That single pill.

Bruce Springsteen’s ‘I’m on Fire’ is James’ song, a handsome, kind and very sexy Australian I met in Barcelona. After nearly a month, I think I’m ready to talk about him now.

James was a one-night stand. The best I’ve had so far, we met sharing views on the monarchy, then our shared love of Bon Iver and The Boss before chatting about our lives over drinks, fags and the offer of a red rose (which, though I refused, he would have bought had he a smaller note than his 50). James was lovely.

He invited me to his room for JD, which I swigged out of the bottle since coke was not to be found (classy). Escalation was foreseen, and enjoyed.

What I didn’t expect was his reaction post-enjoyment.

“No. Please, no.”

With his head in his hands, it was obvious what had happened. I tried not to panic. It was evident that he was.

“It’s ok, we can get it sorted.”

I remember holding each other for a bit whilst we sorted out our emotions. He offered for me to stay, but I couldn’t. I had to go. I needed to cry.

I had completely underestimated the trauma of taking the morning after pill, more so in a foreign country after a one night stand.

I cried in McLovin’s arms for at least half an hour after leaving his hostel room.

“What are you going to do in the morning?”

“Take the morning after pill.”

“And what are you not?”

“Pregnant.”

If it hadn’t been for McLovin, the single person who knew until I told the suspicious Bethlehem two nights later, I don’t know how I would have coped. She figuratively slapped me across the cheeks, raising and reassuring my drunken spirits.

I did not sleep a wink that night, and neither did James. We met as we’d agreed, at 9.30 downstairs, in order to get the drug together. Quizzed by the Spanish pharmacist, it is not an experience that I’d particularly like to repeat. Refusing his invitation to what I perceived to be a guilty offer of coffee (which I regret from the bottom of my heart, looking back), I left him by the lift, running away to my room in order to swallow the single pill, in the comfort of McLovin’s presence.

That was the last time I ever saw James.

That following day was fucking hard. I was an emotional wreck, trying to hide any emotion from the others who I didn’t want to know at that time. I pretended that I was ill, dealing with lectures on how “it was the heat” and that I should eat or drink or lie down or whatever, masking the real reason behind my shaky behaviour.

Nearly a month on, I have learnt much from my experience in Barcelona with James. I have learned how volatile my defensive attitude towards men can be. I have learned that I need to embrace romance rather than shut it down, be it from guilt or not. I have learned that not all men are arseholes that leave you to deal with complications utterly alone: some ask you if you’d like to share their bed for comfort, Google information to aid the process, come with you to get the necessary tools and even ask you to sit down and chat over coffee afterwards. I have learned not to instantly distrust men solely based on my own experiences, to stop being so self-toxic and to boost my confidence. I have learnt that casual sex isn’t always as casual as one may want and I’ve learnt that taking the morning after pill is emotionally draining. Most of all, I’ve discovered an overwhelming compassion for other women that have had to go that step further in aborting; I can only imagine how traumatic such an experience would be. The truth is, if this was so hard for me, how in the world will I be able to cope with an abortion if I’ll ever need to have one?

Let’s hope this is a rhetorical question which will never need to be answered.

Waiting for independence

Sipping coffee opposite the illuminated TV screen on a rainy Sunday afternoon, the dog sleeping in her bed and my grandmother’s hand-made quilt over my post-shower perfumed lap, a strange feeling came over me. I felt a sense of surrealism, disbelief at what is my present life. My feet, though firm on the sofa, felt as if they couldn’t reach ground, as though they couldn’t grip reality.

Two days ago I made my return from a week in Barcelona. In this foreign, urban, exciting land I experienced relative freedom. The money that I had saved for a year funded this week, cementing my independence, and it was I who controlled my own movements, my own nourishment, my own adventures. I spent it in the company of my friends, without supervision, just us. Alone. Independent.

