Monday, 17 December 2007

Two Friends Together

Manic Mother, I'm at your service. Details you require, details you shall have. If you are of a nervous, sensitive, or disinterested disposition, look away now.

Still here?

Right. Let's go.

Thursday evening. My old department Christmas meal. I'm there only by virtue of the fact that it was arranged before I moved departments, but these are old friends, friends I've had for many years. It had been booked for many weeks, since before there was awkwardness between us. I had dreaded this evening, not for the awkwardness, but for the memory of what was, and what could have been. And still I decided to go, when the sensible decision would have been not to. Over the last few weeks, we had started to rebuild the fragments of what we shared, tentative steps to redefine our friendship. A friendly smile, a quick chat, nothing more than that.

Still in the office, I got changed, called for some of my girls on the way down to the ground floor. They were nowhere in sight, but he was. We took the lift, my gaze fascinated beyond measure upon the door panel. Collected the girls downstairs, made our way to the bar. We stood side by side at the bar, as we'd done so many times before, chatting, muttering about our lack of bar presence.

We got to the restaurant, he sat opposite me. We chatted across the tapas, I switched to full on party mode, regaling the table with information they could do well without whilst eating, to much hilarity. I relaxed. It was going to be OK. I had my friend back, and it was just like before.

And that was all I'd ever wanted. Wasn't it?

The meal over, many people decided to leave. Not us. A group of us, just a handful, decided to move on to a bar; I was, after all, celebrating. It's not every day you get a degree, and by lord I was going to enjoy it. Numbers dwindled, three of us left. Me and my two favourite boys. Like evenings of old. It felt right. We moved on to another bar, sat laughing, drinking, exchanging gossip, and traditional office party banter.

Our friend left, it was late. Closing time. First decision. Time to go? Move on to another bar? Move to a different town? Did I want to go home, or stay over? Deep breath. Let's go on somewhere else, I'll stay over. I've done it lots of times before, my brain said. Before there was this between us. It has always been fine, and this will show me that we can be friends again. Did I believe that voice? I did. Don't believe me? It's true, and I'll tell you why.

Because I didn't dare believe that something would happen between us.

Just two friends together.

So we moved on to a venue more local to him. Sat on high stools next to the bar, facing each other, and talked like we had of old. Serious conversation, difficult topics, the occasional brush of a hand against an arm to show support, the occasional resting of fingertips against each other.

Just two friends together.

Back to his house, sitting next to each other, watching a DVD. Chatting, smiling, entirely comfortable with each other, just like we'd been in the past.

Just two friends together.

And then something more. Impossible to say who had started it, irrelevant really. I don't regret it, as I've said. It might not have been sensible, but there is little in my life that is governed by logic. If we need to redefine our friendship, or walk away from each other to protect ourselves, we'll reach the decision between us this time.

But as the dawn broke, I lay in his arms and wondered where we go now, the two friends together.

Sunday, 16 December 2007


There appears to have been a few discrepancies with the fat lady singing. I thought I heard her. Crystal heard her very loudly indeed. Belle & Swearing Mother don't think they heard her at all. I think I might have heard her if truth be told, but that might have been because I was listening out for her, and got confused. You see in my mind, for an occasion such as this, the fat lady should be a lot like this.

Instead, there appears to have been a crossed wire inside my head, and what I actually got was this.

Now, don't get me wrong. I have nothing against Beth Ditto; she's a fine figure of a woman. But she's not final, if you see what I mean. She looks like she's, well, you know. Ready for something.

I'm sure you're all very disappointed in me. There appears to have been an error of judgement. I tried to walk away, and I thought I could do it. But I couldn't, it was too hard. I thought that I could just stuff all my feelings so deep that no one would ever get to see them and I'd barely know they were there. I thought we could go back to where we were, before anything happened between us.

I was wrong on all counts.

I could give you a handful of excuses, if that would help? I could tell you it was Christmas? I could tell you I was celebrating? I could tell you that I'd had a bit to drink? All true, but all unnecessary.

I'm a big girl, I made a decision. My motto in life has always been "Never regret the things you do; only regret the things you don't do". So a decision was made. A series of decisions. And every time there was a decision to be made, I made it. Not him, but me.

