It’s funny how much scarier it feels to like someone when you’re older. When you’re young, liking someone is so easy. It’s a walk in the park or a sigh through the cherry blossoms. It’s not just keeping your heart open, ready and willing but actively thrusting it at people with glee – shoving it through letterboxes or chucking it at heads across a classroom. It’s scribbling someone’s name all over your textbook and dreams, not caring if you’ve accidentally grabbed the permanent marker. You’ve never been hurt, after all – what’s to say this isn’t permanent? But as you grow up you grow wary. You start scribbling names in washable ink, then pencil, then you stop writing them down all together. You weather so many cuts and bruises the chip on your shoulder gets bigger and bigger until your arm’s dangling from the socket on a couple of shaky tendons. You think twice about falling for someone in case you belly flop and make a fool of yourself.
When do you know it’s time to go? When do you decide that this job or this partner or this home or this country or this version of life isn’t for you anymore? When do you say – enough? I have a low threshold for misery. I will walk away from a job or a relationship or a friendship that’s making me unhappy. No. Scrap that. I will run away. I won’t just throw in the towel, I’ll throw in the kettle and the 3-piece bathroom suite and the keys to the Ford Escort and the pension and I’ll leg it screaming blue bloody murder. But I’m not like most people. Most people are patient. Most people are triers. Most people work at things. They don’t give up or give in. They give it time. They give a shit. They cut their life some slack. Is that better? Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe sometimes.
The other night I saw two women having a drink. They were sat outside at a picnic table, with fairy lights hanging from the trees above them. One of them – the one I could see – had a smile so broad I thought her cheeks would crack. Later they shared a kiss – one, two, five, a dozen – before slipping out hand in hand. I saw this and I was so envious. Not about the kiss – kisses are easy. It’s the love. I miss loving someone. I’m so full of love it leaks out of my toes and my ears. What a waste, to see it swilling down the drain like dirty bathwater. Seeing women together makes me ache and yearn and pine so hard I have to look away, like I’ve seen something terrible.
It’s my fourth date with Blue Eyes and I’m heading to hers on a Friday night, overnight bag tucked smugly under my arm. She opens the door and she’s so bloody beautiful it takes all my willpower not to ravish her in the communal hallway.
What’s your type? People always ask me that and my response is always the same: I like femme girls. She can be tall, short or middle of the road; blond, brunette, red-head or blue-head; fair, tanned, dark or Boots’ finest; she can be a skinny little slip of a thing or a happy tumble of curves. But (insert grunt here) I like a woman to be a woman *swings club over shoulder and heads into cave*.
The Writer suggests we meet at her local for a drink. I’ve buggered up my train times so arrive 15 minutes late with a damp face and wild hair, gasping apologies. “Oh no problem” she says smiling, “thank you so much for coming to me.”
I’m out with my mates on Friday night buying a round when the barman says I have a beautiful smile. “Thanks…” I say, “that’s very kind.”