way to blue

At the end of last year when another ill-fated relationship came to pass, one that had barely even grown serious, I predictably grew miserable then mildly cranky about it.  I checked her Twitterstream too often, beat myself up and generally thought too much about it and her, even while touring around an exciting new city thousands of miles away.

Then I met a new female in said city and the female before rapidly faded. I went home and we began the long distance cyber-relationship, will we / won’t we meet again thing.  Then that faded out too.

Over recent months a new affection developed, originally online.  Again, irritatingly long distance, but not quite as thousands-of-miles-away-unrealistic; merely a few hundred.  Telephone calls became regular, things seemed to be going well.  Reciprocal visits were promised (hers first) but nothing was cemented.  I pressed a little too hard, excited and keen to meet.  But several gently repeated questions about what the issue was, led to her cancelling everything.  Shocked and upset but still patient, I tried to argue against what I perceived to be a rash decision.  Nothing doing.

Perhaps she never really intended to visit. Perhaps she did.  Perhaps there was an element of her just bottling it, or generally getting cold feet.  Or maybe it was all my fault for pushing.  Whichever way, after three months of almost daily communication, the majority of it fun and pleasant, she called a halt to everything and I was crushed.

Another one down the drain then, you idiot.  All that hope invested, despite myself, despite telling myself it was dangerous, don’t do it, don’t hope too much.  And we never even met.   It felt ridiculously, embarrassingly ‘playground’, impossible to translate to less web-inclined friends in the pub.

“Ooh, I hope you used protection, mate!”
“Or at least antivirus.”

These are the times we live in, the straws clutched at by sad lonely guys who live and work alone; guys who don’t often get to the pub with their married or as good as married mates.  Guys who feel slightly too old to play and socialise with a football team of lads in their early to mid-20s.

As ever when you’ve taken an unexpected knock from a female, you try to brush yourself down and say it was their loss.  You must try to convince yourself this is true, for the sake of your ego.  Sigh, grimace, try not to be angry with yourself, breathe, open a beer.  Never mind.  Download another stupid social / dating app to your iPod.  Bound to work this time.

Remembering how a night with an American female helped to dull my aching bitter crankiness about the female before, I considered visiting a female with whom I’d been chatting on the newly downloaded social app thing.  She’d likely be mental too, I reasoned, but sometimes there were virtues in distance; convenience in her being a good few hours’ drive away.  At least she was meetable, without too much planning and strife.

I’m profoundly bored of the internet, instant messaging, telephone calls, the wide and various nodes of virtual reality.  How about plain old simple reality for a change?  That luxury of interpreting facial expressions which aren’t reduced to fucking smileys, the ability to more confidently use sarcasm and irony and say “I’m joking” with a smile; for it to be clear that you’re joking.  Simply having an in-person, physical discussion.  Radical 21st Century ideas.

Playing the long game, being patient and thoughtful and nice?  That doesn’t appear to reward as you might like to think.  Those Guinness ads about good things coming to those who wait?  BULLSHIT.

So fuck it.  Yeah ok, why not?  I’ll come visit you.  It’s a straightforward enough drive, a nice day, I like driving (I’m not doing anything else).  It’s only a few hours (don’t think of the extortionate petrol cost).

She was Hungarian, tired and unhappy.  You probably have to be quite bored and lonely to use those apps and engage with people.  She spoke excellent English but this didn’t mean conversation was always comfortable.  After watching the football in a generally light atmosphere, we ate dinner in a heavier one.  Facing each other, it became clear how miserable she was.  How she wouldn’t help herself.  How insular she was, how unengaged with the world.  All politicians corrupt, all news bad; better not to watch.  An unorthodox job meant she was practically nocturnal, always tired, a ruined bodyclock.  But it apparently paid a better than average wage, which helped to relieve pressures of sending money home to family.  She was the rich daughter living abroad.  She wobbled, momentarily on the edge of tears, I looked down and away.  (Fuck, she was in a worse place than me!)  I suggested things she could do to be active in finding a new job, how she could force herself to be decisive, if she wanted – ignoring my hypocrisy – how it didn’t have to be like this.

The mood recovered, we walked back across to the multi-storey car park in a huge shopping centre.  Mine was the only vehicle left on the roof level, dying rays of a pink sunset casting its warm hue over the city: a beautiful setting for a murder.  Probably a bad idea; too much CCTV.  Instead I kissed her.  She tasted and smelled different.  I noticed it when we first met.  A little like a smoker, although she wasn’t a smoker. So she said.  And it wasn’t that bad.. impossible to put my finger on.  Just… Hungarian?  I drove her home.  She invited me into her studenty terraced house, shared with housemates she barely knew and rarely spoke to.  We went straight to her room.  I stayed.  Nothing more was asked.

*

A thick layer of mist stuck to the terraced street the next morning, joined by a novel October chill, which felt abrupt due to the unseasonal weather.  My car was still where I’d left it, untouched but tightly hemmed in between two other vehicles.   I wriggled it out, navigated through the city’s rush hour traffic and out onto the long A-roads.  The sun punched a bright white, perfectly circular hole into the grey.  Driving through green hillsides, I listened to a new favourite album and watched the sky wash itself back to blue.

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3 Responses to way to blue

  1. This is lovely. Sad, wistful – and really well written. I’m glad to be reading you again.

  2. Pingback: what didn’t happen « Swashbuckled

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