Leither in London…Issue 94


Posted by in May's Magazine

When his message dropped into my inbox on facebook, I swear my heart stopped. It had been seven years since we’d actually exchanged any words, seven years since I told him I couldn’t keep doing whatever it was we were doing and I couldn’t just be his friend. I think at the time, I thought that might make him realise he couldn’t bear to lose me. Instead, he did as I asked and stayed away.

For a while, I missed him – a lot. But so much time passed that I started to think about him less and less. I mean, from time-to-time, I wondered where he might be, what he might be doing, who he might be with but I could never have reached out and contacted him. Not because I was still hurt or angry but because I couldn’t bear to hear that he was still with her, that he was happy with her, that he’d made the right choice.

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Yes, there was another woman. Or… I guess it would be more honest to acknowledge that I was the ‘other woman’. It wasn’t meant to happen that way. When we met, I was still getting over my last relationship. I was convinced I’d never meet anyone I’d feel that way about again – then our eyes met across a crowded bar and somehow we ended up back at mine sitting up all night talking, listening to music, laughing, and finally, kissing.

I spent the next day on cloud nine, convinced I’d met my soulmate. Then he called me and told me about her: they’d been together years, he should have told me but he didn’t know how, he’d never met anyone he could talk to the way he could to me, he didn’t want to ruin it. The tears came before I managed to hang up the phone and they didn’t stop for a good while afterwards. I remember my flatmate looking at me like I was a mental patient: “You’ve known him for one night, Carrie. How can you be this upset?” I didn’t have an answer. It just all felt wrong.

My clever mum said, “You can’t expect him to walk out of a 5-year relationship for someone he’s only known 5 minutes, if you really like him so much, can’t you just be his friend?” It sounded logical then but if I’d known I was about to embark on a fully-fledged affair, I swear I’d have run in the opposite direction.

By the time I called it all off, over a year had past. Or maybe it was two. I can’t remember really – so much was happening then. I moved to London, he moved up North, sometimes I wouldn’t hear from him for weeks then he’d call and we’d spend hours on the phone or he’d come round and we’d spend a random night talking till the sun came up.

Ending it was hard but made a little easier when I had my new life in London as a distraction. There was no risk of bumping into him on the Shore anymore, I wasn’t living in the flat where we’d spent all those nights together, I hid all the CDs he’d made me so I couldn’t indulge the memories by listening…and I moved on.

So what was I going to do now? “I know this is random but I’m in London for work. Meet me?” He made it sound so easy but I was terrified. Whenever I’d met up with exes before, it was usually so they could tell me how great they were doing without me. I didn’t need to hear that from him.

I could choose not to reply and just continue on perfectly content in my ignorance. Or I could go meet him and potentially dredge up all that old hurt and frustration. Trouble is, I was curious. I really wanted to know where he’d been, how he was, what he looked like now. Most of all, I wanted to know if those feelings I’d had for him had been real.

“The best case scenario is I go along and feel nothing for him,” I declared to my flatmate Liv. “We have a couple of drinks, I realise it wasn’t meant to be then I leave and never have to wonder about him ever again.”

“Or you could go along, realise you’re meant to be together, fall head over heels in love, get married and have babies. Wouldn’t that be the best case scenario?”

I raised an ironic eyebrow at her and set off to meet him. “That is not going to happen…”

This month Carrie’s been hanging out at Streetfeast, a pop-up food festival with its own gin bar. Visiting the ‘rents and their new pup Beau in the south of France, listening to all my old mixtapes & getting lost in hazy memories

 

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