“That’s the way it goes with romance.– True Romance (Quentin Tarantino)
Usually that’s the way it goes,
But, just sometimes, it goes the other way too.”
When I got back to my flat late that Saturday night, I was tired, a little sad, but also happy. Two weeks ago, I had been contentedly single, my love life unimportant. But within those few short weeks, days even, I had fallen for a guy, and he was interested in me. And I had made it happen! And although we hadn’t connected yet, I was hopeful that we soon would.
The next day I went to work at the bakery and prepared myself to go back to uni. I looked over the papers on my desk, reminded by an invitation that Fiona was having her 21st birthday party next weekend and myself and guest were invited.
“Bad timing,” I sighed.
I was living in the UNSW residences in Randwick with some other students including Alison. I got along well with her and although we were friendly, we were not friends. But even though moved in different circles we would often talk about all sorts of topics when we had the chance.
Alison was a pretty girl, who liked to be physically active and was always ready to jump into a new experience if offered the chance. So, when she went away on another one of her army camps that winter it just seemed par for the course.
After two weeks away, I came home to I find that Alison had returned and was sitting in the lounge room of the flat that Sunday afternoon so I paused for a catch up with her. She was positively buzzing with excitement which intrigued me. Normally she was a little more subdued after the physical demands of a camp, but that afternoon she seemed to be bursting at the seams. She told me that she’d had had a great time in Queensland on the camp but there had been an extra special bonus that she hadn’t anticipated.
“Well?” I had to know what had gotten her so animated.
“I met a guy.”
“Really?” Alison had a fun going personality and was happy in the company of the guys she met but she was choosy. I knew that she had had a couple brief encounters since I had known her, but nothing was going on now. I needed to know more.
“And not just any guy, a man!” she gushed. I was now hooked and sat down so she could tell me the whole story.
According to Alison she had been happily going about her army stuff until the second week of the camp. Then she quite unexpectedly started getting interested in an officer – Jeremy – and by the end of the camp she was tying herself in knots trying to engineer a moment alone with him just to let him know that she existed. Eventually Alison had been able to get through to him on, of all places, the football field – oh Alison. After that it was smooth sailing-ish. There was a last-minute panic before she had had to come home to Randwick, but they had finally exchanged numbers and he said that he would visit her soon from Canberra.
As the afternoon wore on, I was sitting with Camilla in the lounge room, filling her in on the camp, but mostly telling her about Jeremy, when the phone rang. Camilla picked up and said, “Yes, she’s here. Just one moment.” She covered the phone and whispered, “It’s a man…”
Who could it be? It had been less than 24 hours so it couldn’t be Jeremy! But it was. He was calling me already! I pulled a face at Camilla and furiously started stabbing my finger at the phone. She gasped and covered her mouth. Shrieking silently with delight.
Jeremy said he’d be coming up to Sydney in just a few weeks if I still wanted to catch up. But, like the idiot that I sometimes am, the practical part of me took over and I unintentionally blurted out that I had exams at that time. I immediately knew that I’d shot myself in the foot. But luckily, I remembered the 21st party so I asked if he could come as my guest (date). Surely not, it was too soon for him to drive all the way up here. He’d just gotten home after two weeks.
After overnighting in Penrith, we were the last to leave and I finally got back to my house in Canberra early on Sunday afternoon. The house had been half cleared out by Liz leaving me in no doubt that I was now single. I immediately rang Alison to arrange visiting her in Sydney in early August. When she told me that she had exams then I said that that was okay and maybe another time would be better. However, Alison quickly said she would still like me to come to Sydney then to distract her.
I was happy that Alison was excited about meeting this guy but probably wouldn’t have raised the subject again, just in case, when the phone rang. I was the closest, so I answered.
“Hello, may I speak with Alison please?” said a deep male voice.
Alison took the phone and immediately begin to smile. She looked at me and started jabbing at the phone like a woman possessed and grinning like an idiot. Surely not, I thought to myself. What were the odds? I was about to make myself scarce when Alison blurted out, “(but) I’ve got exams in August.”
Alison then said that it was a pity I couldn’t come next weekend as she had been invited to a 21st birthday party and that she had no one to take as her guest. I said that I could come but, testing the waters, that her friends might think I was too old for them (her). She said that I was only 26 so it wasn’t a problem for her. She offered me the choice of a mattress on her floor or her bed to sleep on if I came.
“You could sleep on a mattress in my room or take my bed,” I heard myself saying. Camilla covered her mouth and laughed at my feeble attempt at playing it cool. But Jeremy rode to my rescue like a knight in shining armour.
“Of course I’ll come up next weekend. I’d love too.”
We said goodbye, I hung up and let out a squeal of delight.
Camilla laughed at me and said, “the floor Alison, really?” God what an idiot I am. As if he was going to be anywhere that night but right next me.
Oh Alison, you twit. Luckily for her she immediately had a fall back, next weekend’s party. Jeremy must have agreed because when Alison finally hung up, she was beaming.
“He’s coming on the weekend!”
“I bet he will,” I thought to myself.