In a week and a half’s time, I’ll be making my way to a festival in North Wales with some friends, camping and drinking to the screaming chords of electric guitars and the not-so-harmonious shouts of lead singers. Again I will be free. For four days, I will once again experience a form of personal freedom.

A week after that, my A level results will be placed in my hand, with the decision of where I will be spending the next four years of my life. Uncertainty clouds this day. Fear and helplessness has pinpointed the date, the 13th of August, in my crazed brain, haunting my dreams.

Frustration at having to work and having to wait for any certainty about my future is slowly killing me. My upcoming week is crazy: I’m volunteering tomorrow, I have another voluntary induction on Tuesday, the dentist on Thursday, work on Friday and Saturday, my grandmother and my mother arriving on that same day and volunteering again on Monday. I guess cramming my life is one way of dealing with the lack of control I have presently.

Barcelona made me realise that I need to travel once I leave university. It sounds so cliché, but I need to have a taste of different cultures for my own self-satisfaction. I want to see France, Italy, but also the East. I want to see India, Pakistan, Eastern Turkey, Syria, down to northern Africa, Algeria, Egypt, Palestine and Israel. I want to buy one of those scratch map posters and be able to scratch off areas that I never imagined I’d see. Slovakia and Slovenia, Australasian islands, even as near home as Scotland and Ireland. I want to work for a year and then experience everything these countries can offer me. I’m just gagging for excitement and for adventure. If I were a man, I would do it right now, take a year out and do it. But, as early morning Barcelona showed me, being a lone 18-year-old girl traveller would not be a safe option.

Perhaps it is this new-found dream of another life that fuels my dissatisfaction in my own. Until that unsavoury date, August the 13th, comes knocking, I don’t know what’s ahead of me. I’m scared but I cannot wait for the imminent independence which I hope this date will bring.

Fired. Or am I?

Two weeks into my new summer job, it seems that I am already about to get the sack.

My friends and I booked a holiday to Spain months ago, landing on a date mid-July. It cannot be moved now, nor can it be cancelled as it is our first and last holiday together as a group. It has an emotional significance for each and every one of us.

Unfortunately, in applying for my job, this trip was far from my head and I honestly forgot to mention it.

Since starting the job, I knew this was an issue. I asked my co-workers what I should do and the clearest answer was to leave a note on the calendar to say that some dates were unavailable for me, but to leave it a few days so that the boss wouldn’t instantly fire me, which the girls thought she would.

I did so, and it seemed to be ok, as I received a text today from a co-worker giving me the dates of my next shifts.

This was until it was made clear that a co-worker was away that same week and couldn’t work her allocated shifts.

I received a text of apparent “shame in me” from my boss and a threat to give my job to another, and that we’ll speak tomorrow. I was then on the phone with a co-worker and I heard that my future shifts have since been struck off apart from tomorrow.

The thing is, I’m scared of my boss, and I don’t think I particularly want the job anymore, following this text. I know that it should have been stated from the beginning that this week was a no-go, but then I wouldn’t have had the job according to the girls.

At least I’ve been paid for the work I’ve done, which was good money.

I do sort of want to leave now. The shifts are erratic so being rid of the job would mean that I could volunteer, run, read and also be able to spend a week in Kent with my family and the Eisteddfod at the start of August. Though I wouldn’t have much money, and won’t be able to have that weekend in Paris I’ve longed for all year, I could enjoy myself without care.

What if I don’t get sacked. The job offers good money, something to occupy much of my time, and current Welsh literary knowledge. Chatting with my co-workers is also a plus. It will be different, without doubt; I think it would take time to settle into the swing of things again.

I know that this situation is of my own doing, and I don’t blame my boss for being annoyed / angry. I think what’s hit me is the “shame” in me, as I try my best to please people and being “shameful” brings back memories that haunt me from events surrounding my parents’ separation. I hate and despise being called “shameful”.

I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow.

Funnily enough, I actually wouldn’t mind getting fired.

