Love, sex and interminable pop-culture references

Category: Love

Innocent Loverboy’s Posts about Love

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Some time around 6am, I have a dream about my pet millipede, Big, who died when I was in my teens. He’s not actually in it; I’m singing a song to the tune of something like one of the more melodic numbers from Hamilton. It goes something like:

Look at him
So smooth, so round
Look at him
So sleek, so sound
(I want to see)
Look at him
So tough, so cool
(I have to see, just let me see)
Look at him
Just to hold him
To hold him once more…

I wake up and, not for the first time, I realise that I am crying.

I don’t know why I’m crying. I have nightmares about being cheated on; they make me cry. I have half-dreams-in-my-naps about odd sexual situations; they make me horny. I don’t appear to have any others. Maybe I do – I just don’t remember them. There’s no way of knowing, is there, unless someone invents a video dream recorder?

Girlfriend wakes up to the sound of me crying. I can’t explain exactly why I’m crying. I don’t know myself. Big was a good millipede. He lived a long and happy life, and died of old age. I took very good care of him (and I’m still looking for the only extant photo of us, looking at each other. I know it exists somewhere.); he’s not someone I should be sad about.

She asks; I can’t explain. She rolls over and wraps an arm around me. I cry until I can’t any more. Tears rolling down my cheeks, soaking my pillow. I’m lying there, my duvet half off, some of me hot, some of me cold. Paroxysms of grief, perhaps, or just the fact that my dream was set to music. Sad music makes me cry.

Her arm doesn’t move. She doesn’t say a thing. She just lets me cry while she holds me.

I feel a little better that I’ve got someone holding me. I go back to sleep, and for a while when I wake up a few hours later, I barely remember my sad dream at all.

We have been together for eight years. It was our anniversary yesterday (and we had a good day, for what it is worth). And yet I am still discovering things about her that I had forgotten. The fact that I fell asleep in her arms is one of them.

She may be many things, but one of them is a source of comfort. And, when that counts, it counts for so much.

Star Guitar

A person of interest
You’re a person of interest
Won’t say I’m in love, yeah
But certainly impressed

It had been a long day. I hadn’t even been too interested in most of the bands playing, and in truth, I’d only really been to see the band Music Man was in. I was, to use the technical term, a fan – and he was a friend. The fact that I got to miss a day of school to sit in a theatre and watch rock bands was probably a plus, as well.

The garage crew (who eventually won the contest) were the absolute worst. I may not have been a fan of garage, but my token black friend (who was seriously into the So Solid Crew, et al.) corroborated the fact that they sucked. In fact, most of them sucked, with the exception of Music Man’s band and a couple of more punky girl bands from schools I didn’t know existed.

And then I completely forgot about everything else.

She walked onto the stage already wearing her guitar – although she was also wearing a school tie, which I suppose was some sort of attempt to look as indie as possible. For some reason, and to this day I don’t know exactly why, I was completely transfixed.

I don’t recall the name of the band, nor do I the song they played. I remember liking it, but nothing more than that. I do, however, recall staring from my seat in the raked stalls, completely oblivious to anything Lightsinthesky, Music Man, or my token black friend were saying. Rhythm guitar… she played rhythm guitar. Of course she did. I played rhythm guitar too. I just wasn’t in a band. But then she didn’t know that.

She didn’t know me. But then I could change that.

As luck would have it, she ended up standing two stairs away from me after the bands were all finished playing and the judges were deliberating their wrong decision. So I, courteously I hope, introduced myself.

“I really liked your guitar playing,” I said. It wasn’t entirely a lie; I mean, I enjoyed the performance. Her guitar playing was part of it. I couldn’t quite divine which guitar part it was, but still.
“Oh! Thanks!” she beamed. “I’ll give you a hug for that.”

Oh, look at those beautiful eyes…

And she gave me a hug. I was new to hugs at that point. I’m a seasoned hugger now, but back at 16, any sort of physical contact was a bonus.

That’s so nice. So warm and soft.

And after that I just kind of… stopped. I mean, what was I meant to say then? Perhaps ask her to introduce me to some of her friends in the band? Maybe ask her how long she’s been playing the guitar for? I mean, there was a common interest. I could have even told her that I liked her style… because I did; the tie was a bit incongruous, but maybe that was the point.

And that hair. So long and so shiny. I just want to brush it.

Maybe I could say it. “Hey, I just met you, and I’ve no idea what you’re into apart from rock music, but I’ve got a crush on you, so maybe you might consider going for a…?” What? A drink? Is that a thing people do on dates? I’d never been on a date.

But I didn’t say it. Lightsinthesky pulled me onto the dance floor for a mosh to the metal band that had won the second prize. In all fairness, it was my first mosh. I certainly had something to share at Woodcraft that evening, even if I eventually had to demonstrate how to mosh by throwing myself against the wall.