Where are we now? Haven't a clue. Do I regret it? No, I don't. Will I in the future? Maybe. Not regret so much perhaps, but realise that I could have made a different decision. I can tell you I didn't plan for it to happen. There was no waxing, shaving, or general preparation of any kind. Was I surprised? Maybe a little.

So there we are. Another woman who makes a grand statement, then doesn't stick to it.

It's a funny old business, don't you think?

Friday, 14 December 2007

Just Checking

I have been out of action for some time. My computer was struck down with shoddy service, but has now recovered, thanks to some (drunken) complaining, and mild threats made to people on far shores.

So, what have you all been up to?

This week, I got my results! I have my degree! Am not a Belle type brainbox, I stand in her intellectual shadow as well as her tall actual shadow, but nevertheless, I have a 2.1!

I have been on some marathon drinking frenzy ever since. Am frightened of stopping, because this is going to be some mammoth hangover. Am in danger of knocking Amy Winehouse off her pedestal. But ho hum. I have my degree! And it's Christmas.

But while I was here, I thought I'd just ask you to help me with something. You know I wrote here about endings? And I was in a really bad place? And we all understood that it was over, and we weren't friends any more? And we know it ain't over till the fat lady sings? And we all heard her singing, didn't we? We did, didn't we?

I thought we did.

I was just checking.

Hats Off To Me!!!

Yeah baby!

I have my degree!

Sunday, 9 December 2007

What would you like to know about meme?

I just can never resist a polite invitation. I'm always over at Manic Mother's place, (if you're not, you should be), and she's just done a little meme with an open invitation. I'm also a stickler for rules, so here goes.

Apparently the rules of the game are:
A). Link to the person that tagged you and post the rules on your blog...
B). Share 7 random and/or weird facts about yourself...
C). Tag 7 random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs...
D). Let each person know that they've been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

Right, let's go. Seven random and weird things about me. Well, you've come to the right place.

1. I'm incredibly, embarrassingly clumsy. I can fall over nothing at all, or maybe the most minute piece of grit that is invisible to the naked eye. In recent years, I've chipped the bone in both elbows, sprained my wrist, my ankle, had a black eye, and more bruises than you could shake a tube of arnica cream at. The clumsiness is combined with damn foolishness. I once locked myself in my own porch. Pulled the door shut behind me, and it locked. Tried to open the door in front of me. Locked. My keys? In the hall. Length of time spent in there? About seven hours. Strangely, passers by ignored me, even when I shouted and waved items of my clothing through my letter box. Can't think why.

2. I have strange eyes. Well, not strange so much (I mean, they're not on the side of my head or anything) but a strange colour. They're not quite blue, not quite green, but instead a very odd sort of grey. You know like a really dingy puddle? You've got it. I also have a scar on my lip, caused when I fainted in the toilet as a young girl, and cracked my face against the toilet seat. Not so glamorous. I have quite a snub nose too (I bet you're just dying for a photo. No? OK then), but when I was a baby, my mum used to stroke my nose and gently rub the end, because she was worried that it would turn up at the end. Wow, thanks mum.

3. I have an unusual relationship with pastry affiliated items. Like sausage rolls, and pork pies. Also with custard tarts. And sometimes sandwiches (yes I know they've got no pastry, I only just thought of that.) I have to eat all the pastry first. Or the crusts off the bread. And only then will I eat the filling. Even if I'm in public. And I'm not very keen on putting more than one type of food in my mouth at once. It's OK if it's already like that; I don't scrape sauce off pasta (I'm not a freak, you know), but a roast dinner? I cannot and will not put vegetables and potatoes in my mouth at the same time. Or potatoes and meat. Or any combination. I know it all goes to the same place - it's just that I like it to go there separately.

4. I've been married twice. Both times to men with the same first name. Both with the same star sign. Both with the same star sign as my dad (God rest his soul), and one of them with the same birthday as my dad. Not the year. Amateur psychologists, make of that what you will. Still, am always on the lookout for Husband Number 3. Third time's a charm, I believe they say. But my friends inform me I'm not to be trusted to make this decision alone, having made such a bollocks of it in the past. So, any prospective husband must present:- his birth certificate (to prove that his name isn't the same as my previous husbands), his passport (I jokingly suggested I would marry next time for humanitarian reasons, so an illegal immigrant could get a passport), his educational qualifications (so we know he's not a thickie), and a selection of jokes (so we know he'll get on with my son). This isn't just before we get married, either. This is before he's allowed to take me on a date.

