It took me a while to be truly okay with the fact that #141 was better suited to #128 than I was. I wanted to believe that #128 and I were supposed to be the success story, hindered only by the small detail of not living in the same country, but #128 and #141 started off living in different countries too, and that didn’t stop them. The fact that their bond was greater didn’t render my bond with #128 meaningless, but it did make more sense for them to be together. The amount of things they have in common still amazes me. (If I was to meet my own equivalent, what would that look like? Does it even matter? But it works for them, of course it does.)
I first met #141 in Nottingham the night after #129 and I flew in from Spain. #141 had already gotten together with #128 by this point, on a trip to Berlin, but the relationship wasn’t defined as anything yet. I knew #141 from the internet, where she impressed (and impresses) me frequently with her insight, razor-sharp wit and debate skills. #128 said I ought to get off with #141 when we met. I was into that.
My head was messy, though, because my high-speed adventures with #129 were almost over; our relationship was disintegrating. First of all, going travelling with someone for a few weeks is always quite an undertaking, no matter who the person is, and we hadn’t spent much time in anyone else’s company while we were away. (As Withered Hand put it, “I knew you so long I ran out of cool things to say.” Except I’d actually only known #129 for a few months, really, and already I felt like all my stories had been told.) On top of that, communication was breaking down into that horrible unspoken mess whereby I felt needy and craved reassurance and couldn’t work out when I’d stopped being the cool confident person whose company #129 had been drawn to in the first place. Finally, our last night in Spain had involved a ridiculous drunken argument, mid-graffiti spree, over the correct spelling of ‘bourgeoisie’. It culminated in scarily aggressive behaviour from #129, and me getting flashbacks to being with #117 and crying uncontrollably, and although we technically made up I didn’t feel safe again.
All of which is to say that I was kind of going through the motions the night that #141 joined us. I was trying to act normal and unconcerned about the unspoken fact that I would never see #129 again once our trip was over. Maybe at the time he actually believed we would meet again. I didn’t.
We were all staying at #151‘s place. When #141 and I said goodnight after staying up drinking late, we started making out instantly. #129 gallantly offered to take the single bed upstairs, leaving me alone with #141 on the sofa-bed in the living-room.
It was good, of course it was good, but I desperately wished my head didn’t happen to feel so messed up at the time. In some way, I felt like a liar.
The first time wasn’t the only time. There was York, her and me and others. There was Berlin and the night we had drunken sex in a park, even while I was still uncomfortable about #128 and #141 being together. I don’t know: emotions don’t always make sense. The three of us negotiated the non-monogamy thing as well as we could, and sometimes it worked better than others. And nowadays, that chapter is over for me, but not for them.