Tuesday, 16 November 2010
Standing in the phone box on St Vincent Street I took a deep breath as I dialled the number I had scrawled on my little note book. I had waited a whole day before phoning. I’m not quite sure why, but perhaps I needed to gather my thoughts together before I launched into a phone conversation with a guy who would inevitably wonder how I had managed to track him down. Various thoughts went through my head as I was dialling….what if he’s got a girlfriend…..what if he thinks I’m nuts? Actually, he would have been well within his rights to think that.

I heard a “hello” on the other end of the line and my heart started racing. I tried to compose myself and speak in a tone that didn’t emit my nervous state. I quickly established that this was in fact The Ace’s flatmate who subsequently went off to find him. I could just make out some muffled noises in the background expressing curiosity as to who was calling when suddenly it hadn’t seemed like such a good idea to track him down. I wanted to hang up but fate stopped me as I heard The Ace’s voice on the other end of the line greeting his unknown caller apprehensively. I couldn’t believe my luck when he agreed to see me again a couple of weeks later in Glasgow. I don’t think he asked how I got his number because I suspect that may have had an impact on his answer had he known the truth.

During those two weeks I moved flat. The lease had ended on the scabby flat that I had been sharing with 3 equally scabby guys and the majority of my belongings were picked up by my Mum and cousin to be stored back home. I still had 2 weeks left at college and thankfully one of my college mates was extremely generous, moving back to her parents’ house so that I could use her flat for the short time. Her kindness at that point in my life is something that I’ve never forgotten. She never even knew me that well. The flat was ideal although there was no curtain on the bedroom window but I could live with that. It was a narrow but tall window with a small sill on which I would sit, people watching and on one occasion caught the Orange march going up Argyle Street.

The Tuesday when The Ace’s was due to visit soon came round and I was a bag of nerves. I went straight up to Buchanan Bus Station after college and waited for the Edinburgh bus. Immediately I started to worry that he may not turn up. The past year at college had been a bit of a disaster for me when it came to guys and I’d started to just accept being let down or messed about. So as the bus stopped and I saw him walking off into the concourse of the station I was at first taken by surprise then instantly began to wonder why the hell he was meeting up with me again. He was far too stylish and cool but it was too late for all my self doubt to start seeping out, I needed to get a grip. After picking up a chippy we headed back to my flat and sat on my bed feeding our faces and watching television. We’d bought some beer too, no doubt to take the edge off.

As the daylight ebbed away and the darkness started to engulf my bedroom the light from the street lamps outside streamed an almost angelic light into the room. Looking back on it now, that missing curtain had provided the ideal romantic backdrop. When we woke up in the morning something had obviously happened but we both had no idea what as the beer had had more of an effect than just calming our nerves. It all felt slightly awkward. Where were we to go from here? I had only a few days left in Glasgow before I returned home and even then I was moving to Newcastle 2 months later. Again I have no idea what was said at our second goodbye but we must have made some commitment to stay in touch because over the next year or so we wrote letters to each other.

The Ace’s letters were always humorous, full of anecdotes and always late. I would often find myself laughing out loud to them. We began to get to know each other more and more through our epistolary relationship and my fondness for The Ace grew and grew. Naturally as time went on we got involved with other people (Geordie Boy following my move to Newcastle) but we still kept writing to each other. It was around the time of Princess Diana’s death that I was invited to a party in Glasgow and I decided to coincide this with a visit to see The Ace. Geordie Boy was aware of this and completely comfortable with the fact that I was meeting up with another man. He’d already experienced one trip to “Taggartland” and didn’t seem keen for a revisit. It was on the day of Princess Diana’s funeral that I drove up and at various point in the journey there were flags at half mast. Just after her death Geordie Boy’s Mum was shocked that they’d decided to postpone a Newcastle United game at St James Park as a mark of respect. She thought it was taking things a bit too far, I thought sticking newborn babies in Newcastle United babygrows was taking things too far.

