I’m on the tube heading to a cocktail bar when my date texts me: “So sorry, running 15 minutes late!” I tell her not to worry, head to the bar and settle into my seat with a glass of wine.
7.15 rolls by.
7.18 – no biggie
7.20 – hmmm
7.21 – she better have a damn good excuse
7.22 – she better buy all the drinks
7.23 – and I’m in an expensive mood
7.24 – “fetch the Claret!”
7.25 – omfg I’m being stood up
7.28 – omfg I am actually being stood up, for real, it’s happening
7.30 – that’s it, I’m leaving
7.32 – FAREWELL DIGNITY
My date finally arrives 33 minutes late: “I’m soooo sorry, we had this big thing at work.” I give her an icy smile and reply crisply that “it’s fine,” having already decided that I will date this monstrously late woman when hell freezes over. Being fashionably late is one thing, but she’s overshot fashionable by several miles and ended up somewhere between ‘rude as fuck’ and ‘do not date this person ever, never, not even if she’s really fit.’
We manage to ramble on for a couple of drinks and she treats me to a couple of ex-girlfriend stories (fun!) but by the end of the night we’re running on empty. There’s nothing for me here. She works in finance, loves money and summers in Ibiza with friends who all seem to be coke addicts. She also declares, cackling, that she’s a “whore,” which I fully respect but it does rather put you off when you’re on a first date looking for love.
The next night I head to a house party with the Friend. We kick things off with risotto, Prosecco and laughter before ploughing through a bottle of rum, burbling songs at each other like a couple of teenagers. I chatter happily with her friends but every now and then she totters over, coils a beautiful arm round my waist and gives me a snuggle. I can’t help comparing her to my last date – to all my dates in fact. This feels so bloody right. So rare and so right. How can she not feel it too?
But the fact is she doesn’t, so I do the only thing that makes me feel better. I drink and I drink and I drink until I can’t walk anymore. I slosh and slur around the party like an old drunk’s fart and I know I should stop but I can’t.
“Check ou’ ma slut drop,” I grin at the Friend, wobbling into a squatting position and bobbing up and down like a cork in a bucket of gin. “Shi’, I can’ gerrup.”
She laughs, pulls me up and puts her arms around me:
“How amazing is she?” she says to her mates. She drops a kiss on my head and in that moment I can’t hold it in any longer. The dam I’ve painstakingly built around my heart shivers and splinters and buckles under the weight of my feelings and they all fly out like shit from a bum.
I turn to her, in front of her boyfriend and all her mates and shout “I LOVE YOU.” I just have time to see her eyes go wide – and to be sick in my hands – before everything goes dark.