Nod and Smile

“I’m really looking forward to the next Marvel film, the suspense!” I asked a barlad at a pub in Teignmouth what he was looking forward to in April, and this was his response. The first word that popped into my head was, “Sheep” but I repressed it.

“So how long have you been working here?

“Thirteen years! I love working at a pub, I mean sometimes it’s boring, but …” and he went on and on about how much he loved pouring pints, and all I could think was, how is he not more curious about life? As much as I wanted to reject him, I couldn’t. He was the exact person I was trying to get to love reading. I nodded and smiled.

“So you want to go for a drink after my poetry reading?” I asked flirtatiously. Perhaps I could trick him into eating the apple of knowledge by putting it between my thighs…my vagina began to tingle.

The poetry reading ran late (Roger McGough was amazing!), I was magically invited to the afterparty, and obviously picked poetry over sex and male attention. Plus, a small voice whispered, why risk being raped again? Sh, Sammy! You don’t know… and then as I was walking home my vagina began to tingle, and I thought – well, why not? Also, it wasn’t in my values to stand people up. I had been stood up many a time, and it made me feel so worthless; I refused to make someone else feel that way, too.

I walked into the pub he worked at, and apologized. I could tell I had damaged his ego when he said, “Oh that poet you were talking about, I’ve seen him around Teignmouth a bunch of times,” even though I knew this was the poet’s first time in the town. I didn’t want to make him feel worse about himself, so I just nodded and smiled.

Then I set about asking him questions to try to find that there was something I could love about him. When he said, “I’ve been painting my nan’s walls. There were bright pink, but she wants them cream. We have lunch together every Tuesday.” I knew I had found it.

“I love Tuesdays,” I shared.

“Why?”

“Well, I used to celebrate Topless Tuesday, as I was a founding member of Free the Nipple at my university. I was quite a radical feminist. And a lot of other reasons.”

“I used to be a free spirit, too. I stopped partying two years ago.” I wanted to clarify that partying and being a free spirit are two very different things, but I didn’t want to make him feel dumb, so I just nodded and smiled.

Then the pub closed, and he said, “I’ll walk you home.” We walked along the silent lanes, the brick houses, the sea, and the patter of the rain. I reached for his hand.

And then we were making out in the rain, and my life was a Taylor Swift song, and everything was romance.

*

I decided to invite him in; I decided to make out on my host’s couch where she watches TV with her cat every night; I decided to stop being afraid.

“We can do whatever you want,” he said.

“I used to be a certain way, but then I had a bad experience, and now I don’t know.”

“I want to see you again. You’re amazing. If only you lived in Teignmouth.”

“How difficult it is to be a sexually active woman in the 21st century!”

“I started years ago, so…” Oh boy. He obviously didn’t understand what I meant.

“I don’t have a condom.”

“I do, everyone at the pub keeps a few in their wallet, just in case.” He said.

Fucking hell. I thought about making him wait, I thought about whether we would actually see each other again, I thought about waiting for tomorrow, and then I decided, I didn’t care.

“Shall we – I’m going to call it, making love.”

And then we made love on the kitchen floor. As I looked down on him, all I could think was, the bad bitch is back.

*

When my host asked about last night, I told her I had come home drunk and alone. Then I went and sat in the sun by the sea, and felt so full, so free, and so happy.


Read the next post in the series, Buy the Cow

Check out the rest of the blog posts from how to value your own thoughts.

Image by Oberholster Venita from Pixabay

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