I was sitting on the steps outside the library the first time we spoke. He lived round the corner from me and hung out with some of my housemates. A few minutes into our conversation, the god man showed up and headed straight for me. The god man was an old man who hung around the university with placards about how evil homosexuality and adultery were. He also picketed Pride and Beltane. “Why’s your hair green?” he demanded of me. “What’s wrong with the colour God made it?” I spent the next five minutes nodding politely as he proceeded to witness to me. I would’ve preferred to cut short the conversation, but maybe I felt like I was at 6A all over again.
Anyway, #30 and I started to hang out, and he sent me a marvellous 3D Pope postcard from his travels over the Easter break. The night before term started back up, we sat in my room with a bottle of vodka and a mission to get drunk. Eventually, as we lay crumpled on the floor, he proposed that on the count of three we’d do something about the state we’d gotten ourselves into. I figured I knew what that was going to be, but it was also scary in case I made a move and discovered I’d had totally the wrong idea. But on the count of three we kissed. Result!
We went out for six or seven weeks. The details are a little blurry due to how long ago it was. Mostly, I remember him being very cool and funny, and me getting all depressed and insecure towards the end. It was fine for the first while and then suddenly I needed reassurance all the time and felt horribly disempowered for being that way. It’s still hard to figure out why I was like that, but here’s what I reckon: my previous two relationships had been long-term, committed L-word things, in which I’d never had to worry that anything was going to go wrong because I knew for sure that they were stable. And I had sort of wanted and/or expected this one to follow that model. And because it wasn’t doing that, I felt it was going to be like the short-lived doomed relationships I’d experienced aged fourteen and fifteen. Hello, binary expectations! On top of this drama going on in my head, I was generally depressed for reasons I don’t even remember any more, and I was calling the Samaritans and going to counselling. Basically, I was suddenly a lot more needy than you want someone to be when you’ve been seeing them for six weeks.
So finally we were out with a bunch of friends in the Pear Tree beer garden and he was telling me he wasn’t sure he could support me while I was going through this stuff. “Are you saying that’s it?” I asked. He paused for a long time and then said, “That’s it.” I got up and walked out and my friend Roxanne came after me. I was crying and messy and I wanted a cigarette and somebody on the street gave me one and awkwardly said something about hoping that whatever was wrong would get better soon, and then I threw up and then Roxanne bundled me round to #28’s place.
I ignored the hell out of #30 for the remainder of the term, and referred to him as the stupid fucker because frustration sometimes needs to be dealt with in petty juvenile ways, and I continued to be depressed with added moping. After the summer, I finally felt like I’d gotten the hell over it, probably thanks to having gotten some more action and also my hopeless crushes on people like the goddess of the mall and the girl from Minnesota, so the next time I saw him in the street I said hi and we chatted as if nothing had happened. A couple of years later, we started properly hanging out together. He was still cool and funny and I secretly wanted to propose some kind of friends with benefits arrangement, but didn’t in case it backfired horribly.