Please welcome Duncan Swallow to #BeREALationships.
I’d gone to a party on my ownsome, and R arrived with someone else. About an hour later she was sitting on my lap exploring my tonsils.
I’d got a bit of a reputation for being a poacher, since something similar had happened with another couple of girls. Yet I genuinely have never made a pass at a girl/woman who was with someone else. It may come as a surprise to you, but I’ve never made a pass at a girl/woman ever. Not once. I’ve always been too reticent and they’ve had to make the running.
This time things went well with R. We became an item, went out for about a year, which is quite a long time when you’re sixteen or seventeen. Her parents liked me. If I went to visit, they’d let us use the front room undisturbed until about ten o’clock (if it was a school day next day) when there’d be a polite knock on the door, and her mum would leave tea and biscuits in the hallway and take herself off to bed. On one occasion we did a real-life ‘Wake up little Suzy,’ and fell asleep on the sofa, and didn’t wake till nearly four in the morning. We both copped a rocket for that one. Never saw the logic there. Just what could we have got up to that we couldn’t have got up to earlier?
I’d grown rapidly, was approaching my current 6’1”, though still skinny as a rake, and we made a pretty striking couple. I never doubted that she was in love with me. Then disaster struck. It was all my fault, though it wasn’t really.
A friend of mine was going out with a girl called S. I liked her a lot. Intelligent, clever, literate, wicked sense of humour, long dark hair, terrific legs, and a great dancer. We talked a lot about lots of things, but only as mates. But the inevitable happened. I fell deeply in love with her. I didn’t think I was in with a chance, and anyway she was a mate’s girlfriend. But I still didn’t want R to play from the reserves bench. It didn’t seem fair to continue to see her if I was so in love with someone else.
So even though I didn’t think I stood a chance with S, I finished with R. I never told her why, but she wasn’t stupid, and she must have known. It was a tricky situation with no right thing to do, only wrong. I like to think I picked the lesser of two evils. It still hurt her.
Then things went severely pear shaped. S and I were both members of the Sixth Form Film Society, which met on Tuesday evenings after school. After one meeting, S asked me to walk her home, as it was getting dark. Sure. What’s not to like about a walk through fading daylight with someone you love? Even if you think your love is hopelessly pointless. Then the bombshell.
‘I’m going to finish with T.’ T was her boyfriend. They’d been together nearly as long as R and I had been.
My mouth went dry, and what wasn’t dry was full of my heart. But I was cautious.
‘And if you do, and I ask you out, what will you say?’
She looked straight at me, and said ‘You know I’ll say yes.’
So she finished with him. The consequences were disastrous for me. Nearly everybody assumed I’d pulled a move, and I was ostracised by most of my friends. S came under immense peer pressure, and my absolutely undeserved reputation as a poacher was given a vigorous airing. T pleaded with her.
She chose him. Yes ladies and gentlemen, she went back to him on the Saturday. I was crushed. It was this event that triggered my first bout of what I now recognise as depression, but which at the time was written off as teenage angst. The timing couldn’t have been worse. I was a few days off my 18th birthday. I was in the run-up to my A levels. I nearly failed to get the grades I needed to get to my university of choice, and I’d been expected to walk it.
Do you want to know the really sad aspect of this? When she’d told me she’d go out with me, I’d been very careful. We agreed we wouldn’t start seeing each other until after a decent interval. This was partly to keep my reputation intact; fat lot of good that did. I got the blame anyway.
So I never even got to kiss her. Not once. A woman I’ve never fully recovered from, for whom I’d left a beautiful loving girlfriend but with no expectations, for whom I’d lost friends, threatened my academic career, and who altered my life. And I never even kissed her.
My name’s Duncan, and I’m a lot older than I think. I’m due a bus pass.
I’ve had quite a lot of stories published online. The ones on http://www.wattpad.com/ are free to access and can be read online. This is also true of the ones on Readwave http://www.readwave.com/duncan.swallow/ The ones on http://www.etherbooks.com/ are nearly all free, but you do need to download an app for your phone (Apple and Android are supported) and then actually download the stories. Both of those sites have a pretty eclectic mix of thems and genres on them, so again you’re unlikely to be bored
I blog at nobodysreading me
I have another blog at messingaboutinthekitchen