My journey from the North East would take me to The Ace’s flat in Edinburgh first where I’d made it clear that I wanted to watch the funeral on the TV and then we could get ready later for a night out in Glasgow at The Art School before heading onto the party. It was a great night and we had such a good time, the electricity was there again. But we were both in relationships and when The Ace hinted at the possibility of something happening between us that night I said to him it would have to be a case of “All or Nothing” possibly making reference to the Small Faces song to appear cool but also to state that I didn’t want a “one off”. If we were going to do this, we were going to make a go of things properly. I couldn’t cheat on Geordie Boy. I needed to know there was going to be more to it than just a fling. We ended up sharing a makeshift bed on the floor in the hall of where the party was being held, again with our clothes in tact. Nothing happened.

In the morning when I dropped him off on my way back to Newcastle although there was an air of awkwardness there was no disguising the frustration between us. I left feeling rather flat and even though nothing physical had happened, mentally, I felt I’d betrayed Geordie Boy. As soon as I arrived in Newcastle I went round to his house but he seemed distant and when he broke my heart a week later the first person that I sobbed down the phone to was The Ace.

Shortly after the break up with Geordie Boy I packed in my job, left Newcastle and moved back home. After I had originally moved down there I’d only lasted a few months at University before realising that it wasn’t for me but stayed on and got a job in advertising so I could carry on seeing Geordie Boy. The Ace and I briefly spoke on the phone following my move back up North and wrote the odd letter but I think we’d both realised that it would have been stupid to have let anything happen that night in Glasgow.

The year was coming to an end when I was invited back down to Glasgow for Hogmanay. My friend Annie had started seeing Martin and there was going to be a whole crowd of us heading to a club before going on to a party in Govan of all places. I couldn’t believe it when I walked into the club and found out that The Ace was there. Unfortunately I quickly found out that he was there with a new girlfriend and if that wasn’t bad enough, Dave informed me that he was moving to London with her. She worked in the music industry and had a BMW apparently. I’d already lost the battle, I had a Fiat Uno…..

I spoke to The Ace briefly. I’m not sure what I was more disappointed at, the fact that he didn’t tell me or the fact that he was moving to London. I didn’t even notice the countdown to the New Year at that point, I didn’t care. We spoke on the phone a couple of weeks later. He apologised for not telling me. But really, did he have anything to apologise for? I wasn’t his keeper. The letters stopped soon after that and I never heard from The Ace again.

As the years went on I would find myself thinking of him from time to time. Wondering what he was up to, how life was treating him. Although once Evie came into my life I very rarely thought about him until Mr Writer dumped me three years ago and the rejection was hard to take. I felt the same way I’d felt when Geordie Boy dumped me and before I knew it I found myself searching Facebook. Four people with the same name as The Ace and not one with a picture that looked like him. Perhaps he was anti-Facebook? I couldn’t actually imagine him having a mobile phone let alone access to a laptop but then I was thinking of him from twelve years ago. We were both living in a modern world now.

I went with my gut instinct and friend requested the one with a Sixties looking singer as their profile picture and put a short message apologising if this wasn’t the person I was looking for. Within a couple of days my friend request was accepted and a message was waiting in my inbox……
Thursday, 11 November 2010
So we kissed and the spell didn’t break. Much to my relief he didn’t kiss like a toad who’d had a stroke either. We both fell asleep for a bit, clothes in tact and then spent the whole of Sunday together. I think we may have sourced some brunch in a little café on Byres Road before we ended up at the Botanic Gardens, sitting on the grass. I wish I’d thought more about the way I was sitting because The Ace advised me to reposition myself as he could see up my skirt. My embarrassment would have certainly shown but then surely he would have felt some shame at the fact he had inadvertently admitted to looking in that direction.

I only remember that and being in the scabby kitchen of the scabby flat from the whole day we spent together. He left sometime around late afternoon to head back to Edinburgh where he lived. We never swapped numbers and although I know that something poignant was said as he was leaving I can’t quite recall what or by whom.

