I had been keen on her for a while.
She worked in the office beside me. I say worked, she mainly spent her time chatting and playing online poker.
We both teased each other a lot and had a really good relationship. I had been trying it on for a couple of months. We had a lot of nights out, where drink had got the better of us.
I was going to step up my game on St Patrick’s Day.
We arranged to meet in a pub at lunchtime. I got there early and downed a Guinness quickly, eager to settle into a groove for the long day ahead.
A couple of mates appeared, already in the party spirit and asked me to join them. I said I would, but I was expecting company.
Then she arrived.
She had been drinking on the bus and was already quite merry. A mate’s girlfriend went over and introduced herself and said she was excited to meet “my date”.
Apparently, I was just a friend. Shot down. Again.
Never mind. I was going to make the best of it. The mid-afternoon sunshine disappeared into mid-March dusk and soon the city was swallowed up by an enveloping darkness.
Roars of laughter and music echoed round the streets. Everyone was having a brilliant time. Inside, the pub was full-to-bursting. I was still sticking close to “my date”, but she was still doing the “only a friend” thing.
We were part of a large crowd now. Another of my mate’s was complaining, as his over-protective girlfriend was on her way. We teased him mercilessly, as she had a track-record of scolding him publicly.
As predicted, 8pm rolled around and she arrived with friends in tow demanding to know why he thought it was okay to drink that much, why had he not called her.
For some reason, she thought I was great. She caught my eye and threw her arms around me kissing me on both cheeks. She was a really pretty girl, thin with long dark hair.
“Why can’t you be more like Will?” she demanded.
This only made it worse and he disappeared off to the bar, his tail very much between his legs and his balls in her pocket.
A short while later, post-conference with his overpowering other half he pulled me aside. Her mate “liked me”, whatever that meant. I was quite far gone now and wasn’t sure what to make of this. I confided in my “friend” who recommended I go for it. I stood up from the stool and she grabbed me, pulling me back down.
“Let’s give her something to make her jealous,” she giggled.
She licked my face before pushing me towards her, winking and roaring, “Go get her, tiger!” It was loud enough for everyone to hear.
The DJ was now playing Dropkick Murphys, House of Pain and other faux-Irish party tunes.
I approached “the mate” with an air of confidence, which was really just the drink. I asked her name. She told me. I couldn’t hear, so asked again with no further clarification. I don’t remember doing anything else. I might have bought her a drink. More mates arrived and I introduced them, without committing to a name. She said she was tired and asked if we could go. I wasn’t sure how I fit into the equation, but stumbled outside to get a taxi.
A preppy-looking kid with boy-band hair stopped us and asked how my new “mystery friend” was.
They chatted for a while and I got jealous. By the time I was trying to work out why I was jealous I was in a taxi. It was a short trip to my flat. I started giving her the tour, but the place was that small, you could see all the rooms from the front door. As the morning sun streamed in through the bare window, I turned to see who was beside me.
Had I done okay, or was she a ten-pinter?
She. Was. Beautiful.
I met my conquest’s best mate later that afternoon. She grinned and said that she hadn’t stopped talking about me. I was confused, which came across as modest. I was given a message that I should call her.
I rang and we agreed to meet her for lunch. She had a job interview near my office. I picked her up from the meeting. She was in a smart suit and conservatively made up.
She looked gorgeous.
We went over to a trendy café, all glass, chrome and rubber plants. I ordered a Caesar salad and a Diet Coke. This got a raised eyebrow. She was easily impressed. She had the same. We ate and conversation flowed easily.
I paid and she asked if we could go somewhere to change out of her work clothes.
She apologised for yawning on the car journey. She had been up late going through the interview questions and was shattered. We got in and she apologised again for being tired.
She assured me she was excited to see me again. I told her she could take a nap if she wanted. She said she would, if I joined her…
I had the greatest half-day ever.
We settled into a midweek and Friday night routine, which consisted of dinner, wine, sex and a lot of good cheese (not at the same time, obviously).
I was constantly trying to impress her.
She went out with her mates to the same bar every Saturday night and we met up in the early hours at my flat. This continued for a couple of months, until I went to a music festival in Dublin.
I came back after a couple of days away and got a message to come to her parents’ house. They were away and she was housesitting for them.
I picked up some flowers and her favourite chocolates and jumped in the car. I was delighted to see her. She thanked me quiety for the flowers and said that we had to talk.
She didn’t want to be in a relationship any more.
It wasn’t me it was her.
I felt the strength go in my legs. I wasn’t being dramatic, but I lay on the carpet and questioned her.
What had brought this on? Was there someone else? It was all her. She wished she had known me as a friend before it got serious.
I was devastated.
I remember having to go and pick-up one of her friends on a Sunday morning. The friend had gone back to some random guy’s house and didn’t have money for a taxi.
I thought this was hilarious, until she admitted that before me, she used to go back to guys houses all the time. It was just a bit of fun.
I went numb. It was like an out of body experience. I almost had a car accident.
Looking back it all started to fall into place. It was so obvious.
I was convenient.
I was the rebound guy.
I had served my purpose.
I messaged her and sent her emails and got curt, polite responses, but there was someone else on the scene now. We met up for coffee a while later. She called me “Cookie”. She had never called me that before.
“It’s because you are a sweetie,” she said.
Keep digging sister.
I tried to tell myself she had confused me with someone else. It haunted me for years.