Tag Archives: Ex-boyfriends

The elephant in the room – Part 2

My kitchen and bathroom have been re-tiled by a tradesman who was recommended by a neighbour.  He’s a tall, good-looking Polish man and has done an impeccable job; the recommendation was valid. I pay him and go to work.  An hour later I emerge from the tube and my phone beeps with a text message.

It’s Maciek, the guy I’ve just paid. There’s clearly a problem with either the payment or my flat, and I’m anxious as I open the message.

“I think you’re very attractive and was wondering if you would like to go for a drink sometime?”

I smile at the pleasant surprise – there’s nothing wrong with my flat and my attraction to Maciek is mutual.  I happily agree to a date and three days later we meet for a drink.   We have a pleasant evening together, but I decide I don’t want to see him again.

That date was in 2007.

Maciek and I didn’t go out again but he’s continued to contact me every three months … for the past SIX YEARS.  His last message was (verbatim) “Simone, let me know if I should bugger off for good and delete your phone number as I don’t want to be charged with stalking 🙂 I didn’t reply and haven’t heard from him since.

Wednesday 31st July. It’s my final day at work and I open an email from the estate agent dealing with leasing my flat.

“Hi Simone – I visited your flat last Tuesday with Maciek (MW Contracted Building) who said he’s done some tiling and other work for you before. He quoted £1,300 for painting. I also asked him to include replacement of silicone in the kitchen and bathroom. Please let me know if you would like to go ahead.”

The blood drains from my face as three things simultaneously dawn on me.

  1. This is the Maciek who I went out with six years ago who still contacts me
  2. He was IN my flat last Tuesday
  3. When he was in my flat there was a hot pink vibrator perched barefaced in the middle of my bed

Shock turns to amusement. I smile as I email the estate agent asking them to get a second quote.  I don’t want him coming again (no pun intended).


Thursday 1st August, 6pm (the day after the email from the estate agent and 10 days since Maciek was in my home). I exit my flat to go to a comedy gig in Battersea.  When I get to the end of the street a car pulls over and the driver winds down his window.  I walk over to him as he clearly wants directions.

In the seconds that I’m talking to this stranger, a van drives past and slows down.  I glance at the licence place.  It’s Maciek’s van.  Ugh.  Between seeing the vibrator on my bed and me leaning over to talk to a guy in a car, I can’t imagine Maciek’s opinion of me is improving.  I just hope my luck soon does.

The elephant in the room – Part 1

“Simone, we have two potential tenants who would like to view your flat today. Is that okay?”

It’s Tuesday 23rd July. I’m at my desk when I receive this email from the estate agent dealing with leasing my flat.  I’ve been out past midnight for four nights in a row, and will be out again tonight.  In exactly two weeks I depart permanently for Australia to start my new job and I’m exhausted. Physically and emotionally.  My farewell tour has been bittersweet, and has taken its toll.

My flat’s cluttered with twenty boxes. Ninety cubic feet of my possessions will be collected on Friday to commence a twelve week journey across the seas.  In addition to the waiting cargo, my uncharacteristically frantic social life has prevented me from maintaining my housekeeping.  It’s all I can do to be showered, dressed and turn up to work or my next leaving do.

I’ve been keeping myself clean and presentable (just), but my home’s suffering.  My neglected flat isn’t ready for unveiling, but I need tenants so I reply.

 “The place is a complete mess, but you’re welcome to let them in while I’m at work.”

I scan my brain for anything of particular embarrassment. My dirty clothes (inclusive of knickers) are safely in the washing machine, so aside from some scattered (clean) clothes, and some dirty dishes in the sink, I’m pretty sure I’ve nothing of which to be ashamed.  Either way, I’ve given them the green-light so it’s too late to worry.

The work day finishes and I enjoy dinner on the South Bank with a friend and ex-colleague. It’s a hot summer evening and the atmosphere along the Thames is buzzing.  Nostalgia and sentimentality flood me.  I’ll miss the familiar silhouettes of St Paul’s, Big Ben and the London Eye.  I’ll miss my friend.

The tube’s crammed and alive with chatter when I complete yet another goodbye and head home at just after 11pm.

With red eyes and a tired head I unlock my front door and enter my bedroom.  I’d made my bed this morning, as I do every day (no matter how busy I am).  As I take off my heels I look at the clean white linen duvet and gasp.

Sitting right in the centre of the bed: my hot pink vibrator.

