It was 3 months exactly since we first met, this time Friday 13th December. There were only two Fri 13ths in 2019, and we’d met on both, neither of which were planned. We were supposed to have met the Wednesday before, but I’d pushed it back to Friday because I couldn’t be arsed to go out after a busy day at work.
After that first meeting not a lot had happened. We’d become friends on Facebook and I found out more about him through what he put on social media. I hadn’t really planned on getting in touch, it was a random night, and I hadn’t really registered any romantic inclinations. But there was something about him that had caught my attention, and it niggled away at me.
“I might ask Pete out for a drink.” I told my friend Katie.
“Oh yeah?” She raised her eyebrow with a smirk on her face.
“Nooo, not like a date. He was just such an interesting person, and I just can’t quite remember much that we talked about. I reckon he’d be a cool person to know.”
I dropped him a message. Casual, like. Hey, how’s things? Do you fancy going for a beer sometime?
In my world, THIS IS NOT A DATE.
I didn’t actually get a straight response back. We played message tennis a few times, him just telling me a bar he would be in, me not knowing if that was a yes or an invitation, me telling him I was busy, all interspersed with polite chit chat.
Many days went by and I still didn’t know if he actually wanted to meet up for a drink. We eventually seemed to agree on a day, although still more through the powers of suggestion than any straight discussion.
The night came and I felt a little apprehensive. There’d been some mild flirtation in one of his messages and I realised I may be in the not-unfamiliar situation where I’d asked a man out for a beer and they’d taken it as a date.
Oh well, what’s the worst that could happen, I thought. Although the last time I’d met up with someone in a non-romantic sense after some mild flirtation in messages resulted in a move to the other side of the world.
I waited for him outside my gate and he turned up at exactly the same time as a shifty-looking guy on a bike did. There was a slightly awkward hug, both of us fully conscious of the shifty-guy who at this point had stopped right next to us. Cue a trio of confused people; me and The Poet looking awkwardly at each other while the guy on a bike just stood watching us. Shifty-guy eventually broke the weird socially-awkward moment by asking us for money for a hostel for the night.
“Well that was a bit weird.” I laughed afterwards, as we walked along the river into town.
“Yeah. I thought he was someone you knew.” He replied.
Oh dear god.
It was a hot, sunny summer’s afternoon and we struggled to find a table anywhere outside. We tried half a dozen places, wandering down laneways, not really able to start any conversation, the awkward-meter continuing to rise.
EVENTUALLY we found a table at a pop up bar on a roof. Well, the end of a longer table that already had three blokes on it. Excellent.
“Well. This is nice.”
We stared at each other, and then down at our drinks, then back at each other.
“So….” we both said at the same time, then laughed.
I went first. “Tell me about yourself.”
“What do you want to know?” he asked.
“Oh. OK. Well. Where do I start?”
“At the beginning.”
And so he did. He started telling me his life story.
“-and then I.. Oh!” He stopped mid sentence and looked behind me. “There’s some people I know.”
I looked over my shoulder to see three women coming over, all big smiles and eyes lit up, giving each other knowing looks. Oh god can this get any more awkward.
“Sorry about that.” he said when they left.
We talked for hours. We went to Fat Eddies and talked some more. We danced and drank red wine.
“That was fun, I had a great time.” I told him as we said goodbye.
“Yeah me too.” he replied.
“Let’s do it again sometime.” I said, as I leant forward to kiss him.
He kissed me back.
“I’d like that.” he said, and turned to leave.
To be continued…