Sunday, February 17, 2008

"Valentines, Shamlentines"

It has been said that you should follow your gut instincts and I do try to do that. After getting the feeling that Jaime hadn't really been willing to talk to me, with little to no contact since our vague plans of me going to stay with her, my hope was renewed when I was made aware that she'd written on my wall (not my actual wall, Facebook of course.)

"And how's Noah doing? I hope you're well. xx"

Nice, friendly, and polite. Good stuff. Slowly working my way back, I thought to myself. I'd later ask myself the question all guys want to know the answer to, or at least be given a clue towards: why are women so confusing?

I hadn't had much time to think about Jaime with my mother's birthday fast approaching and trying to organise my travel arrangements home, so I half heartedly kept returning her comments.

After travelling home with a not-so-well known CBBC TV presenter, via train, bus and another train thanks to overhead cables fucking me over, I got home three hours later than planned. Just in time to celebrate my mother's birthday, she cracked open a bottle of bubbly. What a lovely homecoming, or so I thought.

"I have this little theory," I once told my new friend Glynn, "that every time I come home something always goes wrong. Friends have changed. I've changed. Travelling is a nightmare. Something tends to go wrong, and I'm never sure whether I'm just over thinking it or whether that's just my luck." Since Ben’s departure, since which I hadn’t spoken to him, Glynn had fast become a good friend of mine.

After a good night’s sleep, which was desperately needed, I woke up to news I’d sort of expected, but still didn’t want to hear.

“Noah!! I have gossip for you. Text me back and I’ll ring you. Haley x”

Oh great, Valentine’s Day and I’m about to hear something about two people I probably don’t care about and how they hooked up and it was hot, I thought to myself. I was totally unaware of what I was about to hear.

“Noah. You won’t believe who has a boyfriend.” Haley spat at me.

“So you and that guy you live next door and have shared the lift with for months are finally going out?”

“Don’t be stupid. You know I’m still completely in love with J.”

“Jeez. Are you kidding me? Anyway, go on; tell me the big news...” There was a pause, almost as if Haley was rethinking whether she should tell me.

“Well,” another pause, then a slight giggle, “it’s Jaime! With a guy called Rory.” I was gutted. My stomach felt like it had been pulled out.

I quickly retorted like that famous character Lauren from The Catherine Tate Show, “Well, am I even bothered? No.”

“Well Noah, you do sound kind of bothered.” Was she fucking surprised? This wasn’t the first time she’d broken news about Jaime to me (i.e. the time she told me about Miguel when I was out to celebrate.)

“Well, I’m not. So you can report back to Jaime and tell her that I don’t fucking care what she does. I just hope she’s happy.” Click.

So I ended up spending Valentine’s Day with my mother, sweet yes? The catch? We went to a funeral. My next door neighbour’s father, who was very old, passed away, and I offered to stay another day and go to the funeral. I have to admit, I did have an ulterior motive. I’d heard one of my childhood sweethearts would be there. And who isn’t curious to see their childhood sweethearts again? Back then she was blonde, blue eyes, bubbly, and reminded me so much of one of the Olsen twins. So suffice to say, although it was sad day, I was anxious/curious/interested (delete applicable) to seeing what she was like some years later.

As my mum and I walked up the steps to the church, when the congregation were waiting outside, I spotted the childhood sweetheart. She was a brunette. A still looked as lovely as before when she was blonde. We smiled at each other, with the look of recognition, as she registered who I was, cross her face. I heard her whisper to her older sister, “He looks so different.” I smirked. Then remembered I was at a funeral.

“I always find churches a great place for eye candy.” I told my flatmate A over one Starbucks too many. “I think it’s the whole forbidden love thing that makes it great. I remember once at one of my cousin’s Christenings I spotted the cutest girl I’ve seen in a while, she had that Spanish vibe going on, and you know I’m all over foreign girls.” I said, referring to the girl from the Czech Republic I’d kissed a couple of nights before on one of many nights out. “And for the rest of the service, I couldn’t stop thinking about this sweet, Church girl, who looked about 18 or 19. And she even helped out with the Sunday school.”

After the funeral service, my mum and I left and I gave a polite smile to the childhood sweetheart as she passed on her way to the burial in my neighbour’s car. She smiled back, looking shy.

“She looks so different,” my Mum said on the way back home in the car.