July 11th, 2017

Charah coffee

Candy Crush

This is my third attempt at this entry. The first two attempts were marred, and eventually stymied, by serious fatigue. I am slightly less tired right now than I was two nights ago, so I hope this entry gets written, all of it, and posted.

*

Saturday evening, three different bars, one guy. And me, of course.

At d'Arry's Liquer Loft, shortly after he'd got us our drinks, he sat facing me across the slim bar top, said, 'You look very pretty.' I wore a new dress, one of my spoils from my mini shopping spree at Dorothy Perkins (online): navy blue skater dress, a print of pinkish flowers, sleeveless, cut slim at the shoulders; I paired it with heeled lace-up black sandals. He liked my shoes too.

According to the Internet, one sign that a guy likes you is if he notices what you wear. He's been noticing what I wear for months. This was the first time, though, he gave me an outright compliment in person.

Our roles were slightly reversed on Saturday. I experienced a few seconds of shy awkwardness after he said that I looked very pretty and found myself caught off guard, unable to be natural, and tongue-tied as a result; tongue-tied, that is, apart from a generic 'thank you'. My composure came back quickly, though, and I added, cheekily, 'Do you like my dress?'

I liked that he was being who he is; he was doing him. He knew what I was going to wear to our date, as we'd ran into each other a couple of hours earlier when I was walking to town to run errands and he was going back to work to hand over the spare change that he'd got from the bank. But there he was, sauntering towards me, uncharacteristically two minutes late, in a barely buttoned shirt, pants (okay, trousers) cut off at the knees with pockets at the legs, and flip-flops. With much amusement, I thought, 'Oh my god, he's an English ah beng!'

He's not really though. He claims to be the definition of average by saying, 'I'm the epitome of average.' I should have said, but didn't, 'No average person would use the word "epitome".' Not to mention he actually said 'however'. Like Barry observed one afternoon while walking past a Magdalene undergrad showing visitors around on Open Day and said 'however', who uses the word 'however' in daily conversation? Apparently, someone who claims to be the 'epitome' of average by using the word 'epitome' to describe the extent of his averageness. No, I didn't buy it either.

The compliment was the first sign that the night was going to be different from the other times we saw each other. The next sign was his putting his arm around my waist after leaving d'Arry's and heading in the general direction of town. He decided to take me to Ta Bouche where he worked many years ago; now, he just hangs out there most of the time. I felt a bit apprehensive, knowing that the people there knew that he was on a date (because he told them) and that I was his date.

He told the bartender (Jimmy) what kind of drink I was after and he whipped up something tasty in just seconds. Then we sat at the corner of a table in the outdoors seating area, perpendicular to each other. He took the initiative to close the physical gap between us: a hand on my leg, my hand in his. I reciprocated: a hand on his leg, his hand in mine, tracing his tattoos.

I felt for a fact that he was going to do what he was too shy to do that day in my room. But our roles were reversed, and so sensing this fact made me feel shy. There were moments before he did it when I sensed that he was going to do it, and because I sensed it and I was feeling shy, I would look away or look down.

Then, he'd had enough. I don't remember how this happened, what we were talking about; but we were talking/laughing one moment, and the next moment, I felt him pull me to him, and his lips on mine.

I still had the composure to tease him. It was the only thing that I thought of saying when we broke apart. 'That wasn't so hard, was it?'

He then said some of the sweetest things that anyone has ever told me. He said all of these things assertively, forcefully, even somewhat passionately, as if getting off his chest months of pent-up feelings and/or desire, and/or trying to convince me of the truth of his words.

  • He said, 'I'm not usually like this. I'm only nervous around you. You're unbelievably beautiful and you're super smart. I mean, Cambridge Law PhD, you know? It's very intimidating.'

  • He said, 'Do you have any idea how beautiful you are? When we were at d'Arry's, I was talking to the bartender and he said, "How did you get her?"'

  • He said, 'Your skin is so smooth, so soft. Like butter.' (This reminded me of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale when buttered Offred laid on the bed like a toast, or something like that.)

  • He said, 'You're way out of my league. I'm just the guy that makes your coffee. I look at myself in the mirror and I think, "Nahhh."'

He may or may not be right. Objectively, on paper, he has a point. But that has not stopped me so far, has it? I'd liked him for six months before I asked him out. Then I liked him for a month more, and thought I'd stopped liking him in the two months in which he did nothing, causing me to think that he wasn't interested. But I couldn't have stopped liking him entirely if I was back on board almost immediately when he resurfaced and told me that I looked unbelievably hot in my tennis outfit, could I? So basically I've liked him for almost 10 months. I know all these things about how we are very different, and how someone like him wouldn't usually date someone like me, and how someone like me wouldn't usually date someone like him.

I like him anyway.

I liked kissing him. He told me that I am a good kisser; so is he. I liked that he held my hand when he showed me where the bathroom was, again when we went over to La Raza, and again when we walked back to mine. He tried to hint to me that he wanted me to invite him back to mine by emphasising the 30 minutes that he'd have to spend walking home, but I totally didn't get it, causing him to say, 'I'm trying to insinuate an invitation back to yours.' ('Insinuate' wasn't the best choice of words, but no one is perfect after 5 or 6 drinks.)

