Dating stories… Headphones

October 15th 2017

“What I’m trying to say is… I mean… I don’t want this to be an ultimatum…and I’m not asking for monogamy.  I like you y’know and, and I can feel myself yearning to spend more time together”

He shrugs and slithers down the bed, panic in his eyes “Oh God…  I don’t know what to say…Erm..”

Talking with my hands, I continue. “It’s just…I kinda know I feel something for you.  You occupy my thoughts and…. I, I wanna know more.”  He’s laying still. I pause for a response and consider a different approach.

“Well..I mean..what do you feel about this?..Us?..Me?”  I demand.  I look at him; he’s completely void of any reassurance or comfort for me.  He’s got nothing to say.

He eventually squirms “Erm OK…I mean, I don’t know really” and finally..

“Do you want me to leave?”

I nod.  As he gets dressed I remain stoic as he wills me to message him “anytime, anytime at all.”  We don’t hug.  I watch him from my window as he unwinds his headphones and passes under the street light.  Staring at the floor, I allow whatever emotion surfaces first to take me.  But in shock, nothing comes.

I already know him next door hasn’t gone to bed yet; I creep round and immediately feel safe at seeing his bedroom door still haloed in lamplight.  I can’t rely on myself to cope alone with the despair and hurt.  I knock and enter.  I cry into his chest and he reassures me how brave it is to have been me and do what I just did.  Deep down I believe it, but right now I feel like a loser and search for reasoning; racing through episodes when I wasn’t enough for him.

I get back into my own bed.  I inhale intently, hoping pick up any remaining suggestion of him still lingering around my room.  I sink into tear induced sleep and feel relief from the weeks of isolated wondering and anxious longing.  It’s over.


Over the coming weeks I thought of him less and less.  I never let myself remember him.

Never let myself replay the blood surfacing under the skin of his cheeks and chest after I withdrew from him and softened my grip.  It was as if his heart was screaming at me in the form human a beacon, knowing his head couldn’t be relied upon.

Instead, I searched in other people for our shared delight in the mundane, and our endless obsession for each other.  I wanted to feel interesting and validated, the way he made me feel. I struggled to find it, but perhaps I wasn’t really looking.


December 26th 2017

I’m in the passenger seat of my mum’s Fiat.  Passing through accident hotspots and junction exits, I settle into her driving and the stale nostalgia of Radio 2. I alight my screen to tell the time.

“MUM, it’s him!… What’s he doing? Messaging me?”

We hadn’t spoken since he walked out. I picture the dormant chat lying in my archive list and read what I could of the message from the home screen.

Hey!  How are you? How was your day yesterday?  (12mins ago)

What the fuck?!  Not for one second do I believe he’s interested to know how my Christmas day went.   Does anyone really care how anyone else’s Christmas day went? What an absurd question!  What’s behind this nonsense? I quickly assume he’s cracked under the pressure of family inquisition and festive coupling, and reply with hostility until he gets to the point.


Over the coming days he tells me he misses talking to me and regrets not turning around at my front door and articulating how he felt.  He wishes to now reignite exactly what we had.  I remind him of the night he left and explained that I wasn’t demanding anything off him that he didn’t want to give, and that I only wanted insight.  I explained that if the urge for more wasn’t already within him, I can’t start again and implant it, it won’t be any different.  By going back to how it was, there’s little opportunity for you to be vulnerable and expose yourself.  I’ve got floodlights to beam at you; I won’t try to coax you out of the shade again.

He sends long apologies and self-deprecates over his moronic ways.  He blamed work and my lack of forthcoming for his void of feeling.  He tells me he still listens to my playlists. Thanks me for changing his life.  Describes exactly which parts of my kink he craves the most and how he can’t find my breed of affection anywhere else.

I can’t deny the optimism I’m so keen to feel and let him inch his way back in.  I convince myself that we’re in fact friends above all else and reassure everyone I’m being careful.


January 5th 2018

“Did you have a nice Birthday, Mum?” I ask over the phone.

“Yes, thanks darling.  Your Dad took me out for tea, y’know that Indian, in town… What you up to this evenin’?”

“That’s nice! Not a lot really, just finished dinner.” I’m trying to keep the conversation to minimum.  In all honesty I forgotten it was today and didn’t have time to chat.

“What did you have?…

“Just pasta” I lied

“Oh lovely… I’ve been meaning to ask.. what happened with that Boxing Day chap in the end?”

“Pfff I mean.. gosh… we’re sorta friends again and y’know ..just seeing how that goes really…I dunno, it feels all rather doomed” I waffle  “Anyway can I call you tomorrow mum? The signal keeps cutting out”

I say goodbye and tap the screen with my chilly fingers.  I’m sitting on my bed, and I can feel adrenalin rising and the control I thought I had slip away.

I lean over to peer out my window and watch him wind up his headphones and pass under the street light.