I had been sitting at the computer working away when I got a phonecall from Matt. I had to go to work that evening and he rung me about 5 o’clock. I was getting ready to leave, so I didn’t have long. It turned out, it that was all it would take. I’m not going to transcribe what was said, but let’s just say a few hearted words were exchanged, followed by an abrupt hand up on my behalf. It was probably about one of the things we often argued about. Love, us, University and time. Only thing was, when we argued about them before, they had neve been quite so severe. We didn’t speak again for days. I went out in town the day after – my first night out legal – where I would flirt with anyone and everyone I could. I waspissed off. These days, I didn’t get angry to easily. There was a time where punches would have been thrown at the drop of a hat, but these days were a long way in the past. I’d moved along, andthatperson had stayed firmly in the past.
Having got mildly wrecked to combat the feelings of anger about the previous days argument, later that week I payed Kent University another visit. I had considered inviting Matt along, but decided maybe it wasn’t such a great idea. Funny how it turns out, sometimes, eh? Oh! The irony! We hadn’t spoken since the Friday, but that Wednesday was the first day I had heard anything. It wasn’t exactly civil. I was losing patience. I wasn’t a patient person and this I was well aware of, but by now I knew where I stood on the matter. In my hotel room in Kent I wrote a letter. A letter preparing myself to say goodbye. Say goodbye now and I could still walk away with my head held high. It was a nice letter. Clean, fair and unbiased. I didn’t want things to end messily, but let it go on any longer and that’s how this could end. I wasn’t ready for that yet. Not again. Not after last time. I wrote the letter and was preparing myself to post it. I rang him on the way home. No answer, so I left a message.
“… I’m sat in a service station in Reading and I just can’t wait an longer. I’m a patient person, Matt, but I’m beginning to think waiting for you is like waiting for rain in a drought…”
I was quite hurt that he didn’t pick up. I tried to fight back the tears. But sat in a service station in Reading, what more could I do?... He phoned me back a couple of hours later when I was in the car. We agreed to speak when I got home. Neither of us wanted to discuss this in front of the prying ears of my mother and sister.
In my room, standing on my bed, clutching at my hair, I took some rescue remedy and prepared myself to take the call. We talked, for a long time. The long and the short of it was that he was ‘confused’ and ‘scared’. I told him that he just needed to talk to me and tell me things.
“Yeah, but I’m not like you, Matt,” he cried, “I can’t just open myself up and talk.”
I got it. I didn’t want to admit it, but I knew not everyone was like me… We’d just have to see what happened from here on in…
Later, we agreed to go out again that weekend. We had talked about going to the Zoo some weeks ago but Sunday lunch with his parents and rehearsals had usually got in the way, but not this weekend. He picked me up at ten and we headed into Bristol. On Thursday that week, I had been shopping – some retail theraphy – I felt it was well deserved – but Matt was not forgotten in this spree. I had remembered when we went into Cribbs in January, he had been playing a game called Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit and had become quite engrossed in it. I text him to see if he had bought it already. Transpired he hadn’t but I ‘covered my tracks’ by suggesting that I needed to buy a gamer friend a birthday present – a lie – and that I wasn’t a gamer at all – the truth – and needed some advice. I thought my quickly constrewed lie was quite good, actually, if a little thin in places, but nevertheless, I bought said video game and presented it to him in the car in my brand new outfit which I was very pleased with - and he said looked hot - on the way to Bristol Zoo. BREATHE.
“So, I got paid the other day,” he announced on the way through Backwell.
“Oh, right,” I replied. Finally! It seemed like months ago I had helped do his expenses on the floor of his living room!
“Which means that my bank balance has now neutralised.”
I remembered that he told me he had been living off his overdraft over the last few months and that both his pay cheque and his SAYE scheme had matured this month which meant he had reached an acceptable bank balance… I was pleased, but still concerned… For my own reasons. I was a realist and I felt like Matt like to sensationalise things and bury his head in the sand sometimes… Just sometimes, but it made me wonder.
