engaged in a frankly shameful amount of kissing and stumbled out into the cool night air. Actually it wasn't cool, it was freezing.
Almost instantly a cab appeared. I said she should get in it and go home. She said she didn't want to. I insisted, Chuck had a boyfriend you see. I said that I liked her, and because I liked her she should go home. This turned into a monologue about doing the right thing if you really like someone, it was as much for my benefit as for hers.
It was appreciated but had almost exactly the opposite affect to the one I was expecting. Chuck walked home, through a war zone to visit my flat.
We drank Champagne and talked nonsense and then, at about 4am it was time for bed. I explained that nothing naughty was going to happen because of her situation. She borrowed some clothes off me, I left the room so she could change.
She kept trying to break my resolve to do something that would require more than a PG certificate. I refused, again and again. Hoping that in years to come I wouldn't come to regret this. It might have been the right thing to do, but it wasn't the most fun.
In the morning I made us coffee and we drank it with apricot jam on toast. I didn't eat that much because I was still feeling a bit unusual from the drinking excess of the night before. I was so drunk I had to cancel a morning appointment to ride a motorbike.
After a light breakfast, we made our way into to town. We had a coffee, and as is the way of these things, were spotted by someone from work.
TO BE CONTINUED...