I told him straight off the bat, 'Sure, but I don't want to have sex.'

He agreed to my terms. Back at mine, he made me dance a little to make up for the lack of dancing at La Raza due to my shyness. Then he said something about happiness, how it can be found in small moments; such as, 'Like right now. I'm happy being here with you.'

*

I barely slept all night. It was inevitable that we would make out under the covers and under the cover of the darkness of the night, inevitable too that I would turn him on (though I honestly wasn't doing anything, just kissing him back) and get him all hot and bothered. But I told him my boundaries and he respected them, as he should have.

So the reason I barely slept wasn't because of any of that. It was because 1) there was someone else in my bed, 2) it was a hot night, 3) 1+2 = it was even hotter because of the warm of his body, and 4) he kept me half-awake with his display of affection: kissing my shoulders, hugging me.

He had to work the next day. I finally fell asleep at maybe 6 in the morning; an hour after that, his alarm went off. He eventually left two hours later. 'Thank you for last night,' he said. 'It was fun.'

*

I don't know how he'd managed to stay awake at work. I went to London, fell asleep on the train; took the Tube to the airport to pick up my parents, fell asleep on the Tube. This is why my first attempt failed: I was way too tired.

I will write about my parents being here separately, save to say this: we went to Fitzbillies for coffee and some food in the morning. He was at the till. We ordered 3 flat whites, a cheese toastie and a Chelsea bun. My parents sat down, leaving me to pay for the food. I had my card out, all ready to pop it into the card machine. I didn't understand what was going on when he said, 'It's okay.'

I thought he was talking about something else, like it wasn't awkward with my parents there, so I continued standing there, card in hand, still waiting to pay. Then he waved his hand, and said again, 'It's okay.'

He's too sweet. He gave us another Chelsea bun later in the afternoon (I wanted coffee and didn't want to go anwyhere else in town because why pay for second-best coffee, if at all, if you can get the best?); he'd forgotten that we had one in the morning. I shouldn't have taken it, but free food is too tempting to pass up. I ended up eating it for 'dinner' after tennis.

*

Having said all that, I am still confused about whether he likes me. Basically, the reason is that he doesn't text me. That's it.

I am falling asleep on this entry again, but I've written what I've been wanting to write, so I'm happy, and I shall go to bed.
Charah coffee

Parents in Cambridge

Having my parents here has been stressful and great at the same time. It's more great than stressful, and it's also tiring. It's stressful due to my own doing, mostly; such as poor time management, waking up too late, leaving packing and trip details to the last minute...

But it's been nice otherwise. I did the typical Cambridge tourist thing on the first day and brought them to see the colleges. It was too bad that Trinity was closed to all non-Trinity people, as it means that I'll have to make up for this on some other day, thereby taking time away from something potentially more interesting. We had lunch at the Anchor, a pub by the river opposite Queens, and the food was pretty amazing; my baked camembert with pecans, some kind of herb and red peppers was absolutely delicious. My parents liked the food that they ordered too: fish and chips and some kind of chicken.

Today, I took them on a walk along the river. The plan was to walk a bit further, into the little meadows, but the plan failed. Not only did I wake up too late, but I also really had to pee, AND I had to meet my supervisors at 2pm, so time was a bit tight. The plan was also to go to Chinese Snacks to eat dumplings, but this plan also failed because the place is closed on Tuesdays. We went to Aromi at Grafton instead; my first time at Aromi, ever. The pizzas were good. The vegetariana was way better than the margherita.

Supervisors' meeting was better than I'd expected, but then, I always expect the worst. They liked the draft; said it was my best work to date. I was candid about why I didn't submit a revised chapter 3, said that I lost motivation, wasn't sure if I wanted an academic job, etc. They gave helpful advice, so I'm glad that was discussed.

This was followed by tea at Harriet's Tea Room. Scones are just the best thing that the English have to offer to the world in terms of food. Barry came by and sat with us and talked to my parents. He was very keen to meet them. I was really impressed by what an excellent conversationalist he was. I think my dad wouldn't have objected to him if we were dating. High praise!

This entry is short because I am very freaking tired. I will end this by saying that I met Matt very briefly, for 3 minutes, at about 8pm, to give him some pineapple tarts that my mom made. I'd already thought doing this when he gave us free food yesterday. It says a lot about how much like my mom I am that she told me to give him my share of the tarts (my share because they were all meant for me). I was going to give them to him in the morning when buying coffee, but he was busy fixing the grinder that someone had broken. I even asked, 'Are you busy, Matt? Do you have a second?' He didn't. Later, he texted to say sorry about that, etc., and I arranged to meet him after he was off work.

I don't know why I said 'I'll miss you' just before he went off. Will I really miss him? Even if I would miss him, why even say it? I opened my mouth and words came out; it was almost as if I was acting according to a script. I really regret it. I wish I hadn't said it.

Somehow, I keep expecting more from him. I'm not sure what, exactly; some sense of urgency to see me, I suppose. I'm still rather confused by him. I don't know what he's after, what he's thinking. Of course, there's that gigantic elephant in the room which we haven't talked about. He seems to really like me from what he said on Saturday night, but I don't feel it from his actions.

Anyway. I'll just see how this goes. It's still early days anyway.

On a brighter note, it was nice to kiss him again.