Instead of telling you about what has gone before (which includes terrorists, flat hunting, falling out with friends and, finally, missing out on those Donnie Darko tickets) let’s look to the future. This weekend in fact:Take some time out
My day starts with the sound of Amber blow drying her hair at the foot of my bed. The noise is akin to a small fighter jet landing on the duvet. I am in a constant, real danger of being exploded on the tube if I believe the Evening Standard, which I don’t. I’m at the gym five times a week mercilessly pumping iron because if I am going to be exploded I want to leave behind a corpse with slightly greater muscle mass goddammit. In the evenings I edit which is basically a slow, word-based form of torture. So like Countdown
then.Learn how to see in the dark
You know when this might come in handy.Go to Hampstead Heath and sit by the pond
The parks in London are nearly all a great mystery to me, especially the ones up North (of the River). I’ve heard Hampstead Heath is beautiful so on Sunday I’m going there to swim. Hope I don’t catch typhoid.Not go to Soho Pride
I love all the gays *word* but the thought of 167,978 (at last count) prissy, muscle bound homos tottering round Soho, air kissing each other and fanning themselves with folded up flyers for Hoist, XXL and the like just ain’t doing it for me this year. Peace out though brothers, peace out.
Get a massage
Before I came back to London I promised myself I would do more to relax and unwind. You can get a massage for under a tenner, right?Floatation Tank
Who am I kidding?Catch up with a friend I haven’t seen in a while
When one friend is being rubbish, why not spend time with a satellite chum! *satellite chums dive into hedges*Pack up my things to move on Wednesday
Fingers, toes, eyes, arms, legs crossed I will have a house of my own this time next week. So begins the process of trawling through my meagre possessions to see if I really want to schlep them all to East London. Bank statements, old phone bills and an inextricable amount of pads containing the doodlings of someone who is - by the images of bird men, floating heads and trees made of knives - either clinically disturbed or some sort of doodling genius misunderstood by his peers.
Oh, and I know the moment I throw them out, I’ll remember why I really really needed them.
Overheard walking to the Big Gay Out Music Festival:Festival Lady
(her bag of festive sweets being robbed by two sugar-hungry young kids): “Don’t take them all, you’re not even gay!”Kids
(in unison, mouths full of candy): “Yes, we’re bisexuals!”
The trouble with boys
As a kind reader pointed out, I gave no resolution to the Donnie Darko DVD Hostage situation. I can now tell you it is now safely back with me, which is sad in a way, as it will always be the movie Alba and I never got around to watching together because we were too busy
talking and stuff.
I don’t get that boy. I really don’t. After much debate amongst my nearest and dearest, the conclusion has been reached that he might have suffered from low self esteem hidden by pride and bravado. But then I get another email from him yesterday:
You are like one of those happy faces stamps that teachers put on my hand when I was a kid... I was never sure if I deserved it... and I hated when it started to disappear... Could you please not wash out?
It is very hard to hate him when he says things like that. My reply, curt and cryptic, (just like me):
My ink is permanent. Maybe I didn't stamp it on the right place, or maybe you just rubbed it too hard.
As Christopher pointed out, we are by now talking exclusively in metaphor which is not a healthy way to communicate (especially when one of the persons involved speaks English as a second language). Part of me thinks Alba could dick me around like this for a very long time in a cat and mouse of affections, and part of me still wants to stand outside his bedroom with a banjo and profess my undying love.
Maybe I should ask Belle
NB: They are showing Donnie Darko at Kensington Gardens
in August. I probably would have taken you-know-who *sobs silently*Batty Boy
Last night I played softball with my work. I sucked. I sucked more than the little Indian guy who got hit by the ball, I sucked more than any of the girls (who were all consistently feisty) - I sucked so bad that I was officially the worst player. I dropped a catch, repeatedly missed passes and, most embarrassingly, I didn’t connect bat with ball once. Even Sanje whacked one out of the park after he’d recovered from his injury.
You’d think with all the tennis and badminton and even bloody cricket in my youth I’d be able to hit it once. I go to the gym! I have a tall and athletic build! I play computer games to work on my eye hand co-ordination! Nothing. Just the sound of the ball whizzing past me as I was struck out yet again.Dial S for Stalker
The calls haven’t quite stopped yet; even after I reported my assailant to the police on Wednesday, but they are waning. I still received a call at 2am last night, however. All up it has been a horrible experience and I will think long and hard before I give my number out again. Unless I’m drunk, of course. Or the guy is cute. Or I’m drunk and the guy is kinda cute. Or I’m drunk and it’s a guy. Or I’m a guy and he’s drunk. You get the picture.
We stepped out to Soho Square for two minutes of silence, joining the few hundred or so people waiting. As the bell tolled we stood silently and the world stopped with us. A calm, a deep warm fluid calm filled the space between us. A photographer waded through. A woman closed her eyes. Afterwards the applause mimicked the flutter of pigeon wings overhead and automatically I joined in. Is this an ovation for our own good fortune? I thought. It seemed cruel if that were true, but not having much experience with death, and being young and prone to judging, I’d forgotten that wakes aren’t for those who have died, they’re for the people left behind. Nothing is callous in affirming life, it’s a most natural thing, like the rocks and the clouds and the holes in the ground where the earthworms wriggle. So I joined in again until the palms of my hands tingled and then we shuffled back to our sunless rooms and offices or away to an early lunch.
The calls are less frequent now – I’ve only had twenty so far today. Maybe he’s giving up! Maybe his redial finger is all sore and calloused! Maybe he’s calling to apologise! I might not have to schlep down to Police Station like I’d planned after all...
