Bluetip were playing Giro’s in Belfast and my friend Joanna and I decided it was a good time to go back and visit our families. By the time the ferry docked, Some Days Better had already started playing their set. “Taxi?” offered a man outside the ferry terminal, and we rushed towards him, relieved. He led us to a black cab in the car park, let us in, then excused himself to go and look for more passengers. We sat stationary for five minutes, growing increasingly frantic. In Edinburgh when you get a taxi it takes you straight to where you want to go. I guess we had been spoiled.
Anyway, so I finally met #115 at that gig. I knew him from a message board, and then we’d been e-mailing, and then we’d graduated to actual phone calls. Things did not happen the first night we met, but it still seemed like a foregone conclusion to me. And it was me who ultimately made the move, and then … then I found myself in a relationship.
This was not really what I had bargained for.
I mean, on some level I wanted to make a go of it. I liked the idea of being in a proper relationship. Also I was unemployed and broke and maybe it helped to feel like there was a bit of stability somewhere. But we really weren’t all that compatible. On top of that, I had never wanted to have a long-distance relationship again, and, okay, if I really had to have one, it would have to be non-monogamous. I failed at negotiating this. Of course, I wouldn’t have wanted #115 to go along with non-monogamy given that he wasn’t keen on it, but then it just meant that I accepted his terms, didn’t really like it, and stuck it out anyway instead of ending the thing. (Oh and plus I eventually cheated, which anyone could’ve seen coming.)
Like, there was one night we talked on the phone when we were both drunk, and I guess we disagreed on the monogamy issue again, or on some other parameters of our relationship. The next morning, hungover and bleary, I switched on my phone to find a voicemail from him saying that it obviously wasn’t going to work out, and, you know, so long. I spent the day feeling mopey, but not the right kind of mopey. It was more that, despite my best intentions, I wasn’t as invested in the relationship as he was, and so it kind of stung that he was the one who’d finished it. Except it turned out that he didn’t remember the phone call, and we were still together, and I knew I should have felt relieved but I didn’t, not beyond the minor satisfaction of not having been dumped.
We lasted for three or four months, somehow, and then I decided it really needed to end. But I didn’t want to drop something like that on him by phone or e-mail, so it happened when he came over to visit. Bad planning; I guess there is no right way to do these things. I was, to be honest, quite upset and feeling horribly guilty, but he was the one who was worse off.
“Last chance to change your mind,” he said before he left Edinburgh.
I did not change my mind. I did my best to focus on my surroundings – which, unfortunately, mainly involved #117 – and for a few months after the break-up I got messages from #115 when he was drunk. They were overly melodramatic. I’d check my voicemail in the morning and think, hmm, what am I supposed to do with this? And then I’d delete it. I don’t know where exactly I fit on his list of significant relationships, but I should probably have saved him all the bother in the first place.