#79 had taken part in the Blind Date event earlier that night, she’d been choosing between three contestants in the ‘not fussy’ round. By ‘not fussy’, I mean it was the mixed-gender round. She was choosing between two girls and a boy, and she chose the girl who was secretly in a monogamous relationship so it wasn’t like she was actually going to get any action there – although, what am I talking about? I was in a monogamous relationship too, and here’s how my night turned out. #81 was the girl that #79 didn’t choose.
I’d never met #81 before, but she showed up to the after-party and things happened. Afterwards, I had the whole guilt thing going on. I figured I would confess to #78 in person, and then I figured maybe I should just keep quiet about it since the incident was over and done with and what good would it do, and then I didn’t see him again anyway and we broke up a couple weeks later, so I guess that solved that problem.
I was in flat-out mourning for a couple of months and I couldn’t begin to even contemplate getting off with anybody. And then when I was in a better frame of mind, #81 was there again. We had this thing going on that I refused to define as anything for a while, and then finally I was like, hey, we’re going out together, aren’t we? And we were.
It was a new era of non-monogamy. Occasionally, mutual friends expressed concerns to me. They reckoned that #81 wasn’t really keen on this whole non-monogamy deal and was only going along with it in order to be with me at all. I was concerned about these claims, and I kept asking her if she was really okay with the whole deal. She insisted she was; she even said that she couldn’t imagine being in a monogamous relationship (although I think her feelings on that may have changed in recent years).
So anyway, we carried on seeing each other, and it was a lot of fun. I was kind of a drunken wretch around that time – which, admittedly, is probably my default setting – and there was the VIP room at La Belle Angèle; there was the time we went to the Bloco Vomit gig that I was so excited about and then I spent the entire concert passed out on a table; there was the night we had sex on Bruntsfield Links (overlooked by my flat, but I guess I couldn’t wait); and god, although the non-monogamous arrangement was straightforward enough, I still could’ve negotiated it better, like when friends were round drinking at my place until only she and #85 were left and they both looked at me and I chose #85 and I shouldn’t have. Not that night anyway.
I remember one night we were at the Cauldron with a bunch of people, and something, some tiny tiny comment, made me think of #78 for whatever reason, and suddenly I had a Moment right there. I said to #81 that it had just hit me and she held my hand or whatever and said gently, “He’s gone now,” and I thought, well, yeah, but I needed to get some space. I went outside the pub and leaned back against the wall and it was a nice summer’s evening and I even remember what I was wearing, I’d got this neon green hair and I was in a bright yellow t-shirt and orange jeans and silver hologram DMs and I looked all colourful. I mean I looked pretty conspicuous and people usually had something to say about that. And people were walking by and I was crying, you know, just for a minute or whatever, but still. And I guess it might’ve been hard work to be going out with me while I was still dealing with that stuff.
When #81 slept with a couple other women I was actually delighted because I had been worried that I was the one getting all the action. But finally, after the summer, she broke up with me. She told me later that she did it because her friends were giving her all this pressure about the non-monogamy thing; she did it to kind of show them that she had a backbone, and yet it was all kind of messed up from the start, because they were the ones who had decided that it wasn’t good for her to be with me, and it was kind of like I was being typecast as the awful insensitive one and she was being typecast as the vulnerable spineless one. (Okay, I know you’re reading and I’m concerned about how I’ve written this bit, because it’s how I remember we talked about it after the fact, but I don’t know if I’ve inadvertently rewritten the story due to the passage of time.)
Anyway, we had re-runs. A whole bunch of re-runs, I guess. First there was the night at the Citrus Club, and I took her back to my place, and in the morning #98 was all “Oh my god, you slept with a girl? Yeah I know you said you were bi, but I thought it was all talk”, which as we all know is exactly the sort of thing I want to hear.
There was the time when she moved away to Brighton. I went to her leaving do. I remember it was a bit of a drama for me because I got harassed by this guy in the toilets at the Brass Monkey and I was actually afraid for my safety. Anyway, I was living with #117 and she lived a couple streets away, so we walked home together and as we said goodbye she kissed me. It was a beautiful moment. When I got into my flat I felt a little afraid in case #117 might have chanced to look out the window and see us, and I had a pretty good hunch that if he had done, he might not mention it immediately, he might wait to see if I confessed, so I had to be careful. I always believed honesty was the best policy until I lived with him and realised how much hard work it could be. I guess he didn’t see us, though, and I wisely kept it to myself.
The thing about #81 is that she’s been there through the lot. Even when she’s not lived in this city. We’ve helped each other through a whole lot of things. I felt really comfortable with her when I was going out with her; I found it a really positive relationship. I also find our friendship really positive. She helped me move out when I left the Bruntsfield flat; she supported me patiently through the relationship of doom; she spent time with me after my mother’s death. She also stayed at my place when she came back from Greece, which coincided with the six weeks I had to take off work after having surprise surgery to remove an ovarian cyst the size of a melon. She’s contacted me when she’s been having a hard time and I’ve been glad to be there for her. She is a really fucking super person and I love her to bits and when #117 said she was one of my most loyal friends he had a point.