The long awaited reply from Irish eventually pinged into my phone. As always he replied as if the text I sent him was moments old when in fact it had been sent ten days before!! . His reply actually made little sense but suggested we had a catch up by phone soon. The word ‘soon’ can be interpreted in many ways. But knowing him as well as I do I knew it meant not now!
I also knew that our long and heartfelt conversation had upset him and he would avoid a repeat performance at all costs. I checked in again a week later and he replied quickly . He was out and away at the weekend could we speak next week. Gritting my teeth I said no problem as I was off to Prague and we could catch up after. We never did of course. The Christmas Machine rolled into action and I was far to busy to chase him down.
I did however as I have always done send him a message on Christmas Eve. He always replied either that evening or more often than not on Christmas day itself. This time was different! no reply appeared. To me this was significant. There was nothing more I could do. My heart sank, I was convinced that he had decided it was all too complicated and was best left and who could blame him ?
The other option which I had to face was that he had met someone else in an attempt to move on. Both options filled me with dread. With my arrival in Ireland due the following week for New Year Celebrations I would undoubtedly be faced with the truth. I had promised during my last visit to tell him when I was there next but he had already laid the ground . He would be very busy over that period with his relatives and family commitments and could not promise that he would have time to meet me.
I had braced myself accordingly but as I loved Ireland anyway I knew I could still have a good time with or without him. We flew in full of high spirits and hopes of fun times to come. I did as promised text him regarding our arrival. I knew his reply if I got one at all would not be immediate.
By the second day I had resigned myself to not getting one and had a fabulous night out with my girlfriends and the attentions of lots of gorgeous Irishmen. It’s ok I thought to myself ! There was no future for us anyway. There was the massive age gap and the small matter of the Irish Sea. I will be just fine I told myself repeatedly
The first part of our New Years Eve evening proved a bit of a disaster Dressed up to the nines in posh frocks and bling we discovered that the Titanic Museum had underestimated their numbers. There were queues for everything ..not enough seating or tables and dreadful food and drinks. Whist we were trying to complain and get something sorted out my phone, that was resting in my bra vibrated. I knew instinctively that it was a text from Irish.
I fidgeted from foot to foot in my very high diamanté stiletto’s. They were already making their presence felt. I normally reach immediately for my phone at the first sign of a beep but this time I had a sense of doom. I just had a feeling that I would not enjoy the words. It was a good 25 mins later, having been given a seat to sit on at last that I extracted my phone and breathing deeply I opened the message.
The usual apologies for late reply..up to his eyes in relatives and driving them everywhere ..plans had been made he wasn’t sure he could see me. Maybe a Coffee ?? A COFFEE !! I knew what that meant. ‘A coffee’ meant a public place ! It meant No sex! it meant he was keeping me at arms length.! My stomach plummeted all the way down to the bottom of my ball gown causing my eyes to well up uncontrollably at the same time.
I sat trying to compose myself and was genuinely surprised by how affected I was by this clear dismissal. Amanda sensing my distress lean’t over and reading the text quickly and knowing it’s implications immediately dragged me off for a cigarette but not before I had ordered a very large gin from the bar. A few minutes later we decided to leave as the evening so far had proved such a disappointment.
Back at the apartment I sent a reply asking if the ‘Coffee’ meant what I thought it did. As expected there was no reply. We managed to salvage the evening by calling a cab and heading into town and saw in the New Year in style and with a Bagpipe serenade . Many drinks later I couldn’t even remember his name . I woke up the next morning feeling as sick as a dog and spent the day in bed reading and recovering. My phone remained silent.
The following day we went shopping and as we were dining out at the superb Bert’s Jazz Bar later I decided to have a nap in order to be fresh. As I snuggled into bed my phone pinged. There he was with another apology for the late response and maybe he could meèt me for drinks. Coffee was clearly off the table but I was still sure the meaning was the same. Asking when he was thinking and now wide awake I waited for his reply as the minutes passed I text again. ‘maybe you should call me’ Ten minutes later he did .
