I don’t remember her name. In all honesty, I don’t remember much about that night. What with the amount of free alcohol involved, I’m almost certain she doesn’t remember me at all… but I don’t drink, so I remember her.
It was the first and only time I’d ever been to a party held by members of the British aristocracy. I wasn’t aware, for a few years, that I was friends with Lord Grey’s daughter. She had mentioned a signet ring a few times, but I didn’t think much of that, either. I think it was the mention of the name of her house that tipped me off… but, in any case, I was surprised – if pleased – to be invited.
I told her once that I had a crush on her, so I think she may have felt weird about it. That was never mentioned again, though, so…
In any case, there I was, on the dancefloor getting down to Make Me Smile by Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel – incidentally the song I’d gotten dressed to that morning – and waiting for the inevitable roar that accompanies Mr. Brightside, as a song about being cheated on is really what you want accompanying a joyous party.
Wait, what was this blog post about again?
So, yes. I don’t remember her name. I remember that she was shorter than me (but then a lot of people are); I also remember frizzy hair, a wide smile and, of course, that she was very pretty. But then everyone was. Everyone who’s unattainable is fucking beautiful. In my defence, she started talking to me first.
“Hey!” she beamed. “How old are you?”
Yes, it’s an odd opener, but at least it’s one I was able to answer.
“Hi! I’m nineteen,” I said. “How old are you?” I added, a split-second before realising that this was probably a rude question to ask.
“You’re nineteen?” she said, aghast. “You look older. I’m thirty.”
“You look younger,” I said, as I assumed that was the right thing to say. She certainly did look younger than thirty; I wasn’t sure whether to feel flattered or insulted that she had decided I look old. I settled for being politely befuddled.
“I want a drink; do you want a drink?” she ejaculated, at which a servant (yes, I know) appeared with a tray of beverages. I took a Diet Coke, which was probably the only thing without any alcohol in it.
“So, I…” I started, at which point she interrupted with, “see you later!” and swanned off. Which was probably a good thing, as I didn’t really know what I was going to say.
“ILB! Come dance!” yelled my aristocratic friend from the middle of a mill of bodies.
“I thought I was?”
“No, you’ve just been talking to…” [I forget her name, as I said above!] “…come here and dance!”
I took a swig of my Diet Coke, and went to dance.
About an hour of wearing my legs out later, she found me again. She had had a little more alcohol by this point.
“Here’s an observation,” she said over the music (which had somehow become exponentially louder – I suppose that the manor house we were in wasn’t exactly in a residential area), “you’re nineteen, I’m thirty, and that shouldn’t matter!”
“It doesn’t,” I agreed, “time is a concept.”
I didn’t talk to her again, although as my level of blood sugar began to wane, it slowly began to dawn on me that I may have been being flirted with. It’s the right environment to do it, as well – if everything goes wrong, you can use the music as an excuse to get out quick. But this wasn’t your average student disco – it was a birthday party at a manor house, hosted by the aristocracy – so what exactly was she trying to achieve?
Let’s assume, for impossibility’s sake, that she was flirting with me, but put off by the fact that I was indecently young, and that I reciprocated. Now let’s assume, further to that, that we pulled. Where were we meant to go from there? Everyone was going to be in sleeping bags in a huge marquee out on the lawn after the party, so what exactly would we do? Get into one together and hope that nobody noticed?
As it turned out, it didn’t matter. She vanished after a while. As it turned out, she lived in the local area. So she just walked home.
I quaffed a few more Diet Cokes before realising that I’d forgotten my sleeping bag… and that Meg, who had driven me up there, had hers clearly visible.
So I did end up in a sleeping bag with someone else that night, after all.