So he was gone and that was that, or at least it would have been if I hadn’t turned into what can only be described as a desperate romantic displaying stalker tendencies. What I am about to tell you is quite frankly disturbing but perhaps also very resourceful, actually it’s just downright embarrassing but anyway, here goes….

Naturally after the “electrifying” experience with The Ace I couldn’t get him out of my head. I thought about him constantly, about the energy between us that night and more so about the fact that nothing had really happened, well, apart from a kiss. As far as I was concerned the universe had thrown us together and we were meant to be together. I wanted to marry him. Yes, that’s right, marriage to a relative stranger at 19 years old seemed feasible. The question was, how was I going to get to see him again? The forces of nature would dictate that it was fairly unlikely. Not only did I not have his number, the college term was close to finishing and I would then be moving back home for a couple of months before my move to Newcastle for University. Most sane people would accept this and move on, I didn’t.

My first port of call was my friend Dave who I tried to convince to raid my not very nice friend’s address book to see if he could find The Ace’s number in it. This mission was extremely unsuccessful, so much so that the “friend” found out and subsequently realised The Ace and I had spent the night together, albeit fairly innocently. I don’t recall seeing her again after that. Most semi-sane people would have thought at that point “ah well…”, I didn’t. The next bit is probably an excellent example of “worrying behaviour” and I would go as far as to say it may be seen as acceptable grounds in court to lodge a restraining order.

I went to the library. I went to the library and searched for the phone book for East Kilbride. Why East Kilbride? Because The Ace had explained that his parents lived there. Yes, that’s right. I looked up every single person with the same surname as his in East Kilbride and made a list of them in my little note book. Please be assured that this little notebook did not contain other stalking methods or the various ways of boiling bunnies ….

Armed with many 10 pences, I dialled the first number on a list of 10 or so matching surnames in East Kilbride. I was ready with a script of what I was going to say, in my head I might add, not on paper, that would have been taking things too far! I had decided to explain that I was an old friend of The Ace’s, that I’d lost his number in Edinburgh and would they be able to pass it on to me. How handy Facebook would have been back then. I wouldn’t have seemed so desperate. The first call was answered which resulted in an immediate negative response. I apologised for dialling the wrong number, thanked them for their time and so the calls went on as I crossed off each unsuccessful number. I didn’t listen to the voice in my head which was saying perhaps I should just leave it but then that was the voice of reason and so far my behaviour was anything but reasonable.

Call number 7 on the list was answered by a male and I automatically reeled off my speech. “He’s an old friend…..I’ve lost his number for his flat in Edinburgh…..” etc. The man on the other end of the line sounded fairly uncomfortable and I started to cross off the number.

“Oh…….right…….” he said. “I’ll just get his number for you…....”
Wednesday, 3 November 2010
Moving back to your home town can inevitably mean bumping into your past on a regular basis, old friends from school, boys you’ve snogged at the back of the arcades who are now fat balding men and girls who wanted to beat you up because you were not part of their gang who are now almost unrecognisable due to the absence of heavily hair sprayed perms. There’s no escaping it, well, not for the time being anyway.

It’s been great catching up with the group of girls I used to hang about with at school though. Many of them have come back to settle down with their families after being away and I’ve realised just how much I’ve missed them being part of my life. I suddenly feel part of something again. Of course seeing the majority of your friends settled down leaves you wondering whether you got lost somewhere amongst the map of life. Was there a wrong turning or a junction which I missed?

When I was ill with the doomed pregnancy my big brother handed me a book and told me to read it, “it’s a good book”, he said. “It’s about 2 people who meet and the different journeys they take over the next 20 years, you know, people taking different paths in life and where it leads them.” The first page of the book was set in Edinburgh so I immediately felt a connection. I was struggling to concentrate on anything though at that point and the thought of concentrating on a big novel was not particularly appealing. I’d only read a few pages when it got packed away with the rest of my belongings for the unwanted move back home. If I’m honest though, there was also a reluctance to read it. My relationship with Mr Rockstar was on a downward spiral, I was feeling extremely confused about everything and I felt lost. At times like that and usually when I am drunk and feeling lonely the same person always creeps into my thoughts, The Ace.

