The dance has begun

A little background – My lover had had some time off work for a minor injury requiring stitches on his shin. We had made a date for the following day, something we were both looking forward to, or so I had believed.

At midday.

Bad news, my leg is inflamed and sore.
I cancelled the Thames foreshore ramble.

oh dear, have you been overdoing it?

Might have to see the gp tomorrow

Should we postpone our date altogether?

Let’s see what the doctor says in the morning

Sure and wish you better xx
btw shall I tell the new guy chatting me up
he might get the chance after all
to meet me tomorrow?

Well of course if you have a choice
between an able-bodied stud and a limping invalid …
who can blame you?

Yeah I don’t do feeble well at all, as you know …

At 3pm

Are you really chatting some bloke up or just pulling my leg?

I’m chatting no one up but there is someone
who seems quite well read and quoting poetry to me…
I think I’m a little in love … er I mean impressed.

Well someone once said “she that with poetry is won,
is but a desk to write upon”*

Ah but wouldn’t you love to write at that desk?
I know you quite like putting your pen to paper there

I do have a fountain pen

And your ink of choice?

White on pink paper

6pm

Good news. I took off the bandage and it looks fine now
maybe it was just too tight

Who’s playing Florrie Nightingale tonight?

No one. I’ve been resting my leg
Wound does not look inflamed.

Oh is our date still on then?
Shall I tell the poet he’ll have to wait?

Yes tell him to get in line!

*Samuel Butler

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Polyamory

A few days have passed to mull over these relationships. Jan invited me to a meal at his local last weekend – of course he didn’t mention that some of his friends would be there – people I’d met at his birthday bash about a month ago. We were merry after the outing, walked back to his and watched a bit of TV together and then he kissed me and one thing led to another and for the first time in a long while we did more than just fall asleep in the same bed. He made me coffee the next morning and I came home after that. Will we be able to survive a holiday spent in each other’s company for eight days and nights?

And then there was the date with Goran when he’d come back from his family weekend break slightly in the wars having needed 10 stitches in his shin after it clashed with a piece of metal on his garden shed. He was rather the worse for wear and we stayed in and watched some John Oliver. I was going to make us dinner and when he said surprise me I’d rather taken him up on it and surprised the both of us by putting together a rather decent Vietnamese salad based solely on my dining experiences. I think he was fairly impressed by my culinary intuitiveness. Earlier in the week there had been a possibility that he might have postponed the date but when he was alerted to the fact that I might be making arrangements to meet someone else instead he had rather quickly confirmed our date.

Goran and I have been messaging each other over whatsapp almost daily. It’s occasionally salacious but more often than not mere genial exchanges. I puzzle over what we are to each other. Why won’t he sleep with anyone else? He says he’s still very much physically attracted to an ex-girlfriend who he still sees but who has foresworn intimate relations in the hope that the love of her life (another married man) makes an honest woman of her. I look back at our exchanges which go as far back as mid March this year. He is going away for a fortnight on a family holiday but tells me that he would continue to stay in touch. I am not used to the attention and am a little flattered.

Last night I met Ramon and we had another of our movie and dinner dates, this time in the West End. While waiting for the film to start he’d shown me a picture of his arm tattoo in the process of having the one symbolic of an old girlfriend – the one who had got away – covered. What am I to make of that – is it significant that he is in the process of getting over her? At the end of the date he kissed me on the lips which was rather lovely but with all that has passed between us I wonder again what the point of this was.

the sublime in your imperfection

Jan was my first love after the break up with Pierre. He sent me a message on the online dating website last April and we started an email back and forth for a bit before exchanging phone numbers. One thing led to another and I was besotted. But then the summer holidays came between us and he disappeared. Despondent, I wrote about my foolish heart that breaks again and again:-

One by one, my friends all counsel me
Why do you give him the time of day?
I don’t, really – I protest weakly.
Does my heart, or thoughts, my face betray?

We see you waiting, hoping he’ll ring
you sit with us but your mind’s astray
ears strained for that SMS ping!
a text from him to take you away.
you wait and wait forever it seems
though you come out for tea and dances
you have that look of passion’s sweet dreams
of love and fairy tale romances …

But no message, no call, nothing from my lover
and soon I come to my senses – it’s all over.

