Sunday, 10 January 2010

You had me at 'Hello Petal'. . .

Madam Noir and I chatted about Rochester today, over tea and scones.

'Do you think you'll ever get over him?' she enquired.

I thought I'd done a pretty darn good job of pretending I was over him, but her question made me realise I wasn't fooling anyone.

The whole internet dating thing has also made me re-live the Rochester experience. From the first time he contacted me I felt such a strong and tangible connection to him. He seemed to be on my slightly wonky, off-kilter wavelength. It wasn't just that The Boatman's Call was his favourite album, or the pictures of him looking brooding and mysterious on the moors, or his dry, sardonic and teasing humor - very similar to my own. I found I could write or say anything to him and he would just 'get it'. I never had to second-guess or edit my thoughts. It seemed so fluid and easy.

The nagging thought that is troubling me is, I'm just not going to find that with anyone else. I'm not going to find someone who is as odd as me or who finds my oddness such a positive thing. And to find all of those things in someone that I was so overwhelmingly physically attracted to, well, it is hard, finding that, then losing it is unbearable.

Anyway, I had a Rochester memory today. Just a brief, fleeting one. I met him once in a pub by the sea. It was during that dead, empty time between Christmas and New Year. The place was absolutely deserted. The only creature at the bar was a very despondent looking caged grey parrot. To be honest, the dreary, joyless surroundings took their toll on us. Half way through his first drink Rochester disappeared to the bar.

'Ive asked them to order us a taxi, petal. We're not staying here. Let's go to that pub near you.'

Now, the very sweet and tender memory I have is of that taxi ride. This was quite an awkward, uncertain meeting, coming soon after the first time we'd slept together, the sands of our relationship were shifting all around us. But, I got in the back of the cab and felt an overwhelming rush of warmth and affection for him. I slipped my arm through his and rested my head on his shoulder. We looked at each other and slowly moved closer to kiss. However, our gentle, romantic moment was about to be interrupted by our taxi driver, who had the sensitivity and awareness of a boar.

'Why, look over there. Whaddya think that is like?'

The merry mackem was gesturing to the sky, where a light was skittering erratically above the North Sea.

Rochester mumbled something about a shooting star or aeroplane and moved closer to me, so close I could almost taste him. I traced my fingers down his face and his lips almost touched mine when. . .

"Have youse ever seen a shooting star like? I did once I think. Aye why, I was with the wife and we were camping see and what happened was . . . '

Our driver was off again. That is the thing about north east taxi drivers: they never fucking shut up.

I sighed and we listened to the driver's inane prattle about shooting stars. Rochester wrapped his arms around me and I settled comfortably into the warmth of him. Eventually, thankfully our taxi driver appeared to run out of steam. We waited a few seconds to see whether he was going to launch into another monologue about UFOs or NASA but the soft, sensual silence stretched out in front of us.

Rochester moved him mouth deliciously close to my neck. Suddenly:

'Now luv, you're ganna have to keep us right here, when I get ower on this side of the water I have nee idea where I am. What was the name of the pub again?'

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