I can distinctly remember the first time I saw him, Safeways, Byres Road, Glasgow around the time of Euro ‘96. He was sporting fairish hair, cut in a mod style. He was tall and was wearing a leather motorcycling sports type jacket and he was going out with my friend, who looking back on it, had never been particularly nice to me.

I think perhaps a little part of me fell in love with him, at that point and it’s probably the closest I’ve ever come to love at first sight apart from Johnny Depp of course….

I can’t even remember if we spoke that day or the next time I saw him at my friend’s flat. I can remember him telling her off for clicking her false nails together though – funny the things that stick in your mind.

Shortly after that he finished with my friend. The nail clicking must have got to him.

It was an impromptu decision to go out following the defeat of England in the semi final that found me in the Art School on Renfrew Street. Myself, Martin and Dave had started the evening in the Grosvenor Lane drinking beer and I remember the constant laughing between the three of us. I also remember that upon realising we were going to be going out I had rushed back to my flat to change and only shaved the thigh part of my legs because I was wearing knee high boots and a mini skirt – nice.

The Art School was a haven of pretentious young things trying to out smart each other in the fashion stakes. You could be forgiven for thinking that you’d walked back in time when entering the ground floor. Everyone looked like a throw back from the 60s but in a very chic vintage way and the music matched the fashion. Naturally I went there for the talent and to dance beside guys who knew how to dance. It was very rare that I got to dance with them. I always felt like I could never get it quite right clothing wise. My outfit often consisted of a mix up of Top Shop and Miss Selfridge, or cheap high street sale items. I tried my best to work the retro look but you could tell I hadn’t been vintage shopping in Virginia Galleries like the others. I didn’t have that moth ball aroma.

The first floor was in complete contrast to the ground floor, thumping house music and people who appeared to be chewing their cheeks a lot. I liked both floors and flitted between the two that night. Somehow at the end of the night, when the crowds were spilling out onto the street I lost Martin and Dave. But as I looked for them amongst the surge of people around me I found someone else, there he was, The Ace.

We got talking, I have no idea what about but no doubt I made some reference to him dating my not so nice friend briefly to break the silence. Somehow we ended up walking all the way up Great Western Road back to my scabby basement flat. We lay there on the bed fully clothed facing each other just talking for what seemed ages about, well, I have no idea what about but while lying there I felt this unbelievably strong energy, it was like electricity was building up between us. Naturally there was a part of me which was also concerned about the fact I had only shaved half of my legs and that I would inevitably have to remove the boots which were concealing my fuzzy calves but regardless of that, I couldn’t get over this feeling that I was experiencing. It was all rather innocent, we weren’t even holding hands but there definitely seemed to be a strong connection between us. Of course who knows what The Ace was thinking at that point although I sincerely hope that later on it wasn’t along the lines of “Jesus, what hairy legs….!”

I had no idea if we would kiss at all that night and although I really wanted him to kiss me; I couldn’t help but worry that the magic might disappear. If he was a dreadful kisser it would have ruined the illusion. So I held back for as long as I could until it began to get light outside and the thought of my semi hairy legs reflecting the daylight across the room filled me with enough fear to take a chance on breaking the spell……

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Bird on a Wire
Imagine Carrie from Sex and the City morphed with Bridget Jones and a baby thrown in for added entertainment – that’s me, the ever optimistic romantic looking for my Mr Big but already with child! Read my blog from the beginning where I find out I am pregnant following a brief fling with my much older male colleague and fast forward to where I am now, stressed out working mum to my beautiful 10 year old daughter wondering if love really does in fact exist at first sight.
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