We met at a friends party

Ben and I went on our first an only date about ten years ago. We’d met at a friend’s party, it wasn’t a conventional meeting, far from it. No eyes meeting across a crowded room or love at first sight. The man I’d been dating for a few weeks had left the house warming party with a stolen bottle of vodka and his arm wrapped around Ben’s long-term and very giggly girlfriend. Ben and I were left behind, holding plastic cups of cheap warm white wine completely lost for words. We both had the same expression, a mixture of bewilderment and embarrassment. Numbly we swapped mobile numbers and agreed to keep in touch, not really sure how to react in such a situation. Initially we just checked in on how each was doing and shared any updates or sighting of our illusive exes.

Weekly calls soon turned into daily and eventually Ben asked if he could take me out for dinner. I knew it had been a huge leap of faith for him after Lorna had left his life at breakneck speed, so I said yes. I wasn’t sure. I liked him, I liked him a lot, but I had this nagging doubt he was on the rebound. He booked a table at a restaurant in the city, it was a pretentious place I’d always avoided. You had to book centuries in advance and most of the items on the menu were either deconstructed or curated, both descriptions a mystery to me. Critically acclaimed it may have been but the gastronomic delicacies we were theatrically served left us with rumbling stomachs and an urge for a bag of chips on the way home.

It was outside the busy kebab shop he plucked up the courage to kiss me. He leaned in so close I could smell the post-dinner brandy he’d previously consumed in a couple of gulps. Then he took my face in his hands and his tongue was in my mouth before my conscious caught up with what was happening. I kissed him back, still unsure of my feelings for this kind and considerate man who had been brave enough to ask me out. His kisses became firmer and he pulled me closer, I remember dropping my plastic tray of greasy golden chips and trying to make sense of why I wasn’t feeling anything. I wasn’t proud of my next move, I pulled away from the kiss and whispered a suggestion we go back to his place.

The next morning, I slipped out of his bed early, collecting clothes which had been discarded on-route to the bedroom. I could hear my heart beating, blood circulating so violently it was threatening to jump out of my chest. I was terrified he’d wake up as I frantically scoured the kitchen searching for something to write on.

I wasn’t sure if I felt relieved or guilty as I gently pulled his front door shut. I didn’t want to think about how Ben would react when he saw the note, my parting words ‘Last night was a mistake, please don’t contact me again.’

Ten years later it looked like I was about to find out…

man and woman sitting at table

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

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