Leither in London – Issue 65

Posted by in June's Magazine

My friend Mary says my life is like a rom-com. She doesn’t mean that I’m hilarious and on my way to a happy ending. What she’s really saying is that I live with my head in the clouds, invite drama at every juncture, and am slightly ridiculous. She may have a point.

Take last weekend. The plan was for a boozy afternoon in Hampstead’s finest beer garden but come mid-morning, the sky had turned an ominous shade of grey and the wind was getting wilder by the minute. Pottering around, getting ready, I suddenly heard an almighty crash coupled with a hysterical scream. What’s Debi broken now? I wondered to myself, leaving my bedroom door firmly closed (she breaks things a lot so it’s sometimes easier to pretend I haven’t noticed). “SHIT! CARRIE!” She yelled, crashing through the door. “YOUR SWING!”



Okay, this was more serious than I thought. I’d bought said swing – a porch swing if you will – for my 30th birthday, and was anticipating many warm evenings out there with a glass of wine being rocked gently to-and-fro (yes, I did say 30, not 60). One day it would be moved to sit proudly on an actual porch of an actual house where a beautiful man would sit and read me poetry (okay, I may have watched The Notebook too many times).

“What’s happened?” I demanded, pushing past her out the patio doors to the terrace. And there, where the swing once sat, was…nothing. “What the…?” I stuttered as Debi leaned over the side and ominously pointed down: “It was the wind,” she said. “It just picked it up and…well look.” And there it was, my beloved swing teetering on the edge of the warehouse roof next door. “Oh. My. God.” I managed. “How the fuck are we going to get it back up?”
Fortunately Liv appeared and went into teacher mode: “Calm down and call the council,” she instructed, “And do it fast, if the wind catches it again, it could fall all the way down.” “Down, as in to the ground?” I asked. “The council won’t be any use, I’m calling the fire brigade.”

Hearing the approaching sirens, Liv and I dashed downstairs, only to find the worst had happened – the remnants of my swing lay in bits scattered all over the road, broken, splintered, and beyond repair. “Is this yours, girls?” asked one of the firemen. “You’re bloody lucky. It could have fallen on someone.” I digested this. “Do you think that might have broken its fall?” I asked sincerely.
A triple vodka and red bull later, I’d finally regained the power of speech but I was still far from seeing the funny side. “Carrie, lets get to the pub, it’ll make you feel better.” Liv somehow managed to convince me, and twenty minutes later I found myself sitting opposite her on the tube staring blankly at the feet of my fellow passengers. I noticed a charming pair of scruffy Converse among the usual medley of sandals and brogues, and instinctively looked up to see if they were attached to a similarly charming man – they often are. They were this time too. But not just any man…

Felix was a friend of my old flatmate. I’d decided he was adorable the first time I met him, when he was all scrunched up on our couch in a grey hoodie complaining of a hangover. Inevitably it wasn’t long before we ended up in a clinch in my bedroom. Deciding an uncomfortable hello was best avoided, I put my headphones on, looked the other way, and hoped he wouldn’t notice me, but the next thing I knew, he’d sat himself down in the seat beside me, and proceeded to pat his knee invitingly at the very pretty girl I’d only just noticed he was with.

Could have been me, I thought to myself wistfully, before remembering why it wasn’t. Felix and I had kissed yes, but it was only once and for very good reason – it was terrible. He’d practically choked me with his tongue, making the classic error of equating volume of saliva with degree of passion. I smiled to myself, then something in me clicked (the next phase of shock maybe?) and I had an uncontrollable urge to burst out laughing. “What you smiling at?” boomed Liv from the other side of the carriage. I made frantic shushing actions, hoping she’d get the hint then just about managed to keep it together until we got off and I really let it go, collapsing onto the platform in hysterics.
By the time, we reached the pub; I’d finally regained my composure. “Wow, you’ve had a rollercoaster of a morning,” said Jane when we regaled her with the tale. “At least you’re safely here now. The drama’s over.” “Wanna bet?” said Liv. “I’ve just spotted drama number 3 and he’s standing right behind me.” “What do you m…” I managed before I saw him, and my heart started racing again.
John…of all the bars in all the world.

This really can’t be good for my nervous system…

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