Somebody that I used to know

The Artist pissed me off big time today and it’s resulted in a textual argument and his de-friending of me on Facebook.

Some of my friends were out in town last night celebrating the end of their exams, where he was also enjoying himself, but rather too much in harassing my friends with his strange words and inappropriate touching.

The guy’s a complete arse and after hearing some of what he said and did to my mates, I had to react. I couldn’t let it go. I felt somewhat responsible as I am the link between him and my friends, a constant starter of drunken conversation.

I won’t get into the details but I essentially told him to stop being creepy towards girls, especially my friends, and that I know that he is a decent man beneath his bravado but he isn’t showing it at the moment. I apologised for sending the text, saying that I was protecting my friends and it was my duty to protect them.

Evidently, he didn’t take it well, as is understandable, and the argument spiralled beyond control, though I had not particularly intended it to.

It’s funny. This last communication between us marks the end of our relationship, whatever it had come to be.

I am not sorry for that.

The time to move on has to come someday, though social media tends to greatly extend the period before this happens. Now that I have no contact with him via modern technology, our links have been severed once and for all.

We live in the same small town; I will see him most days walking the streets, but perhaps the locking of eyes will now be the sole source of our acceptance of mutual existence.

I honestly don’t care. I’ve had enough of his games and pathetic attitude and I feel like I can now wash my hands of him and move on. As he told me, “This conversation is over. Goodbye and have a nice life.”

Fuck you, Artist, but I also hope you have a nice life. I hope you see the goodness that I know is in your soul and revive it. I hope you find someone, singular or plural, to love and be loved by and that you live happily to a ripe old age.

Best of luck, thanks for the experience, but now you’re just somebody that I used to know.

An Utterly Beautiful Man

The new plot twist in my pathetic love life came last night through my inviting home of a cute badminton player 5 years my senior.

I wasn’t expecting much. A quick shag, or two, and an awkward leaving at the break of dawn.

How wrong was I.

He is the most wonderful man I’ve ever met. He was attentive, complimentary, sweet, courteous and just plain lovely. I fell asleep entangled in his arms, bathed in his little kisses and woke up to sober desires and laughter. I felt attractive, powerful and wanted by his cheeky smile and the way he wouldn’t let me get up to clean the aftermath of my party (he even rugby tackled me to the floor and lay on my leg so I couldn’t go).

The most genuine guy I’ve ever encountered, this beautiful human being told me that he’d only slept with two girls before, and that they were his girlfriends at the time, in addition to being completely taken aback when I told him that I appreciated him doing things to me, incredulous at my reasoning behind this (concerning the Artist’s preferences). McLovin, who had also stayed at mine with her boyfriend, got on like a house on fire with him, which just shows his brilliant character.

It’s sad that nothing can happen as he lives tens of miles away over the English border, and nowhere near my University locations either. There’s no point pursuing it as we’d only end up getting annoyed and hurt, so I decided not to give him my number or exchange Facebook details.

But oh my goodness, what a lovely night. This gorgeous example of human kind has shown me what the male race can produce. I have a rekindled belief in our male counterparts after being on the receiving end of his caress and compliments. This guy is perfection; some lucky girl will be incredibly happy in his company.

Me, I have seen what it is to be respected, enjoyed and wanted.

It felt so good.

Seeing through the Artist’s paint

When I see his laser eyes burning through mine, my stomach turns.

I saw him on a night out, spent the early morning hours in his company and went home alone. I saw him on a bus another evening. He asked me to meet him thrice. I agreed to his last invitation of ice cream.

The weather changed dramatically so that when the day we were meeting came, it was dark and damp. The ice cream turned into a cold bench with a beautiful view which then turned into hot coffee.

The two hours I spent with him were annoying, strange, pathetic and yet nice, easy and warm.

He is self-centered, egotistical, ambition-less and superficial at times.

I see more than these stupid traits of his.

