The taxi was just passing Chalk Farm station and I needed to make a decision, go home or go back to Brian’s. I quickly assessed how drunk I was on a scale from can name all of the actors who played Doctor Who to can’t remember my name. I was somewhere around can still remember the apple keyboard short code for the hashtag sign.
I rested my head against Brian’s arm and said nothing as we passed my road. Something in the back of my mind alerted me to the ridiculousness of a situation where I had to be just drunk enough to want to go home with my own boyfriend.
I followed him into his house and he shut the door behind me pushing me up against it, his lips latching onto mine. I quite liked kissing him, it was nice, and I did enjoy being with him, he was funny, making me laugh all the time.
His hands moved the strap of my vest across my shoulder, pulling it down to expose my bra and I held back a shudder. In most respects, Brian and I made sense. We’d known each other our entire lives, our parents were friends, so why did I hate it when he did this?
He took my hand and pulled me up the stairs to his bedroom, kicking off his shoes and unbuttoning his shirt as he made his way through the door. I sat on the edge of the bed, kicked off my shoes and wriggled out of my trousers. I climbed under the duvet and rolled onto my side facing away from him. The room was plunged into darkness and I felt him press his body against mine, his hand snaking round and clasping my breast, his warm breath leaving a damp patch against my ear.
The sex that followed wasn’t worth writing about.
“I need to go to the bathroom.” I said afterwards
“Okay,” he moved towards his side of the bed to turn the light on
“No, leave the light off. Where are my clothes?”
“What do you need your clothes for?”
“What? Just give me my clothes.” I was starting to get irritated with him.
“Maybe I want to see you naked.”
“Maybe I don’t want you to see me naked.” I grumbled, climbing out of bed and making my way to the door.
Half way across the floor the room was illuminated and I froze, exposed, in the middle of his bedroom like a rabbit caught in the headlights of an oncoming car. As I squinted I could just make out his lascivious grin and I felt an overwhelming urge to punch him in his smug, irritating face.
I scurried to the bathroom, fuming. Why does he always do things like that? It bothered me that our relationship felt like a game of one-upmanship, and he was always the winner. Why would he want to make me feel uncomfortable all the time?
I sat on the toilet, and curled my body round to hide my exposed breasts. Even alone in a dark room, I didn’t want to be naked, I certainly didn’t want to walk into a brightly lit room. I realised that he knew how I felt about my body and this was his way of exerting some control over me, showing me who’s boss.
I don’t know whether you’d call it an epiphany or my road to Damascus moment, but sat there in his grotty bathroom, shivering in the dark cool air, I had a realisation.
I don’t want to be with him, he disgusts me.
I had an overwhelming urge to run out of the house, never to be seen again. I illuminated my binary watch and stared at the formation of led lights, calculating the time to be 3:17am.
Right then, I resolved, I’m going back to bed, and I’m breaking up with him in the morning.
“Are you fucking kidding me?” He shouted at me, I shook my head. I didn’t even feel sad anymore.
“Look, I love hanging out with you, of course I do, but I just don’t think we should have tried to be more than friends.”
“I don’t believe this.” His face was red and distorted with rage.
“I mean, the sex thing…”
“Well frankly I’ve not been happy for a long time about the lack of sex,” he sniped.
“Yeah, well obviously, but it just never felt right to me.”
He shook his head angrily.
“Well, fucking you was like shagging a blow up doll, you’ve got about as much passion as a wet lettuce.”
I bit the inside of my cheek, there was no reason for me to get angry, he was just lashing out, probably embarrassed at being dumped. Mentally I rolled my eyes and pointed out that’s because I absolutely didn’t want to have sex with him.
“And you know what?” He continued, I realised I’d tuned out most of his rant but his question caught my attention, I raised my eyebrow, inviting him to continue, “you’re lucky I even got it up for you, you eat so much fucking pizza you’re starting to resemble one, fat bitch, go on get out of my house.”
I closed the door behind me and pulled out my phone to call Ruth.
“Hey sweetie, what’s happening?”
“I’ve got an overwhelming urge for an all-you-can-eat Pizza Hut buffet, want to join me?”
“Sure thing, what are we celebrating?”
“I just broke up with Brian.”
“Not what I was expecting you to say,” she laughed.
“Yeah well, he said I eat so much pizza I’m starting to look like one.” Ruth was silent, “so obviously now I want pizza.” I smiled at her continued silence, “you can laugh if you want.” Her laugh exploded down my ear.
“I’m sorry, but you have to admit, that’s pretty funny coming from Brian.”
“Yep” I chuckled, I knew he was trying to hurt me, to save face. Although there was some truth in what he said, I wasn’t in great shape and my diet was mostly takeaways.
“Are you okay?”
“Yeah, I just realised last night, the whole relationship was like an endurance test. It was time to call it quits. And we have absolutely nothing in common. He doesn’t even own a computer.” Ruth laughed.
“I did wonder if you were panic buying, when you said you’d hooked up with him.”
“I think I probably was, I’ve no idea why it seemed so important to me to have a boyfriend.”
“I hope it’s not because of me and Andrew?”
“Shit, I’ve got no date for your wedding now.” I sighed.
“Hey weddings are great places to find romance… You might just bump into the perfect uber nerd.”
“Yeah, but knowing my luck, he’ll be some distant relative of yours who lives in Australia.”
The last thing I wanted was another romance. My relationship with Brian had taught me something valuable. I didn’t want to settle. I had dreams. I wanted to use my degree and make video games. I had no idea how I would get the money to do that, but instead of wasting my spare time on a boy I didn’t like, I was going to spend every spare moment working on achieving my goals.
There was a spring in my step as I walked through the door of Pizza Hut. I was feeling very inspired.
Prologue - part two