A simple twist of fate…

Posted by in November's Magazine

According to Transport for London, there are 19,500 bus stops in the capital – quite a lot, no? You may be wondering why this random fact is significant but I am going somewhere with this. Really I am. You see, the other night, after a few after-work drinks, I was standing at one of these many (many) bus stops when something most unexpected occurred.

There I am waiting for the 243 to appear, just minding my own business, and (guiltily) listening to Whitney Houston on my iPod when I hear someone yell my name. Looking up (while simultaneously turning the volume down lest I get busted for my secret Whitney love) I noticed a taxi had pulled up and the passenger was leaning out of the window. It was dark so I couldn’t quite make out who it was and seeing my confusion, they clarified it for me. “Carrie, it’s me. It’s Chris. I’m headed your way. Do you want a lift home?”


Did I want a lift home? Well coming from him, that was quite a big question. Did I want to get into a taxi with a man I hadn’t heard from for almost a year? Did I want to go anywhere near a man I’d told to never contact me again in our last exchange? Did I want a lift from a man who’d treated me as little more than a late night booty call for months? You might think the answer to that is obvious, but you’d be wrong.

The trouble is he was also a man who’d made me laugh more than anyone I’ve met in this city, a man who seemed to be my perfect match both intellectually and sexually, a man who I felt instantly and completely comfortable around, and a man I hadn’t been able to get out of my head since the heated text exchange which ended our liaison all those months before.

When I got into the cab, he seemed almost as shocked as I was. But the truth was it was nice to see him. And given the randomness of the situation, it felt like I really should just go with it. If I walked away now, I’d never know what might have happened that evening and I knew I’d always wonder. I mean who am I to argue with fate? Of all those thousands of bus stops, he’d happened to pass that one in the few minutes I was standing there. If I’d accepted the lift on the back of my friend’s scooter that night, I wouldn’t have been there. If the bus had come two seconds earlier, he wouldn’t have seen me. If the taxi hadn’t stopped at the lights that moment, he would have sped on past. And the fact that we were both alone just added to the serendipitousness of the situation (not a word? Well you know what I mean). It was just one of those evenings when ‘oh, what the hell…’ seemed to be the wisest motto.
“I don’t suppose you want to come to a gig?”
“Um…” I wracked my brains for a reason not to… “Oh what the hell!”
And that is how I found myself on something akin to a date with a man who had resolutely refused to take me out for all the months he’d been on the scene. And the funniest thing is that after all the frustration and heartbreak, it really wasn’t all that. Sure, he was funny, he was charming, he was attentive but he also seemed kind of nervous. All the cocky bravado I’d been tricked with before was clearly covering up the fact that he just wasn’t all that confident in himself and, finally, I realised that had been the problem all along.

“Other areas”
At 26, he was just too young – he was terrified of being in a relationship, of being someone that someone else relied upon, of having someone to answer to. He even conceded it himself when he finally got around to apologising for the way he’d treated me: “I think it was a defence mechanism. I thought bringing it all back to sex would be safer and that no one could get hurt that way. Of course, I was wrong but I guess it’s a learning curve.”

All this time, I thought he was the one in control and it turned out he had absolutely no idea what he was doing. He hadn’t rejected me because I was somehow not lovable enough. He’d run away like a frightened little boy. It was exactly what I needed to hear to finally shake off the feeling that I’d missed out on some great love. I could see now that we never would have had that.
So what did I do to celebrate my newfound closure? I took him home of course. He may not have a clue what he’s doing when it comes to relationships but he definitely does in other areas.

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