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……


Anonymous said...

I came across your blog only today and I red it from the beginning to the last post . I love your story and I adore your writing style ! I hope you will write more often . All the best!

Bird on a Wire said...

Thank you so much for your comment Danni. Sorry for the delay, I was having laptop problems! It's comments like this that give me the boost to continue to write.

2011 Resolution - Must write more!!

Bird x


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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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