My foray back into the dating scene began and ended on Saturday night when I drunkenly gave out my number. The phone hasn’t stopped ringing since. Literally. I am now a victim of phone harassment. The person in question has called me over a hundred times since Sunday, once at 4am. I have not spoken to him; frankly he does not seem very stable.
I turn my phone off for long periods and as soon as I switch it on to check my messages, there he is again. It would be funny if it wasn’t so annoying.You don’t even have the decency to acknowledge me. Pick up or I will not stop calling. Why are you such a wanker?
Like I said, it would be funny if it wasn’t so scary.
There is an interesting article in today’s Guardian
. I felt sad on Friday, defiant on Saturday, hung over on Sunday (so that doesn’t really count) and this morning I left early and gave the tube carriage a good once over.
I’m only beginning to appreciate this city’s synergy - how so many people live together in (relative) harmony. The events of Thursday do nothing to undermine these feelings for me; in fact, they only make them ring truer.
I’m walking home now. I really appreciated all the emails I received today, most from people I’ve never met. We’re a global village and this affects all of us. Take care of yourselves, x Drew
I walk over to Charing Cross Road, to where my friends Sam and Lorna live. In Soho Square, groups of smokers talk casualties outside their offices. There is very little traffic on the roads and fewer people walking around, although being central London it’s still pretty busy. The colour red is missing; the buses which grind through Tottenham Court Road are gone. People are going about their day, buying lunch, sitting in the park, but more people catch my eye than usual.
At the flat we hug each other and talk about how the day had unfolded. The TV is on loud and streaming banners fill most of the screen. Sam says everyone he has ever met has called to make sure he is fine – even one of the guys he had a threesome with in Spain nearly two years ago. On the telly a man is being interviewed. He cannot look at the camera. He is dressed in a suit and he breaks while telling how they managed to open the train door but couldn’t escape onto the tracks not knowing if they were still ‘live’. A journalist comes on from a hospital and talks about limbs being missing - as if they will turn up somewhere, eventually.
Amber calls. My Mother and sisters have all rung. My sister Ellie was ‘hysterical as usual’. Amber will get a ride home; I tell her I will walk and it will take me a long time. We say we love each other.
Before get back to work I ask Sam, who has a huge DVD collection, if I can borrow a couple for Am and I to watch tonight. He is a horror buff like me, but today I don’t feel like any more horror.
‘Do have any without death,’ I ask.
‘Not really,’ he says and tells me he has a great vampire flick I’ll have to borrow some other time.
I decide on Moulin Rouge, which I hate, but which Amber will be able to stomach. I hug Lorna (‘I love you’) and Sam (‘I love you’) and head back out into the street just as a milky light peaks out from behind the clouds.
What has happened has begun to sink in, mostly by the small inconveniences (how we are going to get home, breaking plans for tonight, whether we need to get to work tomorrow) but also by the images of dazed and bleeding casualties on TV.
Alba called. We had a very stilted conversation where he asked if I was alright and I told him I’d email if anything happened, even though last night I said categorically that it was probably for the best that we didn’t contact each other again.
We hear reports of a bomb in Leicester Square which is a few minutes down the road, which is quickly refuted. A guy sitting next to me says his mate has heard a guy has been shot by police in Canary Wharf. There seem to be a great many injured and a few reported casualties at several points around London. There are currently no buses or tubes in service and people are not being let out of Zone 1 - this covers a huge area of central London. Number of explosions at seven. I am wondering where I’ll buy my lunch and if it is worth risking it for an egg and cress sandwich from Tescos?
Bombs are going off. There is a blitz of texts and emails from friends, and we are being prepared for the worst on TV. I am at work, safe, and so is Amber. My thoughts are with the people effected in these attacks.
We meet at a bar.
We small talk.
I tell him a thing about me, quite personal, which I guess I think might give him a window into my… my what? My heart? My soul? My mind?
‘What am I supposed to do with that?’ he says afterwards, ‘everyone has pain in their life.’
All thought of reconciliation disappears. He is the ugliest person in the world to me. He looks like a reptile, his eyes swollen in anger because he doesn’t know what to do
‘Nothing, I reply, ‘you don’t have to do anything.’
But I know what I want. I say goodbye and leave.
we have it... what ever you do... don´t call the police!!!
My phone rings. I’m at work and talking to a colleague so I leave it. After it stops there is a pause before it rings again.
‘We have your Donnie Darko DVD as a hostage.’
‘We have your Donnie Darko DVD as a hostage.’
‘What do I have to do to get it back?’
‘Await further instruction.’
And with that Alba hangs up.
I liked where I was with you. It was the place before falling in love. I liked it there.
I will miss it.
"That date was unfortunate. My sympathies. I think I've had it, that date... once or twice.
Happy Canada Day, from a Canadian reader."
"You do realize you were employing a common European strategy of snobbery? E.g., your yawning to indicate "you're asking too many questions for polite and cultured conversation." My experience has been that Kiwis aren't good at snobbery -- too militantly working class by culture, if not nature (I have no idea what is your nature, but can make an informed guess to
your culture). I'm not saying you're not a good Kiwi, I'm just saying you're bad at snobbery like a good Kiwi. You should have taken his hand in yours, quietly stroked it with your thumb a time or two, looked him in what I am sure are handsome eyes, and just honestly told him, I'm not ready for these questions. That would have really turned him on. Cue hot sex later that evening. But, no, you went and ruined it. He called you a European, and then you turned around and behaved like one in the worst, most condescending fashion. Shame, shame, shame. SHAME.
(Email edited for length)From:
Just read your blog. Sounds like you had boy PMT. And his questions were exactly the kind that would get my back up. You could charm him again easily, if you want to X