I’ve done some things in my life of which I’m not proud, but which I think were basically inevitable. Crawling back into bed with Hot Richard was one of them.
When I think about it in hindsight, there’s that horrible feeling you have in the pit of your stomach when you just know that something isn’t right. Like a tiny koala is gripping your insides so tightly and it’s cutting off the circulation, and it’s slowly starving your brain of energy and you’re exhausted but you have to just keep going, even though you don’t want to, even though you don’t think you can, and then someone is asking you a lot of questions, and you don’t have the answers, and you’re taking a maths test, and you didn’t know you had an exam… and breathe.
That’s how I feel right now. It’s the feeling you have in your head, after a really good night out. Everything is imperfect, the world is a hostile, unfriendly environment and you don’t know how to navigate it, even if you could find the energy to engage with humankind, you’re so disillusioned, so broken, so exhausted of it all that it seems eminently futile.
So no matter how good a date with Hot Richard is, the come down is bad enough to negate the good-effects of the fix. Unexpectedly, he calls me on Saturday night. I’ve had a couple of glasses of wine with my family over a long lazy lunch, but then they’ve all gone home and left me, spiralling around my apartment, the whole evening stretching ahead of me, and no plans to fill it. I’m vulnerable, and stupid.
He takes me up on my offer; he invites me over to his flat, and before I know it, I’m two courage-boosting gin and tonics down and I’m on the circle line. I’m perplexed. Until now, we’ve not wanted to meet. When I text him the night before and said ‘meet me tomorrow night,’ I didn’t expect a response. Of course, I had hoped for one. This is a man that I’d lusted over from the very moment I met him.
He didn’t reply to my instruction, but, he appears to have taken it to heart. When I message back to his missed call, he casually suggests that I come over to his house. There’s nothing so straight forward as a normal invitation with Hot Richard; the message stream is a combination of irrelevant statements and assurance that I will be waiting for him whenever he calls. He’s right of course.
By the time I arrive, I’m apprehensive. It feels too real, and I’ve never been to his flat before. I don’t know whether he lives alone, and all he has sent me is a postcode. I call him and he directs me to a door, to a bell. I press it and he arrives. He greets me, I turn my cheek and he kisses it. There’s silence and it occurs to me that he seems as nervous as I am, but then maybe he’s just opportunistically assessing his chances for the evening.
He has a housemate, who seems nice. She introduces herself, and then quickly makes herself scarce. I sit down at the table, and Hot Richard pours me a glass of red wine, busying himself in the kitchen, preparing, cooking. We talk, and conversation is easy, a little stilted, but we know each other, we remember the details, and it seems genuine. There is an openness, an honesty between us that wasn’t there before. He carefully compliments me, but the passion is gone.
you look nice.
We are like two birds dancing a courting dance, he cooks, we eat. He forgets some ingredients and says that I have distracted him.
He tries to make the atmosphere more romantic. He applies a new Hermes scent he’s bought and tries to get Spotify to work. When he fails, I download Spotify to his macbook, login as myself, and tell him that as long as he doesn’t logout, he can use my account. We listen to music, he has always been appreciative of my taste in music.
Before I know it, it’s one o’clock in the morning and I’m in west London. I suggest that I get a taxi home, but Hot Richard says that I should stay. It seems inevitable.
He gives me a tshirt. I put it on over the top of my underwear and leaving on my hold ups, crawl into bed beside him and kiss him. I’m definitely leading, he’s following as though by rote. As I suspected, I fear that this is just an opportunistic use of me, but I’m too lonely to care, and I’m in his bed. We fuck, he holds me, he tells me I’ve got fat since I last saw him, which isn’t remotely true, but I have put on weight. He isn’t as rough as he used to be, and I whisper to him afterwards that I’m sorry about what happened before. We haven’t spoken about what I found on the internet about him. He just tells me that it’s OK. I know it isn’t.
I must of fallen asleep, but I wake up to find myself being lifted and pushed back onto the other side of the bed, a move which leaves me with bruises on my upper arms. I realise that Hot Richard is kissing me, playing with me and he’s screwing me again. But he isn’t passionate about it. There’s no sense of play. I’m part of this, but I’m not part of this.
I sleep fitfully, waking often and disturbed by Hot Richard’s frustration at my presence. When he finally wakes up, I try to convince him to come back to bed with me, but he’s not interested. I attempt a playfight, but he smacks my bum and tells me to get dressed.
When I reach the kitchen, he’s making me a cup of tea and we sit and companionably read The Times at the table. The presence of him soothes me, but he’s not affectionate. He doesn’t want to touch me the way I want to touch him. We leave the flat, and he suggests that I walk with him to Marylebone, where he has plans. It takes an hour, and we talk easily, but I couldn’t say about what. It was chit chat, small talk.
He leaves me at Baker Street. I turn to him, he pulls me to him and massages my back, bending to kiss me on the lips. When I get back to my flat, he messages me to check I got home. This is what I want, but I know it isn’t real. I don’t think Hot Richard can do something real.
So I’m back to feeling unsettled, paranoid, unsure about myself and my sense of worth. Like a bad hangover. A bad Hot Richard hangover.