He is this man who has never known the intimate love of another. Since I met him a month or two after the death of his father, I see him as a confused, comfort-seeking man in need of a warm hug and a kiss. A proud lothario, I think that he is wary of his relationship with me. He has never, as far as I can see, had someone stick around for as long as I have, and to still be attracted to that person. I think that I scare him as I make him unsure, challenge him and yet evidently care for him. I am also his complete opposite: I am an open book, whilst he is a closed DVD case with a corrupted disc.

He lies, he creates ideal situations and revels in them. He has little silent tantrums when I don’t comply to his set of rules. He likes to tell absurd and usually pointless stories, which is a queue to switch off. I call him by the new name he has chosen for himself, rather than his true Christian name which he still uses as his desktop sign-in. He only complimented me for the first time this last meeting.

I want to show him what I see in him. I want him to discover that he’s more than all that. I want him to see his own warmth, the affectionate man that I find from time to time in his powerful glances and want of closeness. I want him to see how he could be more than the room-mate he idealises, the attractive yet awfully sleazy talent-less artist. I want him to see his own potential, how he could get himself back on track, find a passion in a subject and enjoy himself. I want him to see that he can truly be happy.

I felt similarly towards WelshNash, the beautiful smile stained with the use of marijuana. He had so much potential. Presently arrested multiple times, aggressive and even admitted into hospital for mental illness, I wanted to save him from himself. I tried.

Is this what I want to do to the Artist?

Will falling in love with me save him?

Hurt. (Death and longing)

My grand-father died a fortnight ago and it’s hit me hard.

I can’t believe that the silver-haired man in the tatty oilskins and muddy boots with his twine around his waist isn’t here anymore. I can’t believe that the man with the wry smile and the sly wink has gone. I can’t believe that the man that tickled my feet to wake me up, the man who let me drive a car for the first time, crashing into a tractor, is buried in the cemetery of my childhood chapel.

It’s completely bizarre.

Every Sunday, we’d go to my grand-parents for a chin wag and to warm up by the fire. He was always there, in his chair, with his large reading glasses magnifying his blue eyes.

It wasn’t a great shock to hear of his death; he’d been ill for a few months and had been hospitalised, and had only just come home. He had carers looking after him and was bed-bound. He’d also suffered from Alzheimer’s disease for a year or two.

But, I didn’t get to say goodbye. I was going to stay with him for the night on the Friday. He died on the Thursday.

This haunted me for a while.

My heart feels like it has been throttled and emptied of all blood. I find myself vacant of any feeling or emotion often. And then I remember, and I seek for comfort. I seek a warm shoulder to lie my head on, strong arms to hide me from pain.

I seek him, the Artist.

Around a month ago, I told him that I couldn’t do it anymore. I couldn’t face constantly worrying over what he did or didn’t do, what he said or didn’t say and whether I would hear from him during the week to come. I hated not ever knowing where I stood. It was tearing me apart and I couldn’t concentrate for days following our meetings.

I told him when I was about to leave one night and when I got up, he told me to sit back down. He was upset. I was upset.

“Can’t we just stay as we are?”

No, we can’t. It’s too complicated. I’m afraid that if I carry on, I won’t be able to leave. It’s better to do it now.

We hugged for a while and it was lovely.

The thing is, we left it with my pissed off shout at him as he said that I was being over-dramatic.

And now I miss him.

I hurt even more, knowing that he’s gone. He was never there in the first place, for goodness’ sake. But it doesn’t stop me.

I seek him.

I grieve for my grand-father, and I seek the man I wanted to be mine.

The Saturday story

On the night out that the Artist and I were going to spend the night together (we haven’t actually slept together as of yet), I met a guy.

Across a bar I saw him, and not too long after Runner told me to stop staring and I turned around, he was there asking whether he could take the empty seat beside me. God, he’s attractive with his blonde hair and smooth features.

Not too long into the conversation, he asked for my name. After seeing that he was wincing a bit, I asked for his.

