Chapter 15 - Last Orders
I think it’s pretty fair to say that in my life so far, I’ve spent a fair few hours in pubs, bars, and clubs. Thing is, I’ve probably spent about equal time on both sides of the bar, and the weird juxtaposing link between the two is the call for “last orders”. When you work behind a bar, those two words are music to your ears. Finally it’s the end of what has usually been a long, sweaty, challenging and exhausting shift, and all you want to do is get the drunkards the f**k outta there so you can go home and put your feet up. When you’re a paying customer, however, it’s an entirely different matter! How come last orders come so quickly? “Oh pleeeeeease, go onnnn, just one more driiiink”; and you turn in to that annoying, whiney red-faced drunkard that the bar maid just cannot wait to get rid of. One last drink always seems like a good idea at the time, when, in reality, you really should have quit hours ago and gone home to bed. I’m pretty sure that there would be far few regrets, headaches, and general mortifications if we all left before last orders, however, then there would be no STORY!
Basically, I should have given up on dating long ago. Quit whilst I was (never) ahead, and left that one last metaphorical Gin and Tonic alone. The hangover is like heartache; you know what to do to avoid it, but you push on anyway and think that it won’t be as bad as the last one. Fool!
So what you really want to know is how it went with Ally and Ryan, right? Well ok, ok, I’ll tell you, but I warn you now, there’s no happy ending. I met Ally, you know, the Chapter 6 guy, for drinks and a catch up, and in a strange, unexpected way, I was actually disappointed when I met up with him. He hadn’t made any obvious effort with his choice of outfit (a sure sign in my book he wasn’t really bothered, which REALLY bothered ME!) and whilst he was still attractive in his shabby, scruffy way, I just didn’t feel, well ANYTHING. I wondered to myself whether it was because I knew he was a bit flaky, and while we had a nice time, and a laugh, I felt myself feeling guilty about two-timing Ryan. A bit premature considering I hadn’t actually met Ryan at this point!
I remember sitting there listening to Ally; he was three beers in, and I was three sodas and lime in (driving) when suddenly it hit me. This was as interesting, as funny, and as likeable that he was ever going to get. And it wasn’t enough. Not for me. I said to Ally that I needed to think about heading home, and as we stood awkwardly at the train station, and he mumbled something about having a nice time, I knew I didn’t care. I wouldn’t see him again, and whether or not he manned-up this time and got in touch, I also didn’t care. By the way, it has been five days since our date, and he hasn’t been in touch. No surprise and no skin off my nose!
I was very excited about meeting Ryan; he was doing everything right, in my eyes. He texted me every day, not in a weird stalkerish way like Gordon from Chapter 1, but just in the evening when I had finished my day and had the time to talk to him. He was funny, tall, good looking, and so up my street I was convinced my luck was changing.
When Ryan turned up at our pre-arranged meeting point, he didn’t disappoint, and everything about our date was perfect. He was still funny, still tall, and even better looking in the flesh and my stomach did somersaults for the whole five and a half hours that was our date. (Not that I was counting). When Ryan sat next to me at dinner (which he paid for) and his arm and knee touched mine, I felt butterflies like I hadn’t felt about any man for a very long time, and for the first time in a very long time, I was over the moon! When our date ended, he gave me a hug and a peck on the lips, and I was in heaven. The perfect first date! At last!
Wakey wakey reader, this is me we’re talking about. There is no fairy tale ending, and let’s be honest, did we all really think there would be?! I didn’t hear very much from Ryan the following day, and somewhere in my heart, or call it my sixth sense, I just knew that something had changed. I tried to ignore it – it was a Bank Holiday weekend, maybe he was busy, but I knew. I decided I wasn’t going to sit around and wait for a Dear John text so I went first. I texted Ryan two days after our date, and started with a non-offensive “hi how was your day” type of text, to which he replied, then I got straight to the point and asked him what his opinion was on us meeting up again. Silence. About five minutes later I got my reply. “Dunno really”. Floored. Ryan then sent a couple of messages, which had no effect on my breaking heart by then, explaining that we got on really well, and he really enjoyed himself, but…. It was the whole “it’s not you, it’s me” scenario, and while I couldn’t blame him for it, how could I not help but feel devastated? You see, I’ve been there haven’t I. You can’t magic feelings out of nowhere for a person when they just aren’t there. But it sure sucks to be on the receiving end let me tell you.
I feel like I’ve had enough now, reader. I’m so tired of the emotional roller coaster; the ups and downs; the excitement and the disappointment. It’s giving me a massive hangover!! But, the thing is… I’m pretty sure that although, for now, I’m “never drinking again”, will probably turn into a glass of something, sometime, in the future.