5. My favourite thing in the whole world was being pregnant. Even though I felt sick for 20 weeks. And none of this crappy 'just in the morning' stuff. But I loved it. And, if the opportunity arose, I would have another baby tomorrow. Well, I have to be at work, but I'm free in the evening. A couple of years ago, my son asked that if I had another baby, could he choose the name for it. I was (am?) so confident that this would never happen, I said yes. I have said the same to the naming of any new kitten we acquire. Whichever of them comes first, it will be called Frank.

6. I'm in the wrong job. I'm good at it (most days), but I'd rather be doing something else. I'd love to be a teacher (but finances won't allow), love to be a writer (but talent doesn't allow), or love to work with children in a counselling capacity (but I don't have the experience. Yet.)

7. I'm a really big gossip. I love to have a gossip about people, the juicier the better. But that's only a certain category of people I know. Friends? A different kettle of fish altogether. Once I am told a secret by a friend, it will stay with me to the grave. My friends know this, and consequently I'm often the receptacle of confidences. I tend not to do that so much. It's rare for me to share stuff about myself (I can here giggling at the back - yes, I know this blog's a bit different.) But even then, it's the stuff that I'm comfortable with you knowing. There are secrets close to me that I have only shared with one person. And I know he keeps them safe.

If you're willing to have a go, then go for it. All of you people who are reading this, just have a go.

You have to have a more interesting life than I do.

Pastry, indeed.

Is this what my life has become?

Thursday, 6 December 2007

Voices in my Head

I've been off work to day, to get started on this Christmas shopping lark. It was no use just putting it off, sooner or later it's going to come and I needed to be ready for it. It's quite a mindless task, shopping, don't you think? If you lived inside my head (and for all I know, you might), this is what you would have heard.

ooh i've got the day off i'm not going to work i'm going in the opposite direction la la la la la la i'm not going to work sod it i've forgotten the list i've got no idea what was on the damn list i'll just have to make it up as i go along christ how long does it take to get to the Merry Hill it would have been quicker to bloody walk i've got no idea where we are i could be on the wrong bloody bus for all i know ooh i think i know her oh this looks a bit familiar it must be the right way after all thank christ for that it's nearly time to go back home again i think i'll just have a look in here that's a nice top i might get that it's not really christmas shopping but sod it where shall i go now i think i might go in here they'll do they look all right my feet hurt i wished i'd bought a different bag with me i could have put stuff in the big one this handbag's pissing me off it keeps slipping off my shoulder now my shoulder hurts as well is it lunchtime yet i'm starving christ it's only half past 10 i could do with going to the toilet i'll just have a look in here my throat hurts now i think i must have the flu that's all i need just before bloody christmas ooh he's nice looking and he's singing to Valerie by the Zutons he probably thinks i don't know who the Zutons are

"I thought I'd come to you to be served as you were singing so nicely"

oh christ i'm flirting with a boy who's young enough to be my son he must think i'm his aged aunt shall i tell him i went to see Radiohead no i don't think that will help christ what am i wearing when i'm flirting with people a coat that's 2 sizes too big and my son's shoes fabulous i look like one of those women who mutters and has a tartan shopping trolley and smells of wee oh i think i might get that i wish someone would buy one of these for me i really like it my feet hurt i'm hungry shall i have a coffee i haven't been to the toilet yet i wished i'd put some make up on ooh i like her coat god she must be 80 i've turned into an old woman i hope i look like that when i'm 80 i wished i looked like that now i wonder if i should have botox do i need to get better moisturiser i should use the stuff i have it does no good just sitting there my back hurts i'm too hot

