66. One that got away

 

Tina and I split up when I returned home to Essex at the end of 1975. She had decided that time waiting for me was time wasted. Don’t blame her.

In the next two terms, the quest for a female partner yielded not a berry. It meant incredible amounts of frustration. The nearest that I got was the girl in Cambridge.

Let’s call her Leanne. A French language student. I was visiting Nick Eastwell and ‘got off’ with Leanne at a disco. Walked her home, but she couldn’t have me in. She was kipping on a mate’s floor. But I got her home address, in Maldon, and we exchanged letters for a time when she was working in France. I met her for a day in Southend during the 1976 Easter holidays. The term ‘get a room’ hadn’t been invented then. A room would have been handy.

She invited me back down to Cambridge for a May weekend, and we did the disco back to the house thing again, on the Friday night. This time she had a room, with a bed. I was so ready to be intimate with somebody that I liked. Not a port in a storm. She was very attractive, curvaceous, and we had talked, danced, and drunk our aphrodisiacs. And we had hours ahead to make the river ebb and flow. I stripped to my pants, got into bed, and Leanne got on top of the bed, and started to kiss my chest, still in her nightie.

I was so happy with anticipation, and then she revealed she was in a relationship with somebody else. Did I mind?

Jesus! Well cheers for the honesty but yes, I did. Could just have said no, and proceeded down the pleasure path. But she had ripped up most of the border flowers in just a few words.

I needed a relationship, not a contest. The real thing, not a dishonest one-off. Knew myself well enough to foresee it wouldn’t end there, and that running sores of jealousy would be torn open by the uncertainty from a distance. I didn’t say any of that, instead mumbling something about still being hurt by a past relationship, and perhaps this wasn’t a good idea. Despite being priapic with frustration, it was the right decision, for me.

She slept on the floor. So it goes.

Spent the Saturday with Nick – who thought I was barmy – and hitched back on the Sunday morning in time to play for the University’s cricket second team. When I got back to High Hall, there was nobody about. I needed a familiar face. Had a pint in the bar, alone. Returned to 1016, and lay on the bed as the breeze blew in and the curtains flapped around wildly. A beautiful spring evening outside. I could hear people having fun below, and wanted some of it myself.

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