24 May, 2007

The Ballad of Lad Litter and TLOML II

Are you with me so far?

1) No girlfriend;
2) No prospects;
3) In a downward spiral;
4) Resigned to a lonely existence and to live miserably ever after;

I wasn’t going out much, avoiding friends and gatherings as I felt unfit for good company. No-one was beating a path to my door either. And I was almost past begrudging them.

A former colleague of mine who worked with TLOML was killed in a car accident in April of that year. It was a pretty sad business. He was a funny, social catalyst-type bloke with a bit of niggle about him and was always good-naturedly putting you on the back foot. He had legions of friends and a long-time girlfriend who the accident had left quadriplegic. The ol’ workplace was suffering from his absence. TLOML had got along particularly well with him and was devastated.

About a month after all this, I wandered into the pub one Friday evening for a round of after work drinks. It was the first time in ages and even then only because I happened to be in the neighbourhood. I almost didn’t go. Sliding Doors and all that.

I sat down with a group of people including TLOML and a few others and chatted until about six. People started drifting off and I found myself in conversation with TLOML, a friend of hers and the friend’s latest two-week stand boyfriend. This bloke also had one of his mates along. Party of five.

And I was feeling like the fifth wheel. It looked like the friend was angling to set up TLOML and her new boyfriend’s mate. I was about to head home but TLOML and I had somehow got into a conversation between just the two of us and I was enjoying myself. Plenty of eye contact and we seemed to be connecting. She was lovely. I warned myself not to be fooled. Told myself to make a few excuses and leave gracefully, but stayed on anyway.

After what seemed like a fairly short time but probably wasn’t, I looked around and noticed everyone else had gone.

Moment of truth. This situation looked immediately promising. A voice inside kept telling me to get the hell out before I spoiled everything. I didn’t listen. I asked TLOML if she was interested in getting a bite to eat and that I knew a reasonably priced Turkish restaurant in Sydney Rd. She was okay with that. I didn’t have to listen to the voice inside me. It had stopped.

TLOML followed me back to my place and we left my car there. At the restaurant, conversation flowed easily and I found myself relaxed and feeling pretty natural. She was such good company, so much so that I hardly noticed the belly dancer at all. I was looking at a vision, but I felt so at ease with her, and I hadn’t said anything stupid. This was unusual. I didn’t feel like I had to impress her either. This was extraordinary.

Back to my place for coffee. I put on a record. Probably Neil Young. We sat on the couch and talked some more and she admired the curtains in my lounge room. They had a tasteful forest print motif. I touched her chin and turned her face towards me.

“What are you doing?”
“Oh nothing really, I think I’d better let this sentence just trail off into nothing with a pathetic, mumbled and near-inaudible apology at the end….”

She didn’t laugh and left soon after that. After I’d waved her goodbye, there was still no voice in my head. But there were klaxons and air-raid sirens going off aplenty. I’d blown it. And not only had I blown it, I’d acted against my newly-minted principles by making a move.

I felt like crap. Again.


Andrew said...

Reading with interest.

Lad Litter said...

Thanks Andrew. Hopefully compound interest for you as the story progresses. Quite fun writing about a life-defining sequence of events.

Legal Eagle said...

I'm enjoying it too. Reminds me a bit of the story of how my husband and I met. If I hadn't swapped seats at that wedding and ended up sitting next to him, if we hadn't seen each other at a party six months later...

Lad Litter said...

Ah happenstance, LE! Where would we be without it? The many combinations of seemingly random circumstances that make up our life paths. But was that seat swapping purely accidental?

Ann ODyne said...

yes yes - 'Sliding Doors'.

now was it After The Goldrush ? or American Stars and Bars ... "it's the bankers wife I'm after"

Lad Litter said...

Thanks BWCA. It would have been After The Goldrush, (Oh, Lonesome Me!) a superb album from 1970 and superior to the more renowned Harvest of 1972.

Steph said...

And then????? Don't leave me hanging!!!!

Lad Litter said...

And then.........stay tuned Steph, it gets hotter!