We were incredulous. Laughing, we groaned at each other.

“But you’re so … fit !”

“And you’re so attractive !”

It turns out that this incredibly handsome man is the son of my mum’s best friend, and the brother of a friend of mine.

He was too lovely to leave, so after some chatting and kissing he gave me his number, and sure enough later on in the night he surprised me by waiting outside a nightclub for me to come out.

We spent the next hour or so in each other’s company since my friends deserted me without a word. I grabbed some pizza, and as we waited, he held me in his arms where I snuggled, trying to warm him up as much as doing it for comfort. He walked with me as I ate (he refused a piece and tried to shove it in a bush) though he was shivering and would not leave me until he knew that I was getting a taxi back. He was the ultimate gentleman.

Throughout this, I was waiting for news from the Artist who said that he’d come down from an event up the hill at the opposite end of town around 3. It was 3.30 and an hour or so earlier he’d told me to “hang on” as his friend had gotten into a fight (at around 7 I received a text saying that the friend had been arrested). He never made it and I went home, alone, after ordering my new acquaintance to go back inside the club (where the stamp they’d given me wouldn’t work again as it hadn’t been done properly) to get warm.

Moreover, Saturday was laughable and yet weirdly lovely.

I just wish the Artist would have been able to come down, and I wish he’d set up another date. Soon.

The evolution of an “arrangement”

The Artist is becoming a weekly staple.

Our relationship is also evolving; from our tense and overtly sexual start, we’re now becoming warmer, sharing things about ourselves and I can sense his rising respect towards me as I gain power in the relationship. Little mannerisms are changing too, with new experiences such as his pulling me towards him whilst I was laughing at him for being vain, his joining my perch on the window sill and the fact that we cuddled and chatted for more than an hour (that was a first) proving that our arrangement is becoming natural, easy and carefree.

I didn’t expect this at the start. In all fairness I thought that he would annoy the fuck out of me and that I’d spend enough time with him to get what I want and then leave. I think that’s what he thought too. I didn’t even think that we’d last this long. I know that by now he finds me as intriguing as I have come find him, in addition to starting to see me as his equal, despite the slight age gap, and I like that. Not many people intrigue me, and I think less intrigue him.

It’s funny because I still don’t want a monogamous relationship with him: I like him a lot, find him fascinating and extremely attractive but I don’t think subjecting ourselves completely to one another will ever work. What I can see happening is us becoming closer and having more than just a sexual relationship, but to what extent I don’t know nor mind.

I’m happy with our situation. I enjoy our Tuesday nights together and always feel good afterwards.

I’ll leave with what he left me:

“Until the next time.”

Poly-amorous jealousy

The artist and I have spun a vicious web around ourselves.

From my perspective we have entered an arrangement of poly-amorous casual sex and in that arrangement the polyamory was clearly stated. The last time I was at his I ended up sleeping with his room-mate after sleeping with him, for goodness’ sake. I knew and know exactly what it was and is, which is why last night is messing with me.

I saw him kissing another girl whilst out with my friends last night and I got jealous.

I swore at him and it affected me for the rest of the night, even though it shouldn’t as I knew that I wasn’t, nor am, the only girl.

I have come to three possibilities:

1) I was drunk. Drunk. I didn’t have my senses and so I couldn’t rationalise the situation effectively. Nothing has changed.

2) It was seeing it that made me crumble. I don’t care if I don’t know with whom, but last night I did know and it’s that that hit me.

3) I’m starting to develop feelings for him. I’ve told myself time after time that I can’t and that I wouldn’t, but my drunken emotions show that this is untrue and that really I just want a monogamous relationship after all.

Please don’t let it be the latter. I don’t think it is as the second seems about right, but there is a possibility and it actually scares the fuck out of me.

Yet, in reality, jealousy is normal and to have not felt jealous probably would have been stranger than actually doing so.

I guess I’ll have to sit this one out.