Remember THAT guy? The guy that at some period in your life, consumed all thoughts, all time and made you do bizarre things like blow money you don’t have on taxis to and from his house at 2am just to see him for a bit? Yes, we’ve all had THAT guy. Mine was a beautiful Irish dude who I dated for a good two years at university.
As far as I was concerned, he wasn’t just the best thing since sliced bread… he was the only damned thing. His Irish accent would quite literally stipple me for a response, and his blue eyes and jet black hair set against his chiseled jawline added to the irrevocable attraction. We had some crazy times, the odd bizarre row but mainly just drunken laughs and sober giggles. He graduated in 2007, leaving me to fulfill my last year at uni with a four-leaf clover shaped hole in my mind.
That’s four years ago. Since then, I’ve of course met many more guys who blew me away. When I’m chilling with my girls though, recalling the dramas I’ve innocently stumbled upon (and there have been quite a FEW, I can tell you!) when he was brought up, I always smile and laugh. I usually also try mimic his thick deep Irish accent, but I’m crap at it. Won’t stop me trying though. So, you can imagine my utter shock when a year ago, I turn on a wayyyyy old mobile (resembles a brick) to find a text from him declaring “that since university, he’s missed me, can’t stop thinking about me, hopes I’m really happy and just wanted me to know.” That threw me right off, so of course I immediately called him and we’ve stayed in touch, on and off, ever since. The down side is that he now resides up North, so any permanent ‘thing’ is out of the question. Still, I yearned to see him again after finding out his feelings have not diminished after three years. So it comes as no surprise that when he tells me he’s working down in the big smoke for a day and is in need of company in the evening, that I instantly make plans to hang out. I have his hotel address, so it’s a quick tube journey than dinner ‘a la past.’
What did I expect, when he opened the hotel door? If I’m totally honest, I was half hoping four years had not taken it’s toll, that he looked identical to my favourite memories and the spark I treasured was still so strong it blew the room door away. I was…naive. Wishful thinking. He’d clearly ‘filled out’ after the student days were done, and his dress sense had not improved much. What bothered me more than anything was the complete lack of anything, if you get what I mean. I felt nothing. We went to dinner, he chatted for hours over cocktails and rather than falling in love all over again…I was laughing along wondering why I had been so excited to see this guy again. It was almost like hanging out with a long lost cousin. Weird. Feels close, but you can’t put your finger on the empty void-of-a-gap that is between the two of you and growing with every minute. Towards the end, I could sense my awkward exterior showing. I was glad to leave.
As I got on the long tube ride home, I had ample time to contemplate my trip down memory lane. I had instantly regretted seeing him. I never thought this would be the case, but it was better when he remained a polished memory filled with happiness and male perfection, rather than the reality of the actual man. I can’t help but idealise guys after we’ve dated, remembering all the good points and mentally smoothing out their imperfections which lead to the real break-up in the first place. Thus, I reminisce in a glazed happiness rather than seeing the past for what it actually was. This is a dangerous folly, I am aware. Moreover, I started to contemplate how different things would be if we had worked out and stayed together. I mean, I can’t even entertain the thought now of seeing him as anything more than a friend, yet before I would have moved earth to be with him properly. So, in hindsight, does that mean then that love is more dependant on timing and circumstance, rather than the idea that two souls really are made for each other? In which case, how do you know if the guy you’re in love with is your ‘true love’ or just your love for now until time takes its toll? It’s a mind bender, I know. I gave up trying to find an answer and instead read a sweet little poem on the tube sign about a piano, or something.
All I can say is, when you get an offer to stroll down the darkened way of Memory Lane, just remember this will not lead to an avenue of holding hands and golden glows. Rather, an alleyway of discarded pains and the bright brutal light of reality. Let’s leave some things to the imagination, or at least to the blurry memory.