Each Queen’s Birthday long weekend I get nostalgic. About a boy. Of course. To my detriment, my memory’s like a really well detailed diary. And I can remember conversations, looks, movements and events like they’ve just taken place. I realised that this event happened four years ago. And for perhaps three subsequent years I teetered between being glad and regretting it ever happened. (This teetering still applies now – similar situation, different boy.) Time flies. And the lyrics of songs remind me of that Queen’s Birthday long weekend 2007. Pink and Adele is the music I’ve been missing. The songs are about love lost, the one that got away, and holding onto memories.
When I hear this song I think about what may have been.
“You were mine
In the back of my mind
Oh just for one night
Just for a while…”
The presenter who announces this song talks about a singer who you’ve never met being able to describe how you felt during an exact moment in your life. Adele seems to know exactly how I feel about love.
“I had hoped you’d see my face,
And that you’d be reminded that for me it isn’t over,
Nevermind, I’ll find someone like you,
I wish nothing but the best for you, too,
Don’t forget me, I beg…”
That Queen’s Birthday long weekend was spent at my parents’ house. I traveled up in the car on the Friday night with some friends who also have family there. My Dad had just had an operation. My best male friend called me on the Saturday night asking me to come over on the Sunday night.
I had been friends with this boy for years – since the final year of school. He is the same age as me. We worked together. I’d always thought he was cute but I was only ever interested in someone else I worked with. When I moved to Melbourne we grew closer – talking on the phone for ages. I’d hang out with him when I went back home. He was funny, cute and intelligent. One day I realised I really liked him. I think the day I realised I liked him was in 2005 when he came to stay with me in Melbourne and we saw a concert together. There was a moment between us – that never went far – plus he sat through a Savage Garden DVD to help me connect my DVD player to my TV.
Of course I never said anything about my feelings to him. I would just sit and watch the footy or cricket to be with him. When I moved back with my parents in 2006, we’d hang out together almost every Friday night, watching the Chaser and listening to music. He took me out for dinner on my last night before I moved back to Melbourne. I hadn’t fallen for someone like I did for him for a while.
So that weekend in 2007. I was quite sore so I had told Mum I wouldn’t be home late. I drove her car to his place. I took him some beer to thank him for having me. We did the usual arguing about what we’d have for dinner. We went out for Mexican. He was happy. His football team had won. He’d been drinking all afternoon. He let me drive his car. I had one wine at dinner, he had margaritas, and would only let me have a sip as he knew I’d get drunk on just the smell of it. He kept on telling me he thought the waitress was hot. After dinner we went to the pub – the one we’d hang out at after work all those years ago. It was a freezing night. We stood by the fire but an older woman – a boiler as my Dad would say – was eyeing him off and so I asked him if we could sit down in a booth. A guy who recognised me from pre-school came up to talk to us for ages. When he left, the boy was telling me how hot the girl at the bar was. I’d had enough.
I told him he can’t talk to me like I am his mate. He said I am his mate. I said I know, but I am also a girl. I said he can’t take me out for dinner, pay for a $100 meal, buy me drinks, let me drive his car, and tell me he thinks the barmaid is hot. He didn’t see this as a problem. I said he doesn’t know how I feel about him, and walked out of the pub – with his car keys. He had to come with me of course.
When we got back to his house we were cold and warmed up by the heater. There was a lot of flirting. He asked me to cut his hair. I did. I told him that I bet the barmaid wouldn’t have cut his hair. And then it happened. We had this massive playfight and fits of laughter. He kissed me. Several times.
At 3 am his house phone rang. He told me to answer it. It was my Mum. Worried sick that I’d not come home. And I was at the awkward moment of not knowing whether I was going to stay the night. I didn’t want to ask him.
We kissed some more. And then he asked me to stay. And then he said he couldn’t do this. And that he hoped he “hadn’t fucked things up between us”.
I got up to leave. He told me he liked me a lot but I was “too fucking special”. Compliment? I looked him in the eyes and told him I’d loved him for a very long time.
We’ve only spoken of that night once since it happened. I’ve seen him twice – both times were very difficult. I once got drunk after some dwarfs called me ugly and said “I know you don’t love me back but some dwarfs called me ugly…”.
We still talk. Things aren’t as awkward anymore but the flow and length of conversation is not the same. He told me once about a girl he’d been seeing. I never wished him well then, but maybe I would now. I can’t bring myself to talk to him about the current boy I love. It makes me sad.
Four years have passed and I still wish we still had the friendship we once had. Last Christmas he sent me a text, telling me how lucky he is to have me in his life.
The one that got away. The story of my late 20s.