Thursday, 17 May 2012

Stuck in the Middle: The Consequences of Falling

At the end of January this year, I had a one night stand. It happened, quite publicly at a party organised by the choir I am a member of. There were several remarkable and highly unusual elements about this, but perhaps nothing more so than the fact that it happened at all.

The other party, a young(er) and most comely member of the contingent of "fresh flesh" just delivered by that season's new intake of chorines, did all the chasing, thus popping my 10-year-old Chorus cherry.

In the morning we parted on amicable terms and electronic correspondence ensued in the following days. However, it very quickly transpired that, to use and paraphrase images of the song that gave part of its title to this post, his pulse didn't quicken like mine, his wishes were not the same as mine and that I was clearly alone in this. "This", being a desire to explore the connection further and see where it could lead us.

Since then, due to circumstances, there has been scant interaction between the two of us. When there has been, it has always been on the most civil and friendly terms but always very short and superficial. Nothing particularly surprising and untoward in all this, you might think.

Yet, four months on, I still find myself pining for what never was. While the part of me stuck in the middle of this is flailing miserably, the bit of me sitting in the stalls with a bucket of pop-corn and incredulously watching this pathetic overflow of bathos is trying rather unsuccessfully to make sense of it all and move on.

One thing is certain: this whole sorry business has little, if anything, to do with the young man (not) involved, who turned out to be merely a catalyst for this combustion I have to contend with. While there is evidence of physical chemistry between us, my inkling is that an intellectual connection would prove much more elusive.

Because of the circumstances of our meeting, I foolishly way-led myself up a blind alley and I haven't found a way to make a u-turn to the main road. I failed to notice the road signs pointing towards Casualville. And somehow a part of me hasn't realised that this IS a blind alley. My problem is the lack of what American sitcoms call closure.

And so, four months on, I still find myself facing the consequences of falling. If anyone has to be blamed in this, it is my inner prepubescent schoolgirl.

Though I had successfully managed to gag her, tie her up and lock her up in the deepest closet at the back of the attic of my mind (please don't call the RSPCC), she has somehow managed to free herself and she is back with a vengeance, starved eyes flaming with anger, forked dried hair snaking in the wind as stormclouds gather around her, anorexic, graceless body bedecked in pink, demanding for romance. Demanding someone special to burden with her crappy life and make her feel better about herself, less alone.

And, as is the case for so many prepubescent schoolgirl (let's call this one Britney), the idea of romance is far more appealing than actual imperfect romance. The appeal of what could have been with its red roses and violins, is very strong indeed and difficult to foreswear.

Envy, in her green, flowing robes, is also hovering close behind Britney, egging her on. The bright flame to which she burned her wings, like a clumsy moth, is good-looking, friendly, and popular, with lots of friends, sending into stark relief the barren cave where she stumbles daily.

It's as if Britney had been given the key to a warm and colourful make-up shop; as if she had been taken on a quick tour of it only to have said key snatched back immediately away from her imploring hands, to be kicked out in the cold, damp, grey street. All this at a time when she felt she was particularly in need of warmth, colour and make-up. Now, she is howling, as the rain runs down her emaciated cheeks: "Why not me?!"

Hopes have been awaken that I had successfully stifled until that fateful night. Hopes I should have known better than to allow flight, for I know it is easier not to have them, and, based on my track record, they are unlikely to ever be fulfilled. Hopes I am only too eager to stuff back into their box and rebury at the bottom of the garden like the decaying corpses that they are, before going back to being alone with my imaginary cats, those that will eat my face when I die.

If only I knew how.