The Monochrome Man

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It was April 27th 2016. We’d known each other for two weeks but I put off the date because I was so nervous. It was my first time dating someone since my 6 year relationship ended. You convinced me to take a phone-call from you and the moment I heard your “hey, how you doing?” in the most southern accent I’d ever heard my nerves were melted and I was smitten in 4 words.

That phone-call lasted 4 hours and we were due to see each other in 9. I watched Once Upon A Time as I got ready while you tamed misbehaving Pseudomonas aeruginosa. You finally told me how nervous you were and that only made me feel more excited.

I was wearing grey jeans and that little bird shirt. You walked towards me wearing the coat that hung on the back of my door for so long after you left, with your lanyard swinging about. We talking about hating public transport, hand sanitiser, and bacteria all before the bus journey ended. It was such a windy day. I remember as we reached our stop you said your brother resembled a wizard because of his beard outside of Boots on Castle Street.

I loved that you tasted my salted caramel hot chocolate and continued looking for hand sanitiser for about 20 minutes before you finally gave up. You started holding my right hand outside one of those fancy stores. After a little wander in the wind, we ended up on that bench for a good few hours. I still think of you every time I go past it. I pointed out every dog in sight and hoped you wouldn’t think I was too weird. After having known you for more than 5 minutes, I realise that was a worry I didn’t need to have. I don’t remember what I was talking about but in the middle of a word you surprised me with a kiss. Cliché, but so wonderful.

It was so cold and we walked into town. As you took my hand I was startled by how cold you were and that’s when you told me about your perpetually freezing hands and how one of your brothers gets it too. I asked you to repeat the word ‘giraffe’ so much as we walked past the bus stops. I still can’t help but have a love for an accent like yours (or ‘lack-cent’ as I ended up calling it).

We went to Nero and I got my favourite peppermint tea. You told me all about lemon green Clipper with acacia honey and my life changed forever. I’m sure that’s what my blood is made of now. I asked you about your music and your plans after graduation. It took me a whole 10 minutes of meeting you before I realised I would be devastated if you moved back home. It’s possible I’d have gone to Kent with you to save you from being so far away. Little did I know that we’d never speak again almost six months down the line. Nero closed so we walked and you told me about something personal. I didn’t know whether to believe you but I never thought you’d lie to me, so I did.

In Starbucks we took the first ever picture of us. It’s the one where you look absolutely nothing like you actually look. You showed me some pictures on your phone along with a couple of news articles. I have no idea what they were on but you were so interested in them. We talked about how we’d not eaten for the entire day and it was almost 10pm, but we still didn’t want to leave each other just yet. Off to Spoons we went. I got a lemonade (obviously) and you ordered Doom Bar. Something was wrong so I believe you settled for Estrella. It smelled awful, but over the months that smell was something I grew so fond of because it was the embodiment of The House. I remember you were ID’d and you were so offended but you did have a baby face with those braces and no beard.

We went upstairs in Spoons. Fave text you and asked what you were doing, so naturally I sent him a picture of me. Remember the first time I was at The House and he told me he was a bit drunk but still offered me some sausage and mash for dinner? You always told me you were the least friendly person in your house and I didn’t believe it until you left and the boys have contacted me more than you ever will again.

Fave sent you back about 8 snake emoji’s. I wonder why you let them know about me so soon. We had to move downstairs and we talked about health issues and you talked about children’s names. You wanted to call yours something Spanish but I can’t remember for the life of me what it was.

It got so late and I had to call my mum off your phone because mine had died and I’d not even noticed. I couldn’t have felt less cool, but you had no problem and you were always really nice to her. You even bought her a card for letting you stay at our house for one night. I didn’t get the chance to get a card off you. It’s memories like those that make me question what happened with such confusion in my heart all the more.

You walked me to my bus stop at half past 12 in the morning and rode the whole way home with me. You had no idea where you were and The House interrogated you when you got back. You were the highlight of my day every day I knew you until you went to Berlin. I don’t know who came back, but it wasn’t the Monochrome Man I knew and loved. That’s okay. People change and want different things, but the decision felt like such a surprise to me that I’ve never really felt any kind of closure. I know closure is basically a myth, but our conversation was unfinished. It never had an ending. To me, it still hangs in time just waiting to be continued… finished.

I had no idea one person could potentially make only 5 months seem like the happiest time of your life. It’s been 7 months since you left and although it no longer feels like you’re still about to call with the signature “hey, how you doing?” I guess I still have a soft-spot for you. You always called yourself The Vague Man and that’s what you turned out to be.

Eloise

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