I was kind of on a roll. This being single again thing suited me well. #121 was still in the picture; #119 was vaguely still in the picture; I ran into #85 one night and we spent the evening bickering before we kissed at the end of it. I’d gotten stoned with #117 one night which made me all wistful for the messy confines of our relationship, but this was easily solved by a) not getting stoned with him again and b) not really seeing him again either.
I finished work at half midnight one night and went straight to meet my friends at a club. I was drawn to #123, who was sitting on the stage. My friend Stephanie wandered around the venue, returning every so often to report, “He’s still there and he’s still cute.” Finally I decided to take action. We hadn’t even made eye contact, but recent events had renewed my confidence and I walked over and introduced myself without having much of a plan beyond that.
It turned out he couldn’t really hear me over the music, and suggested we take the conversation to the hallway. And somehow, we did indeed manage to have a conversation. We talked until the venue closed, and then I went to some sort of after-party with him.
We made out, of course, and also we discovered we were born on the exact same day; I was several hours older than him. He asked me if life had been good to me, something like that. For some unknown reason, my response was to provide him with a clunky, long-winded summary of events beginning, again for some unknown reason, with losing my job in 2001 and taking off to Japan. I don’t know why I suddenly decided this stuff was relevant. My chat is rubbish.
Anyway, we were walking back to the centre of town later; it was 6am, daylight but nobody around. We’d already agreed to meet again. Then #123 asked something about what we might do for our first date. And inside, I panicked. Those pesky dates again! My fear of commitment is seriously out of proportion (if you think this is bad, just wait. JUST WAIT). I took his phone number, but I didn’t give him mine, and we parted at the foot of the Mound. On my way home I waved good morning to a solitary security guard and he waved back. I scuffed through the cherry blossoms and sang a little Liz Phair, a little Suzanne Vega. I felt good. After sleeping for a while I took myself off to Glasgow to get a new tattoo. And I thought sometimes about calling #123, but I didn’t.
I saw him at the same club a month later. He came over and said hi, and we chatted a little. “Sorry for not calling you,” I said. I didn’t really want to offer any explanation but I wanted to somehow acknowledge it. “That’s okay,” he said. “These things happen.”
I didn’t see him for a long time and then we wound up at the same parties occasionally. One night not so long ago, I gave him some crisps when I met him walking home drunk. He reached into a bush and retrieved a birthday cake. It was classy.
This January, I showed up at Queer Mutiny drunker than I thought I was, and stumbled around blurrily making out with people all night, and #123 showed up out of the blue. It’s hazy. But I started to sober up sometime after 4am when he and I landed in a flat called The Shambles to hang out with #225 and her friend. Then #123 walked his bike back to my place and we stayed up talking till 7. It was good; there was a lot of personal stuff discussed, a lot of opening up. When we woke up later on, it was like that too.
When he was leaving he asked for my number and I gave it to him. I didn’t hear from him after that, which seemed only fair given last time. Only, a week or two later I got a call from an unfamiliar number, and the reception was so bad I hung up after a few seconds, and then hoped it hadn’t been #123 saying “Hi! This is #123” only to hear a click at the other end.