January 2009.. the ladies and I met for our monthly girly dinner. It had become a bit of a tradition amongst this particular circle of friends-and their love for fine food only encouraged this!
Sophia* had been dating a ‘new’ guy for 2 months, after he wore her down with countless emails and texts, and now that it was official, she couldn’t help checking her phone, giggling in school-girl fashion when quizzed on how things were going.
Latching on to every word, we teased her mercilessly, as she revealed things we would never have known about ‘Mr Perfect’. Louise* and I already knew him, by no means close friends, enough to attend a couple of birthday parties, and hang with occasionally. Smart, funny, charming, he was one of the ‘good guys’, a real pillar of the community, an all-round ‘do-gooder’. The type of guy your father would be happy for you to marry, and a cougar mother secretly wished she was dating!
Walking back to the car park, it began to rain heavily.. I want to tell you that we ran to the car, and avoided wet weave syndrome, but heel height and full bellies prevented this, we staggered, holding on to each other for dear life, soaking wet… the only option to avoid pneumonia was to sit in Louise’s car with the heating on, before heading back to our individual cars.
The three of us soaked to the bone, hair on par with Sideshow Bob, eye-make up migrating to our chins. Desperately trying to regain some sort of pre dinner composure.. Louise and I tried probing Sophia some more, sadly we had lost her to her phone the moment we set foot in the car..
‘I’m texting Freddie*’ she smiled (as if we didn’t know) ‘He’s saying he hoped I had a good night, and that he’s at home chilling’.
‘Right ladies, diaries out’!! I took the opportunity whilst she was still making eye contact, to organise our next get together, it so happened that the next free day for us all was Valentines day.. scribbled in.. we kissed (on the cheek!!) gathered our bits and bobs, about to head our separate ways, when a car pulled into the car park.
Safety junkies, and noticing that this was odd for past midnight- we delayed our exit, locked the doors at sat still. The sound of heavy rain, made the experience eery, we craned our necks to see what matter of mischief was about to take place. The other car engine stopped. The door opened, and a girl got out. The chivalrous driver also stepped out, umbrella in hand.. running to shield the girl from the rain. We all thought it was very sweet.
Louise noticed first.
‘Hey, isn’t that Freddies car’. Sophia and I laughed out loud, thinking it was a joke.. the rain and steamy windows made it hard to see clearly. Laughter turned to silence as we wiped the windows, cautiously, to get a closer look.
It was Freddie. Why was he here, and where was he off to at this time?
‘I’m sure it’s just a friend or a cousin..’ I offered, hoping that it would make the situation less awkward. Without proof I didn’t want to assume the worst. However, I slyly moved my vaseline out of eye-sight in case anyone got any ideas.
Freddie the fool, chose the moment I tried to save him to put his arms tightly around his ‘mistress’- this was NOT a friendly gesture. I said a prayer under my breath, and hoped it was a mirage.. – in the rain – in South London.
‘Text him’ Louise suggested. So Sophia did.. 10 minutes later- she got a response, something along the lines of how bored he was at home, and how he wished he’d gone out.. Sophia’s blood was boiling. We could see him!!
(Unless home was in fact the car park, and he’d been too ashamed to say before: the pigeon seen earlier with one leg and a funny head growth was actually his neighbour.. the fox lurking behind the bins, was indeed his landlord.. apologies Freddie.. Silly us! We got it so wrong!)
Going home didn’t seem important now.. we were pumped and ready for a stake out. The evening was referred to as ‘Night Watch’ from then on. Sadly 20 minutes later, as the morning approached our enthusiasm waned, tiredness set in, his lies increased. Reality sunk in that Freddie was a liar and a cheat. A real wolf in sheep’s clothing!
Though sad, and all shocked by his actions- It didn’t cast a shadow over our Valentines day meet up, they broke up, and a world away from the commercial nonsense celebrated the world over, we hugged- she cried- we celebrated honesty with each other and real friendship.
*Names have been changed.
I’ve never been big on Valentines Day.. In the 6 years I’ve known Andrew, we’ve mainly spent it separately or with our own friends. This year, we haven’t gone all mushy and caught the spirit of ‘over the top Luuuurve..’ we just decided to be together! It started with me subconsciously being battered with red images EVERYwhere I went..
Thus began ‘experimentation’ : going red : from head… to toe!
The final experiment.. came in the form of trying RED HOT chilli, in a lush restaurant this evening, with our friends the Berridges. I love my husband very much. (I could write endless posts on how wonderful he is) but I’ll spare you.. this time!! Andrew is truly amazing, but I can’t help but be thankful for the other ‘loves’ in my life- and I may not list you all here, you know who you are. With just fifteen minutes to go. Happy Valentines. xxxx