I started talking to him. He made me laugh and showed more attention to me than anyone I had met. I felt a little special, a little chased. He charmed me with his jokes and texted me constantly throughout the day, every day. I took it as a compliment that he wanted to talk to me all of the time, surprised that anyone wanted to talk to me.
I was lost in an essay that I was attempting to blag my way through because I had absolutely no clue where to go with my subject. How could I spread ‘I just want to paint pretty pictures about sad things’ over a thousand words? It wasn’t happening and I was giving in to the pressure when he suddenly popped up on my Facebook messages “Hi, how’re you doing?”
The deadline passed and I was a distraught mess with the overwhelming feeling of failure looming over me. I wanted to punish myself for being so stupid, for getting distracted. I blamed him but really it was my fault, only having a few months left of my degree I should have entered into confinement until I was finished but I allowed myself to get distracted by this new attention I seemed to be receiving that I had never experienced before. Men liked me sometimes, but not this much and I wanted to keep him close by on the back burner until I had completed my course but it didn’t work out. None of it did.
A year of flirty text messages and sneaky late night meetings, I had gotten myself a menial job and decided I wanted more from life, I felt he was ashamed to be seen with me, I needed a real relationship but not with someone who wouldn’t admit to anybody what we were doing together. It was embarrassing to feel like I had given up my future for someone so fickle and heartless.
I have that same menial job but a different man to go home to at night who has bought me a house for us to live in, who wants to make me happy in whatever way he can, the other one a secret mistake that cost me my potential job satisfaction and maybe a different life entirely.
I can’t help but wonder what would have happened if I had never met my secret mistake but it would be painful to think that I would have not met my current and that I would more than likely be alone right now renting a crap Birmingham flat or perhaps a pokey London apartment by myself, a practising artist… Or maybe I would have found a different way to my present situation no matter what. Who knows?