It had all turned out very well. Exceptionally so. And we had another date lined up.
What could possibly go wrong?
I’d called Lynette to make arrangements for the Saturday night. My cricket team was playing in the afternoon so I organized for us to meet at my folks’ place just around the corner from the home ground. We’d go to the clubrooms for the Christmas break-up function, and then on to the Prince of Wales Hotel in St Kilda, where a mate’s band were playing a late gig. After that, well, we’d be closer to her place in Hawthorn than my folks’ place in Ascot Vale so we might as well head back there and spend the night. It was going to be so perfect!
That’s one of the reasons why I was pretty upbeat when I arrived at my folks’ to meet her. The other reason was my team had won and I’d done okay, getting a couple of cheap tailender wickets to finish off the match.
She was already there and getting along with my mum like a house on fire. Mum was always very nice to my lady friends as a matter of policy. Anyone silly enough to go out with her idiot son had enough to contend with and didn’t need a difficult mother to complicate matters.
We got to the function and I introduced Lynette to my brother and his then wife and my closest club mates and their partners. One of the women had been at school with Lynette’s sister, so they struck up a conversation. Everything seemed to be running pretty smoothly so I felt relaxed. Laid back enough to join in a shout that involved a group of blokes who were much more seasoned drinkers than I was.
After the first couple of beers, I felt great. And after four beers I felt a little tipsy, merry even. About ready to stop drinking in case I got really drunk. But this was a serious, high-rotation shout I was in. And the beers just kept coming. Destination: near-oblivion; and I’d booked a first-class ticket. Well, so what? Lynette seemed to like me, I drunkenly reasoned. I mean, I’d fucked her for God’s sake, so it wouldn’t hurt if I did a bit of drinking and we had a good time before the guaranteed, ironclad prospect of follow-up sex back at her place. She was driving, so what harm could it do?
Now, this is where the downward spiral begins, because up until then everything had been fine. Lynette had chatted comfortably with the other women there and I'd engaged in blokey conversation with the guys around me. Now and then there'd even been cross-gender exchanges. Everyone seemed happy with the situation. Lynette and I were talking and touching, leaning close to hear each other because there was a band playing. I felt good that she was okay with us being close in public.
And then I swallowed the Absorbo Pill. I was stinko; schickered; wasted; whacked; hammered; plastered; sloshed. You name it. I was F Scott Fitzgerald, only talentless and unattractive . And I talked. The greatest load of rubbish you’ve ever heard. Firstly, mingling with the blokes from my cricket side. Earnest, emotional stream-of consciousness crap. About the team and what I thought we needed to do to win the flag. I got pretty absorbed in it. And I went on, and on, and on. The blokes just put up with it and manfully hid their annoyance. The tolerance of friends. Never take it for granted.
I kept looking over at Lynette and thinking, “Shit. I should be over there talking to her. In a minute. She’ll be okay.”
Next time I glanced over, she appeared to be looking a little neglected. “I’d better get over there,” I thought. But I was apprehensive and hesitant. How could I put things right? I’ll have a think about that while I’m chatting just a little bit more with these great blokes.
I think it was someone’s girlfriend who came over and suggested I rejoin Lynette. I complied, but I was beyond making sense at this point. We got up to dance and about halfway through the first song, I overbalanced and fell against her. That’s about as much as I can remember clearly from the part of the evening spent at the cricket club.
The rest is just a blur: of lights; noise; Lynette dancing with one of the blokes from the First XI; Lynette writing something on a piece of paper and handing it to him; me not being game to ask her what that was all about. But asking her if she wanted to get going. She didn’t. Going to the toilet and having one of our more outspoken players tell me Lynette was a good sort and half-jokingly mention that he thought she was wasted on me.
We must have left eventually. Because the next thing I remember we were in her car arguing about where we were going next. She was adamant that I hadn’t mentioned anything about going to see a band at the Prince of Wales. I was insistent that I had clearly told her about it. She was probably right. Sometimes I make plans in my mind that seem settled. My thought processes then turn to self-congratulation and I forget all about informing affected parties about said plans. I don’t have to be drunk to do this. I also don’t have to be drunk to prolong an argument when I think I’m right. This applies especially when I am in actual fact wrong.
She wanted to call it a night. Seemed to be doing a lot of sighing. But I stupidly thought the situation was salvageable so started pathetically pleading a case for going back to her place. She said she wanted to drop me home at my folks’.
She must have agreed just to shut me the fuck up because the next flash of memory is of driving up Johnston St towards Hawthorn. I fumblingly tried to apologise. She made one of those tongue-clicking noises and exasperated groaning-type sounds. She was past wanting to hear anything from me. I didn’t take the hint. I started talking about that day’s cricket match. She wasn’t interested. In cricket or me. I persisted with clumsy, slurred attempts at conversation.
She must have helped me out of the car and onto the couch. But when I woke up what must have been a short time later it was straight into the bedroom and under the covers alongside her. I fumbled with her until she shook me off. Then I think I might have kept fumbling with her for a little while longer. Only about an hour. Maybe more than an hour. And then I must have fallen asleep.
Early morning and I needed to go to the toilet. Quickly. I remembered where it was from our first date: out the back. So I walked down the passageway, bumping into walls on either side until I arrived at the back door. The key wouldn’t turn. My bladder was bursting. I could feel urine starting to rise up inside my penis. Try the front door and piss in the front yard! A run back down the passage to find the front door deadlocked. Shit. Only seconds left: her bedroom bay windows and pissing out onto the front veranda my last hope.
I pulled the curtains back noisily in the dark, and rattled the casement windows to no avail. Release. I found myself pissing against her bedroom wall under the windows. It was a long piss too. I had the decency to hold back the usual accompanying fart.
“What are you doing?”
Panic. “Oh Lynette, you’re awake. I couldn’t get the back door unlocked. The key wouldn’t turn and then the front door was deadlocked so I tried the windows here.” Still pissing.
“You didn’t need to turn the key. I left the back door unlocked for you in case you needed to go. But what are you doing?”
“Oh look, I’m sorry Lynette but I’ve just gone to the toilet in here….” Should have used present tense there. I was still pissing.
“What!!! Oh Jesus Christ.”
Finished, I politely kept my back turned while I shook the drops off.
She went to get paper towels and disinfectant and I offered to help but she told me to get out of her way. I returned sheepishly to bed. She didn’t. She went to sleep on the couch.
I caught a taxi home the next morning. But only after vainly trying to get her to come back to bed. And then joining her uncomfortably on the couch. For poor Lynette, it was so much more than just a bad date.
I stupidly rang her a couple of days later but her housemate told me she was staying at her folks’ for Christmas. Even more stupidly, I rang her there. There was no exchange of pleasantries. She just wanted to know how I’d got the number, so I assured her that her housemates hadn’t told me, I’d just looked her folks up in the phone book. I asked her if she wanted to do something New Years’ Eve. She didn’t think so.
I spent a couple of days thinking about whether I should call her back again or not. You never know, she might have changed her mind. Jesus Christ, the first date had gone alright.
And then, thankfully for all concerned, I decided not to.