Saturday 3 February 2018

What I want

He's been gradually edging closer to my side for the last hour and a half. And now one hand is resting on my leg, and six empty glasses have collected by our feet. We are on a bench sitting against a wall, and when he kisses me, my hair catches in the wood behind my head.

We'd met an hour into the New Year, after he'd approached me while I ordered drinks at the bar. We kept chatting, and eventually kissed the way you tend to kiss a complete stranger when you're drunk on New Years Eve. Later, he left me charmed and intrigued enough to give him my number at the end of the night.

'My New Year's resolution is to go on one date this year', I'd said when the topic inevitably came up, 'It's been quite a long time'.

And so here we are, a week and a half later, in the corner of a basement bar.

It's been a long time since I've done this, longer than a year. And as the night goes on, I find myself getting reacquainted with all the ways attraction makes opinions and thoughts bend and shift, selecting stories to be told, and anecdotes to be left out, the way you subtly test the things you think the other person might like.

Ah, this is fancying someone, I remember. He kisses me again.

'So what are you looking for?' he asks as we separate, and the directness of the question catches me off guard.

'I don't know really,' I say after a moment of thought, 'If I met someone I really liked, then obviously I'd want a relationship with them. But I don't want a boyfriend indiscriminately. I'd like to do things, and meet people, and date. What about you?'

'So, I don't think I want a relationship at the moment,' he responds, confirming something that I'd pieced together from the stories he'd told me, a feeling I already knew.

But what I don't expect is the immediate sense of a pressure lifting, a calming sense of relief. That what I want isn't the promise of a relationship, or commitment. And nor is it an escape route, or way out.

What I want is something more straight forward, but harder to find in a world where dating can sometimes feel like you're only being told what someone thinks you want to hear. For the first time I consider an option I hadn't thought about, something rarely offered: for someone to be honest, to take away the anxiety over what this is, to have things laid out upfront.

We leave the bar hand in hand, and walk towards Oxford Circus tube. I walk down the steps after he's kissed me goodbye, and five minutes later my phone buzzes with the words 'all booked x'.

Because there was one more thing I realised I want, and that's a second date.


Exile on Pain Street said...

...hand in hand, and walk towards Oxford Circus tube.

I found this strangely moving. Not sure why. Because it sounds so new and pregnant with promise?

wholelottarosie said...

Excellent writing.


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