Arriving at Bristol Zoo, we parked, paid and began our safari. It was a little awkward and I was cautious around him. I was so very nearly convinced that he wasn’t going anywhere. The barriers were beginning to come down for good, I didn’t put my arms around myself when we spooned. I opened up to him. I spoke my mind – most of the time – and I was convincing myself, after much reassurance from him, that he didn’t seem to be going anywhere. It had been almost three months. Surely, I thought, if he was going to go anywhere, he would have done it by now? Nevertheless, I was cautious today. The happenings of the last week were enough to put me on edge again. I was a little sensitive and worried, I shut off sometimes, not sure what to say and got a bit frustrated when he didn’t say anything back. It was silly, but I couldn’t help it. I was panicking. I didn’t want to lose this. It meant too much.
I was quite irritable and this, mixed with my anxieties aboutstuffwas enough to bring back the whole eating thing. I could feel myself getting anxious about eating and couldn’t finish what I had. Strangely, Matt had issues with this. It was mostly due to my weight. I had been saying how I wanted to put some on and I think he was trying to encourage me to eat to help me achieve this goal. But I just couldn’t. Not without spewing my guts up everywhere.
All in all, it was actually quite a nice day. Despite everything, I could feel the needle and thread begin to sew things back together and it was a mild relief.One step forward, two steps back…
At one point during the day, Dayll had rung. I had met Dayll once before at the St Georges Gospel Choir Gig which Matt had come to. I had been a bit hit and miss whether he would make it or not as his mum had been rushed into hospital and was really unwell. But he made it despite everything and seemed to thoroughly enjoy it. Even if he had been mobbed by a crew of 80+ singers!
The drive back home was strange, there were little sparks that could have turned have turned into an argument, but the fact that they quickly diffused was a reassurance. It was a good sign, right? We had arranged to go swimming after the Zoo, but when we pulled into Backwell leisure centre car park, only to find that the pool had shut at two that afternoon. But it was cool, the plans just changed a little. We went back to my house and collected the Wok – I was planning on cooking Paella and Matt had said that he didn’t have a large frying pan, which Idesperatelyneeded for this heavenly creation. He also raided my music collection, as he wanted to update it, and stole virtually all of my CD’s. We threw it all in the boot just as my parents came home and I told them the plan.
“We’re just grabbing some stuff!” I yelled to them from the drive, “I’ve got the Wok.”
“Okay!” my mum called back, seemingly unfazed that I was stealing her cooking appliances, “See you tomorrow.”
“Bye.” I got in the car, “Drive.” I said to Matt. We whizzed out of Churchill and towards Weston where we pulled up in Hutton Moor Leisure Centre. I hadn’t been swimming for quite some time and the whole prospect always made me a little anxious. I was usually fine, though, however this time, I began to have a claustrophobia induced panic attack in the pool and had to sit out. The time flew by and I just smiled to myself sat on the edge of the pool. I must have looked like some kind of escaped lunatic, but I was content. Before I knew it, we jumped out the pool, dried off and went home.
I’m not going to lie, I actually cooked the most amazing Paella you have ever seen… There was justso muchof it! There was so much, there was enough for me to have alot– for me – Matt to have a lot and then some more and there still be enough left for two days’ worth of dinners. As we ate, Matt began to load the music onto his laptop and we watched Nine half-heartedly until we both began to fall asleep and felt it was time for bed.
The next morning we woke up and Matt made toasted hot cross buns for breakfast. We sat in bed and drank tea whilst he played Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit and feebly attempting to persuade me to play. I was quite content just sat there watching him. Before I knew it, it was nearly midday and I had rehearsals at two. We put the rest of the music on the laptop and I met Chris’ mum, Jo who was very pleasant. She was staying over due to Chris and Tom’s recent break-up – moral support much needed in a crisis like this.