" I doe no why thems bothered. All that work and them kids am just keep guwin rait up the rowud end"

christ i live about 10 miles away and it's like a different bloody language i wonder if they do it at night school black country for beginners i'm starving it must be time to get something to eat i'll have to wait for the toilet i'm not carrying all these bloody bags any further i hope i don't have to wait a long time for the bus it's bloody freezing i wished i'd brought my gloves with me are they in my pocket i must have left them on the stairs christ are we going a different way i've still got no bloody idea where we are ooh a sheep i wonder why we don't call them sheeps are they called sheeps sheeps sheeps no it's sheep i wonder if there are more words like that horse cow elephant monkey no can't think of any ooh is that a goose oh it's a binbag oh i forgot to put the bin out today i think i need to wear my glasses more often looks nothing like a bloody goose is that shop called Farmhouse Christ oh no it's Cheese christ where are my glasses i'm only supposed to wear them for reading is that a llama in their garden it can't be a llama is it real christ i've ricked my neck now my back hurts i really need the toilet now

I left the house at 8 this morning and returned about 2. Imagine that inside my head for 6 hours. 6 HOURS. I've edited the dull bits out.

And I wonder why I'm single.

Sunday, 2 December 2007

The Letter

Hello love,
I'm not really sure that I know where to start. We've always had such an honest friendship and we've never had any trouble finding something to talk about. It's not really like that though now, is it? It's probably because we don't see one another so much though now, which is hardly a surprise. I'd sort of planned on never seeing you again, although I think that was what I wanted for only a little while. It didn't really take very long before I missed having you around.
But it's still not easy. You broke my heart, you know. I'm not even sure if you know that. I know that I've always been fairly open about my feelings, so it probably won't come as anything of a surprise. But did you know about my heart? Or did you think that I'm such a strong woman, I'd kind of laugh it off, and just get on with things? No. You know me better than that.
I'm trying really hard to move on, you know. I've joined a dating agency, which is a bit scary if I'm honest. I haven't dared to upload a picture of myself yet, so heaven knows, everyone must think I'm a right munter. And you wouldn't believe the sorts of things that people put on there either. I've tried to be really honest on my profile, but goodness, there are some optimists out there. I've had a couple of e-mails so far, even without the photo. Or maybe because there isn't one on there, before you say it. I'm really not sure what sort of date I'm going to go on with someone from Illinois. I mean, jeez, think of the travel costs. Do we meet half way? In the sea? I'm not overly keen on the second one either. He seems a bit mean. Not with money, just a bit mean spirited in his profile. And I'm a little alarmed that his profile says that it doesn't matter where he would take someone on a date, as long as they had enough energy for when they got back home. It's a bit forward, don't you think? Crikey.
Like I said, scary old business, but time to move on. I feel like I need to get in there first before you do. It sounds ridiculous, I'm sure, but I know it would hit me really hard if you started dating someone. Logic tells me it shouldn't, but since when did logic feature in my life? I'd already thought of it when we met for coffee, although I didn't mention it to you. It was really awkward, wasn't it? I know that you wanted to check how I was, make sure that I was getting on OK, but I didn't want to talk about it. You see, some of the trust has gone. I don't think you were very honest with me. I think you already knew that there was no chance for us before we came home from our weekend, but you didn't want to say so. Do you remember on the last night, when we were standing outside the cinema, choosing what film to see? They both looked really good, so I said well, we could always see the other one when we get back. And do you remember what you said? Of course you don't, you've got a crap memory. You said that you were trying to decide if you went to see one of them at the cinema, which of them would you bother to watch on the TV. So you see, even then, you'd got no plans for us to see one another when we came back. And that hurts. You're going to say it was just an idle comment, and that I'm reading too much into it. I might be. But I might not.
I've been telling all of these people what a mess I've been, and how much I miss you, and it's true. I told them how I wouldn't be the person I was without you. They don't agree with me, you know. But then, you wouldn't either, would you? You've always said that I was a strong woman, that I could do anything, and that you were really proud of the woman I was. That it was down to me, not you. I don't know where we're going to go from here, either. We've got plans to go out for a drink before Christmas, because it's traditional, we do it every year. But I'm not sure, even though we've started talking a bit more, that it will be easy. That's sort of why I wrote this letter to you, so that I could have a think about things, and get them sorted out in my own mind.

It might help you too.

But you know that I'm never going to send it, don't you? Of course you do. You know me better than I know myself.

But I'm getting there.