That was in July 2014. He let me down gently when he came back in August, that he was not for keeps being full of self doubt, often low and not good company. Stubbornly I clung on and though I assuaged the attention seeking side of me by dating others I kept the door ajar for him. We settled into an infrequent routine of impromptu dates. I made time to see him even when I got giddy over Ramon, Max, Liam and lately Goran.

It’s Jan with whom I’m going on holiday next month – eight whole days and nights in each other’s company mainly around the wildest part, the north west of the land of ice and fire. We’d booked the flights, hired the 4×4, plotted our journey and read guide books and dreamt together of the beautiful wildlife and landscapes we will encounter. Jan whom I’ve forgiven already for his recent faux pas over my libertine leanings. Why am I so smitten? Is it because he has written a poem for me? He went away at the end of spring and whilst sitting under the shade of a tree by a beach bar, his thoughts turned to me and he showed me what he’d penned:-

The ambient muzak loops eternal –
Order against the random
pounding of the waves below.
My romanticism is fired by the
sounds, the setting and the sun.

Though alone, thoughts of you
weave and tear through my heart
– I thought these feelings would stop
well before my half-century was up.
Apparently we are given these chances
in perpetuity – if we open our hearts
and feel. Let the moment
grasp us and take us up
beyond the ordinary pain of life and
into the divine light of love.

Someone has changed the music
But the feelings stay. My last beer
slides down and I must go back
into life and hope some love
follows me to my shore.

Cafe Sal Rosa, Albufeira, Portugal. May 2015

overtures of friendship

hey you.  fancy another movie and dinner date?

Hiya, yes I do.  When’s good for you?

The last movie and dinner date had ended with a bear hug and kiss on my left cheek goodbye.  I went home happy that the date with Ramon had been such a platonic success.  A couple of days later he sent me a message indicating that I had completely barked up the wrong tree:-

I have a confession to make…
You looked quite scrumptious the other evening

And I had to come home and spend some time looking at my photos of you

The photos he was referring to harked back to our days of passionate abandon when I had been giddy from all the attention he had been lavishing on me.   Our time together had been punctuated with misunderstandings and misreadings of intentions.  Eventually I’d fled feeling enormous embarrassment.  On my birthday he’d sent me a wish and about three months after that I suggested meeting up for a catch up.  A few months after that we caught up and then we had a repeat date – which had ended with the chaste hug..

Like a moth to a flame I dance back to Ramon even though I have an inkling that we’ll make the same mistake all over again.

a weekend without him

The man I’m regularly sleeping with is in an open marriage.  He told me that he never gets jealous and believes in being honest and upfront.  We’ve been seeing each other now for about three months and there have been thirteen dates.  The first one was just to have lunch and say hello.  There would have been a second to ease ourselves into a physical relationship because we were clear that this was going to be an adult liaison.  But he had to cancel and at the time I thought that he was just too flaky to rely on.  So I suggested that if he were serious about it he should book a hotel room and take it from there.

I didn’t really believe that he would actually do it. But he had booked us into quite a sweet little boutique hotel in the city and we spent a very enjoyable evening together exploring more than just the sights.  At first it was only a light flirtation as I had been a little enamoured over someone else who didn’t work out in the end until eventually Goran was the only one left standing.

I gave up most of my previous lovers for the other guy but somehow couldn’t turn the married one down.  Looking back at all the messages he’d sent me I realised there’d been at least one everyday since he made contact towards the end of March this year!  That in itself is remarkable as I hadn’t given him much thought then.

He gradually grew on me and to date I’ve written two poems about him.  The first was a little tongue in cheek as a birthday prezzie and the second was after our most recent date.  This weekend he’s going away with his family and I’m conscious that I might miss him.  It’s not the first time he’s been away since we’ve been seeing each other; there had been at least two other occasions.

His wife is a jealous type even though according to him she was the one who initiated the idea of an open marriage, being in a long term relationship with her own lover outside their marriage.  Still, a few times she’d rung him when we were on a date but it didn’t bother me.  I’m a bit of a commitment phobe and it suits me that he won’t leave his wife.

These days I often wonder what I am to him.