Things were still going fine with #18 when I slipped up and made out with #19 instead. There wasn’t really much excuse or reason for it. It didn’t take place out of insecurity, which was a contributing factor when I’d cheated on my previous boyfriend. I guess it was just a sign of the things that were going to happen later, and also an indicator that perhaps monogamy is not my default setting.
But anyway, here’s what was going on. I went down to the Féile festival in Tipperary, with my brother and his wife. They were already separated, so it was a secret that she was coming with us, since the rest of our family already hated her. Catríona and #16 were also present. My brother had been a roadie there the previous year, and he found us someone’s back garden to camp in, right behind the stadium. The band I most wanted to see, in keeping with my indier-than-thou aspirations, was Swampshack, who you haven’t heard of. They played first thing on the Saturday morning and by the time I got in to the stadium it was too late.
The last night of the festival, Catríona disappeared off into someone’s tent in the main campsite. #16 wandered around with me. He was drunk and depressed. Like really depressed, like stage-an-intervention depressed. I was trying to manage the situation and finally, when he decided to go lie down and sleep it off, I felt exhausted. That was when I found myself alone with #19. He was a local boy, I think, or at least local-ish, he hadn’t travelled as far as I had. I don’t remember the specifics terribly well; I think he made a move and I didn’t resist. Excuses scrolled through my brain: sure we were only kissing, it was only a bit of fun, it wasn’t the end of the world, it didn’t mean anything, what was the problem? Besides, the earlier drama had been pretty draining for me and I deserved a break, right? And plus I’d been drinking so maybe I could pretend I wasn’t fully capable of remembering I had a boyfriend, or something. I decided I’d just get on with it and deal with the guilt later.
When I got home from Féile, #18 phoned me and we chatted a little about my trip. Then he asked, “Did you behave?” There’s something I really dislike about that phrasing. It sounds patronising to me. It’s something a parent might say to their child, and being talked to like that within the context of a relationship is something I’m uncomfortable with. On the other hand, it was of course reasonable for him to be concerned, and for him to be hurt when I hesitated over the answer. It was a mess.
After that, I didn’t kiss anyone else but him for over a year. I realise I don’t get a medal for this sort of thing.