So its Saturday night, and due to financial restrictions I'm having a quiet night in. To be honest nights like these are the rule rather than the exception, as the saving I always plan to do never materialises for one reason or another.
So I'm sat here typing away, a bottle of Corona sits on a coaster on the coffee table to my left, and thoughts about life drift through my mind like empty crisp packets in a park on a windy day. A few minutes ago, I was feeling quite lonely as the sound of people voices from the Indian Restaurant next door filtered through into range of my hearing. They reminded me of how busy life with another person can be, which in turn led me to look back at those moments I have shared my life with people.
Now I'm not going to go into details, but I do consider myself to have been very, very lucky. I have fallen in love properly on only three occasions: The 1st was my 1st love, who I would later in life go on to marry - and then divorce very quickly. The second was unrequited - an amazing young woman from New Zealand, who tore down the boundaries of my world and rebuilt them a million miles either side of my imagination, just by being herself. We were friends (and still are), but she never felt the same. But that is cool; my love for her was not on condition that she loved me back. The third time I really fell in love was actually with three people, and three dogs - and several chickens. Between them, they saved me from the life I had, and gave me a much better life where I am now. I will always be grateful for them for that - always.
All the other times, I have been lucky enough to have been allowed to share the lives of some fabulous people. I have loved lots of people and have cared for them greatly - but more incredibly, these people have cared for and loved a fool like me, and I will never ever forget that.
I have had regrets - mainly about the two occasions in my life where I have met a person who thinks the world of me, and I have thought the world of them, but something wasn't right with me and I didn't feel exactly the same way. I have felt guilt for the fact that my perception of attractiveness has stopped me sharing what would have been an incredible relationship on all other levels. It has been at these times, where I have felt that I don't deserve to be with anyone. I hurt both these people, though I never intended to and I'll always regret that.
And then there was this one time (at band camp?) many years ago, where for some reason the fates conspired against me:
I was living in Basildon, and working in London. On this particular day I had the day off, and was on the bus into town. I was standing, as the bus was pretty full. My stop was coming up, so I pressed the bell and waited for the bus to stop.
As I did so, I looked back down the bus - and saw this beautiful girl with long brown hair. Well, I didn't notice her at first as I glanced without really seeing at the other passengers, but then she gave me the most amazing smile I have ever seen in my life so far. She nearly knocked me off my feet with it, and I completely forgot for a second about getting off the bus. When I did remember, I sort of stumbled and tripped down the stairs and then just stood there watching the bus pull away.
You have to understand that getting smiled at doesn't happen to me, so I was really pleasantly surprised by it. But you also have to understand that I knew that nothing else would have ever come of it so, as the bus disappeared into the distance, I put the smile down to a nice thing to happen to me, and thought nothing of it. Now, I was shopping that day for a birthday card for my Nephew and was making my way through the Eastgate shopping centre to Clinton Cards, not really concentrating - when I saw this girl again. She was in town walking with an elderly relative . They had stopped, and she looked round, saw me, and smiled again!
If getting smiled at once was a rarity, getting smiled at twice - BY THE SAME GIRL - was about as rare as an honest politician riding a dodo on Halley's Comet during a Solar Eclipse.
Alarm bells were going off in my head: 'Interested Female Alert! Interested Female Alert! This is not a drill!' I couldn't believe it! The girl and her grandfather (I presumed - please don't let it be her boyfriend, the sicko!) started moving off again, so I hatched a cunning plan; Nip into Clinton Cards - which was a few yards to my left - get the card, then come back out, catch the girl up, ask her out, marry her, and live happily ever after.
I nipped into the card shop, bought the card, came back out.
The girl had disappeared.
So had her grandfather - he wasn't left standing there looking around helplessly.
I then spent the next three hours wandering around Basildon's comprehensive shopping precinct, searching for this girl. I went into every shop, had three separate meals at the food court, and sat on every bench in the vicinity. I even patrolled up and down the bus station like an over zealous bus spotter, assuming that because she came to town by bus, she would leave town by the same mode of transport. But to no avail - it was like she had disappeared off the face of the earth.
Dejected, I made one last circuit of the shopping centre and then walked to bust station to catch my bus home.
And would you Adam and Bloody Eve it, there she was! Having given up hope of ever seeeing her again, there she was, just as you like it.
I wasted no time, I walked up to her, said hello (manners cost nothing you know), and asked if I could buy her a drink some time. She said yes, and we swapped mobile phone numbers.
Elated, I took the Cloud number 9 home.
Later that night, I thought "Sod it - I'll call her and see what she is doing tomorrow. While I'm there I'll ask her what her name is." I forgotten to ask her at the bus station. So I entered her number into my phone and pressed "call". Nothing happened - all I got was a continuous tone. I tried again, and again, but still got the same tone.
Yes, I'd written her number down wrong.
I tried everything, all different combinations of the number, I tried to find out from the mobile phone company what the number should be. I took the same day off the following week, and got on the same bus at the same time of day in the hope of seeing her again, but no luck. I wanted to leave a note with the bus driver for them to show to every passenger on that route for the next week, but they wouldn't do it.
You've probably got some idea of how gutted I felt. Well, it was much worse.I coudn't belive it, I really couldn't.
And then, one night a week later my mobile rings.
I answer it - and it's her! Can you belive it!? After all I've gone through with losing her in town, and then writing her number down worng, here she was on the phone!!!
She says "I thought you were going to call me?". I start to say "I was, but I wrote your number down wrong", but halfway through that sentence, there is a piercing loud beep in my ear, and the phone goes dead.
And I never ever heard from her or saw her again. I never got to even find out her name.
I still think about her every now and then, and wonder what might have been.
And I also think about all the other people who have allowed me into their lives and their hearts, and I know now that if I was to die tomorrow, I would die a very, very lucky man.