No way that wasn’t seen . . .

I laugh as I picture the estate agent and prospective tenants entering the room, locking eyes on the brazen phallus but desperately babbling about anything else “ … So plenty of wardrobe space, nice big window …” and moving rapidly to the next room.

They say you should never leave home without clean underwear. You should also never leave home without putting your sex toys back in the bedside drawer.  Lesson learned.

Gabriel, my angel messenger

I’m back in London.  I’ve completed my first working week.  It’s Friday afternoon, 5:15pm.  I exit the building and wait for the pedestrian lights.  Peak hour traffic is everywhere; bicycles, cars, taxis, buses, vans, motorbikes.  The city noise attacks me.  Never mind – I’ll soon be in the sanctuary of my flat.  My tired eyes scan the other nine-to-fivers and slowly lock on one cyclist.  I cannot believe who I’m seeing.  Gabriel Lopez … my Spanish boyfriend from 13 years ago.  My first boyfriend in London.   I impulsively add to the volume of the metropolis.

GABRIEL!!  GABE!!!!”  I scream, with my hands cupped around my mouth.  The people standing on either side of me jump.  I want to speak to him.  I HAVE to speak to him.  I run into the bustling traffic and make it to the middle island.  He’s metres from me, but I can’t get to him.  He stares straight ahead and I see he has earphones in.  His light turns green and he cycles onward.  Damn it.

I pull my phone out of my bag.   He’s not in my “contacts” but he sent me a text last year.  Which one of the unnamed numbers is he?!  I drop my phone.  Shit!!  I pick it up and find a number that ends in 748.  That’s it!

He won’t answer, but I’ll leave a message for him.

Gabe (hesitant):  Hello?

Me (frantic):  Hello!  It’s Simone!  Are you wearing a blue shirt and beige trousers?

Gabe (still hesitant):  Yes ….

Me (still frantic):  I just saw you cycle right by me! 

Gabe (laughing loudly):  And where are you, Sorceress Simone?

I explain my location and he cycles back to meet me for a drink.  I run up and forcefully hug him.  We both say nothing and laugh.  We hug again.

Back in the nineties Gabriel and I had a very brief relationship (for want of a better word).  We were colleagues and, a year after our fling stopped, all employees were made redundant.  Seven years went by without contact until I ran into him walking in a local park.  Since then we bump into each other about every two years, in random places.  For me, he’s become an emblem of good luck: I only ever see him when I’m happy.

We first met three weeks after I initially arrived in London, full of youthful optimism and buoyancy.  Now, it’s exactly three weeks since I returned to London and I’m full of mid-thirties confidence; refreshed and ready for Round Two in the Fight of Life.

Aside from our chance encounters I receive one email or text from Gabe a year, but our spontaneous catch-ups are always warm and, due to the longevity of our friendship, comfortably familiar.

Friday is no different.  And, after more than one drink, we become nostalgic.

Me:  So who are you in contact with from our old work besides Paul?

Gabe:  No one, really. I’ve not seen Charles since our work leaving do (he pauses).  Octopus Charles.  Remember him molesting you at the work leaving do?

Gabe smiles and looks at me.  My brow furrows and I look upwards; my thinking expression.  Something’s registering in the far corner of my mind.

Me (finally speaking):  Yes.  Yes I do.  He sat next to me on the bus and kept touching me … or groped me or something … it’s vague … I remember that when we arrived at the venue he pushed me against a wall, but someone pulled him off me.

Gabe:  That was me.  You were drunk and he was being a prick.  I’d seen him on the bus and you clearly didn’t want his … um affections, so he had to fuck off.  You know he hasn’t spoken to me since? 

Me (pausing before quietly speaking):  I’m really sorry that I don’t remember.  Thank you.    

Gabe just shrugs and smiles.  I’m touched and feel retrospectively guilty; not remembering this incident symbolises how I took him for granted.  Gabe’s the reason I owned numerous Vespas; after freezing to death on the back of his motorbike to Cardiff I was addicted (but realistic enough to know that I wouldn’t be able to master a big bike!).  He’s also the reason I learnt Latin American dance; I couldn’t bear the constant humiliation at the Spanish and Brazilian clubs we frequented.  And Gabe’s now my emblem of good luck … or good times … good something anyway!

The evening ends.  We part and don’t say we’ll contact each other or catch up again soon.  At some point in the next two years we’ll see each other … and I’ll be happy.