Sunday, 11 January 2015
Once upon a time, I stood, dizzy with wine, opposite a guy I was dating. I was drunk, and happy, completely consumed by the sparkliest state of giddy euphoria. I went to kiss him goodbye, and with a playful smirk on his lips, he asked me back to his. I politely declined his offer. He slapped me across the face, really bloody hard. But apparently I 'deserved' it. 'You not taking my dick hurts a lot more.'
Then there was Adam, who I met in a bar one night. We got as far as the promise of a trip to see Les Mis at the theatre before he pissed in an alleyway and threw up on my shoes. There was Stuart, who left me a voicemail saying 'you're quite fit you know...I thiiiiink I could see you again', James, who was playing genital tennis with his ex-girlfriend for the duration of our relationship, Fraser, who would win triple gold at the Ludicrous Lie Olympics, and Ryan...Where-art-thou-Ryan?, who spent three glorious months inside my soul, confessed his undying love for me, aaaand then disappeared off of the face of the earth. That same day. Oh. Okay. SEE YOU. (I bumped into him two years later. He was dry humping a 16 year old in a bus shelter. I think I had a lucky escape.)
This isn't a sob story, neither is it an enthusiastic 'I HATE MEN', 'OH-EM-GEE, ALL MEN ARE BASTARDIOS' moment. Whilst I may have passionately championed sexism in the playground as I linked arms with all of my sistaaaaahz in my Clarks buckled shoes, performing an enthusiastic chorus of all-join-in, the-boys-are-in-the-bin!, I now totally get that if you're a shit human, you're a shit human; it isn't gender exclusive. Of course I know many wonderful men. And I've dated wonderful men. I've also loved being single in-between. But like everybody else in this world, I've been fucked over when it comes to matters of the heart. I've been treated in the kind of way that leaves the world stripped of colour: the kind of world in which you have a snotty, cacophonous sobbing session to Adele, demolish all of the wine in your fridge, and reassure yourself twenty times over with that dramatic, ill-informed declaration: 'I AM NEVER GETTING CLOSE TO ANYONE AGAIN'.
And then there was him. Him.
He has this look. It's a look that I know is reserved just for me. Sometimes, his eyes trap mine with such fervent favour that the existence of everything else in this world is paralysed. I can barely string a sentence together when it happens. John Keats would probably pen a poem about it.
The written word serves me so well that occasionally (and by occasionally, I mean mostly), intelligible speech fails me; he gets that. But he'll always listen. He'll always try to make sense of it, even if he feels like he's having a conversation with his drunk Aunt or a brick wall. And he's incredibly patient with how useless I am at expressing emotion. Seriously, I am horrendous. It took me at least three months to pay him a compliment and communicate this in a way that didn't sound like I was a) lying, b) creepin' on him/plotting his murder, or c) mocking him.
He exercises his manners. He does all of the lovely, gentlemanly stuff that the world doesn't see enough of these days. He's a cuddler. He's a doer. He's a sayer. He's an 'I'm-going-to-tell-you-you-look-beautiful-even-though-you-look-like-you-slept-in-a-hedge-er'. He's a one-day-I'll-be-dead-er-so-I'm-going-to-kiss-you-now-er. He's so many wonderful things.
We've shared stories and ideas and our own philosophies and silly little jokes. We've gotten merry on overpriced wine and enjoyed weekend adventures in beautiful places. We've laid, legs tangled, from dusk until dawn. Sometimes, I've fought to stay awake against his body because I've not wanted to lose the marvel of that moment to the unconsciousness of sleep.
The moral of this story?
There are bloody good people in this world: kind, honest, brilliant people who will take your heart and look after it, people who would never dream of slapping you for not taking 'the big D', people who understand that dry-humping in bus shelters is not a desirable past-time.
There are people who will make the fuckers of before and those memories of wiping liquid chips off of your shoes feel like memories that belong to somebody else.
To Him: Thank you.