As things started to dissipate and the harried security guy tried to break up what was threatening to turn into a mass crowd surf, I found myself looking around to see if she was still there. She was – on her own. On the stairs where I’d been talking to her. But the event was definitely coming to a close, and I knew that when it did, she’d walk out of my life, possibly forever.

But then I shook myself. I’d looked at someone, become attracted to her, actually genuinely had a conversation with her and got a hug in an exchange for a compliment. At 16, that was pretty much the furthest I’d gotten with anyone.

“What are you looking at?” asked Music Man, emerging himself from the moshpit. “That girl with the tie?”
“I… yeah. Yeah. She…” I said eloquently, before realising he’d gone. In fact, lots of people were going, and I found myself being chivvied along with them. In fact, if I wanted to go to Woodcraft at all that evening, I’d need to go home.

On the way out into the cool, welcoming air, she looked my way one last time. I gave her a friendly wave, and in return, she gave me a big, bright smile.

What a smile, I thought to myself all the way through the bus ride home, as my heart slowly began to tear itself into a million little pieces.

One more confession…

Dear ex,

I need to clarify something. I know you’re probably never going to read this; you dumped me just under a decade ago and I’m not even sure if you know I still write my blog (although I know what you’re doing). But there’s one thing I never told you, and it still comes to me in my darkest of moments, so here goes.

The night my grandfather died I got a text to tell me it had happened. I still don’t know why I had turned on my BlackBerry, really – it had been off for a few days and I didn’t really want any distractions – but nevertheless, I turned it on, and there was the message from my mother. We all knew he was dying – he was in hospital, watching the Olympics and waiting for it to happen. He squeezed my hand the last time I saw him.

I don’t think you ever met him, but you would have liked him. He was the 83-year-old who saw the sign on Space Mountain advising elderly people not to ride it and saying out loud, “right, I’m doing that.” He was in the third wave on D-Day and assumed that he could survive anything after that.

I could have cried that night, but I didn’t. You were angry with me – very angry. We had had a slight mishap (involving orgasms, in fact) that necessitated the changing of sheets. I explained, calmly I hope, that this was easy – we could take the sheet off, rinse the stain out, and hang it up to dry in the balmy Provence heat – but you told me that I was being passive-aggressive (a concept I still don’t understand). I got the spare bedding down and added the new sheet. After we hung the damp sheet up outside, we went back to bed and you threatened to slap me.

You didn’t actually slap me, but I felt you could have.

As I lay there shaken, I wondered over and over if I should have told you that he died. If I did, you might have assumed I was trying to deflect, or ignore the (admittedly very trivial) problem that had prevented itself (and that we had managed to correct, I hasten to add). You clearly didn’t want to hear me say anything, and if I had cried, you’d have assumed I was trying to get sympathy. Maybe you would have slapped me. I don’t know any more.

So I didn’t say anything. I held back the tears, and lay awake, wanting more than ever to get to sleep so it could be morning and you would have calmed down.

I hadn’t done anything wrong.

The next day, as we sat at an open-air cafĂ© in the village, you decided to have a look at your ‘phone and told me that you had a text from my mother, since I hadn’t replied to hers, telling me that he had died. I acted shocked, went still for a while, and let a few tears out while you squeezed my hand sympathetically.

“I’m sorry,” you said.
“Well, thank you. I knew it was going to happen; it was just a matter of when…” I started.

The thing is that, well, I knew it had happened. I found out the night before, but I was far too scared to act sad or shocked or morose or… anything other than calm and rational, really… because I feared your reaction. I didn’t want to trivialise the old man’s death, either; this was a massive thing. But we were on holiday (for the first time as a couple). We were meant to be having lots of sex, and we probably would have done, had the sheets not been stained.

So I didn’t tell you I already knew. I kept that to myself; it was all I could have done in the circumstances. We went to the cathedral in Avignon the following day and I lit a candle for him under a picture of St Joseph, saying a prayer and watching the light dance.

I’m sorry for not telling you sooner. I could have told you that morning, maybe, over breakfast – the sad news might have been better over croissants still warm from the boulangerie. Or maybe when we were washing up afterwards, or taking showers, or sitting on the swing in the garden. Any of those times. But I couldn’t come up with a viable explanation for why I hadn’t told you when I actually found out.

So I didn’t say anything.

And I didn’t say anything, either, for the next one-and-a-half years of our relationship. I didn’t tell you when it ended, either, and I still haven’t told you until now, when I’m telling you in the knowledge that you probably won’t read this. You may remember me going to the funeral a week or so later, after surprising you by staying in Oxford for a day longer than I was going to. You may remember spending Christmas together and how I cried because I missed my little church so much. You may – I know I do – remember all the good times we had in Provence, even if we had better holidays later on.

But I didn’t tell you that I knew. I’m sorry that I didn’t tell you sooner. And I’m sorry to my grandfather, posthumously, for keeping his death a secret. But, in all honesty, I really don’t know what else I could have done.

Forever and always, my love,
– ILB x

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