I wanted to finish To the Lighthouse before meeting Raffie for a test run on my bicycle and, rather too optimistically, a cycling trip to Grantchester, but I didn't have enough time to give it the proper attention it deserves before I had to go off to meet Raffie. Nonetheless, there were these passages in the book which touched my soul in a way that only the written word which flows from the pen of a pure talent is capable of doing so.
It's quite curious that there are people working at Fitzbillies other than Matt who recognise me and know what I want, and yet no one else has given me free coffee but Matt (I'm pretty sure he was the one that didn't charge me for the coffee on whenever it was...Wednesday). Can people please step up their customer service game? They should really have a loyalty card thing; it seems rather arbitrary that my loyalty is rewarded according to the whims of one barista, albeit a really cute one. I thought it was really cute when he brought me my coffee and said, 'No cheese toastie today? No hangover?' (Because I told him that I was slightly hungover when I went for lunch on Wednesday and had a cheese toastie, primarily because it was the only vegetarian option on the menu.) By 'cute' I mean he's just very lovely.
Anyway, what was even lovelier was Raffie and his immense patience with me, and lack of disappointment when we eventually didn't cycle to Grantchester due to my lack of proficiency on the bicycle. Initially, we tried to get me to cycle from one end of this little alley at his backyard to the other. I failed so many times because I was so scared that I was going to fall. I felt so unsteady and unstable on the bicycle and didn't feel at all in control of the front part. Raffie thought that the basket that was attached to the front could be the cause of the wobbliness. It was really embarrassing, the way I just couldn't cycle from one end of the alley to the other, and was actually about to give up when he had a stroke of genius. He thought that my state of fright and total lack of confidence could be due to the narrowness of the alley, and so we went out to Jesus Green where there is a lot more space.
He was right. And I found out that he was right when I found myself able to cycle quite freely...on the grass. On the actual cycling path, though, I was still quite scared, not least because there were pedestrians and other cyclists and I was afraid of crashing into them. On the grass, however, the openness of the field helped with the fear of crashing into other people, and at one point, I even felt a slight sense of freedom when I could cycle for a relatively extended period of time without stopping. We went around the cycling paths at Jesus Green and I lost a bit of the fear. Raffie was also really encouraging which definitely helped.
We had a drink at the pub (I forgot its name), and by 'drink' I mean coffee for me and a ginger beer for him. I didn't feel like having alcohol at 4 in the afternoon because I am not decadent. We chatted until about 6 about all sorts of things and as always, conversation was great. Then he got me back on the bicycle, and just like that, all the fear came rushing back! I think it didn't help that it was dark already and I couldn't see clearly, which added to the insecurity.
In the end, we parked our bikes at our respective abodes and walked to the Rainbow Cafe, opposite King's, for dinner.
Raffie is a great friend to have. He tells it as it is and doesn't bullshit just for the sake of sparing one's feelings. Sometimes, the lack of diplomacy is absolutely necessary, such as now, when there is a tantalising offer made to me, but I am more or less certain that I would hurt myself if I were to accept. The Antonios situation is like this. On the one hand, sure, I can have fun with him; I'm single, I'm bored, and he's hot. On the other hand, is this really what I want? It's really not what I want. I don't want some casual situation where the guy is only interested in sex; I don't want to be someone's good-time girl. That's not who I am. As fun as Thursday night was, the thoughts that I have been mulling over since then are telling me loud and clear that I probably cannot separate my feelings from the cold physicality of the situation when it comes to him. In the past, I have been in situations where my attraction to a man was purely physical; but I don't think it will be the case with Antonios. He has too many qualities that I want in a man, and so I can see how feelings would develop; and so if this is going to happen (probably not), it has to be done right.
And so if he's not up for that, then too bad, bye bye, it was nice knowing you.
Raffie helped me put things in perspective and reinforced what I believed. I think it's also helpful that he takes relationships seriously and doesn't mess around; someone who messes around and endorses casual relations would have a different take. Just have fun, he/she would say. Go for it.
But what is 'fun', really? I am not a casual person. It may be fun in the moment, but it is not in the aftermath. I beat myself up for doing things like that precisely because it's not who I am, and I hate it when I don't live up to my standards, when I disrespect myself for a momentary cheap thrill which stops feeling good once the lights are on and he's not holding your hand. What is the fucking point? I want more than this, and so I won't respond to his baits. Maybe I will go to London to see him if he offers something better, something proper; but as it stands...it's not for me.
I should also stop letting these random men influence how I feel about myself.
On that note, I am going to bed.