He phoned me three times in all as he kept getting interrupted and finally finally I got to the truth. He was seeing someone , It was in the early stages but he didn’t want to mess either of us around so therefore although he would like to see me it could not be for the usual sessions of mind-blowing sex.!! Ah !I thought a faithful man at last but not one that I could own! After much back and forth he decided that he couldn’t come over that evening but could we do lunch tomorrow? Fucking lunch!! ? !Doing lunch was something you did with your maiden aunt.!! I was not amused and said so. I wasn’t a lunch sort of girl.
l just wasn’t sure I could see him on these terms. No touching or kissing and no chance of any spectacular orgasms it was too much to contemplate. He said he understood completely.’ Anyway’ I countered ‘as I am putting you in such a difficult position it would probably be better if we didn’t meet. ‘But‘ he said in earnest ‘I really would like to see you’
I was confused at this point and saying that I would have to think about it I promised to call him in the morning. I awoke feeling that a frank face to face discussion was long overdue. It took two attempts to raise him in the morning and we arranged for him to come over to the apartments.
The girls made themselves scarce and I waited with a vodka in one hand and a fag in the other. I waited a very long time with him keeping me informed of his progress. When he did turn up I could see the difference in him. He was much more smartly dressed, gelled hair and a tidy goatee. I have to say he looked gorgeous and I knew this was going to be even harder than I imagined. We kissed briefly and he handed me the most enormous box of chocolates. He has always bought me chocolates from our very first date and for a moment it was as if nothing had changed.
We had an hour of very uncomfortable but very frank conversation. He said that we had both got emotionally involved and what started as fun encounters had developed into a relationship. He was disturbed by our long phone call back in October. He had never seen anyone for a long as me. Despite the large gaps I had been the most consistent relationship he had ever had. It had never been exclusive due to the distance and that was beginning to bother him. Love had reared its head and now we were at a crossroads . He said that as he couldn’t move to London and I couldn’t move to Ireland we were at a standstill. He never once mentioned the age gap although of course I knew this was a big factor.
In an effort to move on he had met someone and I couldn’t blame him for that. He was desperately trying to do the right thing for us both. But as I sat there listening to him I knew that my feelings for him had not changed I reached out and touched him many times and had to check myself constantly reminding myself that we were not heading for the bedroom this time. The desire to do so was strong on both sides as we admitted to each other. The mood was broken when the girls burst through the door.
We made our excuses and left to find a pub where we had an animated conversation flirting and enjoying each other’s company as usual. We walked arm in arm along the harbour looking out at the lights twinkling in the distance. He drove me back coming up to the apartment and catching up with Amanda over cigarettes and then we sat side by side on the sofa watching a film. He seemed in no hurry to leave. Reluctantly he got up to go at around midnight as he had work early in the morning and we had to be up at 5.30 am for our flight home.
I saw him down to,the lobby where we hugged and said goodbye . I looked up at him “So we are good” ? I asked hopefully. “yep wer’e good.” he replied smiling as he stepped through the door, then hesitating and turning to face me he said goodbye again. I grabbed him by the collar and kissed him on the mouth laughing as I did so. I had been determined that I would send him off with no tears or reprisals. He went to walk away and stopped again to stare back at me ! I was frozen to the spot and let my eyes linger on his..he took two steps and then turned again holding my gaze. Feeling my resolve weakening ..it was all I could do not to run after him and beg him to stay. I blew him a kiss and turning on my heels I made for the lift. By the time I reached the third floor I was crying uncontrollably.
It felt like I had been on a first date. The lack of sex made it no less intimate or saying goodbye any less painful. Is this the end ? God knows! I have said goodbye to him many many times over the last 6 years. I will be back in Ireland at some point and will text him to let him know that I am there. Will he reply next time ? Your guess is a good as mine… the door remains ajar.
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