Sometimes, you have to smile at fate. Especially when fate’s smiling at you.
To be honest, the day had started pretty badly: I’d just found out that The One I Almost Married is about to become a daddy – which provoked mixed feelings, to say the least.
Actually, to say mixed feelings is a bit of a lie. It mostly provoked just one feeling: a tragic, wailing sentiment of, “Waaaaaahhhhhhhhh! Not fair!!!” Childish, I know, but sometimes you have to give way to your inner toddler and just let it grizzle.
In fact, I sniffle and sob intermittently for a good couple of hours. Even when I stop, I’m feeling pretty sorry for myself: it seems so unfair that someone who didn’t particularly want children should be on the road to domestic bliss, when I’m still all on my lonesome. In short, I’m miffed that he’s happier than I am.
As I think this, I realise what a big baby I’m being.
Sure, he’s got something I’d like, but then so have plenty of other people. It’s not the end of the world. In fact, the only thing that’s making me unhappy here is my own good self. I can choose to wallow in my self-pity, or I can choose to look on the bright side.
I take a moment to reflect.
The One I Almost Married had a fairly low tolerance level for troublesome noise, and also a reasonably short temper. I picture him holding a screaming child…
… and suddenly, something changes inside of me. Suddenly, it doesn’t feel like a tragedy. It feels like a lucky escape.
I hold on to that thought before it can get away and I decide that tonight’s going to be a celebration. I’m going to hit the town and paint it all the colours of the rainbow! My mood is buoyant and I’m ready for a party, so I put on my sexiest dress, my slinkiest heels and a generous squoosh of my favourite feelgood scent.
Tonight, ladies and gentlemen, I am radiant, and this town isn’t big enough to hold me.
I make a couple of calls, and before long, a taxi arrives. I make it to the station with moments to spare, and tearing down the platform, I jump on the train; I’m in London within the hour.
As I push through the crowded bar, looking for my friends, my spirits are high and my soul is sparkling. Everyone’s in a good mood, the music is great, and there’s plenty of animated banter. The Darkly Intriguing Man From The Gym texts to ask where I am, but I’m fed up of the lack of progress in that corner, so I fire off a quick reply then switch off my phone.
The group is large, and there are a few people I don’t know. I start introducing myself, but as I offer my hand to a particularly handsome guy in a dark red shirt, my friends start laughing.
“You don’t recognise him, do you?”
I look harder. Oh my goodness! No wonder I didn’t recognise him!
In our uni days, this guy was chubby, spotty and wore clothes three sizes too big for him. He was always a nice guy, but now he’s lost the chubbiness of youth and is looking pretty sharp. In fact, he’s lean, broad shouldered and sartorially splendid.
Uni Boy has really grown up.
Laughing, I apologise and we start to catch up on the news; it’s been over a decade, so there’s plenty to say. He tells me about his travels, his job, who he’s still in touch with, who’s got kids and who married who. He compliments me on my outfit and I tell him he’s looking pretty good, too.
Around us, the conversation flows, drinks are bought and passed around … and still we keep talking. The volume in the bar increases; everyone is shouting and laughing, so we shout to hear ourselves above the din.
And then, something miraculous happens.
I can’t actually see the cherubim and seraphim hanging round, but I’m sure they must be there. Because one minute Uni Boy and I are chatting casually, the next we’re kissing and laughing and kissing some more.
The thought of kissing him had never even crossed my mind before, but now excitement is fizzing inside me like shaken champagne. Who knew it would be so much fun? In fact, it’s so much fun that we talk and laugh (and kiss) until four o’clock in the morning. Giddy with excitement and drunk on his kisses, I’m as content as a cat on a radiator.
I may have berated his arrow-slinging in the past, but on this occasion I take a moment to send a silent thank you Cupid and his erratic archery. For once, he’s right on time.
I might not have a baby and a ready-made family waiting for me at home, but as consolation prizes go, I think I got one of the best.