I want to watch Federer now, so I'll make this a quick entry. One major reason for the soreness of my right arm is tennis with Matt yesterday. Did I really say in the previous entry that I would play at 75%? Sure, I caveated it with 'depending on how good he is', but clearly, I wasn't expecting him to be any good. I'd placed way too much stock the fact that he hadn't played tennis in 8 years and neglected more salient facts: he used to play squash, he played a lot of racquet sports, and he basically has impeccable hand-eye coordination. It wasn't like he didn't tell me these things, because he did, but I chose to focus on his lack of tennis for 8 years.
Oh my god, what a huge mistake I made. How I'd completely underestimated him. We played two sets and a tiebreak, and he beat me 2-6, 6-4 and 7-2 in the tiebreak. To be fair, I was knackered beyond comprehension halfway through the second set; I couldn't even run properly for short balls (especially his super short 'just tap it in' second serves), and when I did get to them, I kept hitting them into the net. But still, he had some serious skills, even if he didn't have the proper tennis technique (which made sense since he'd never seriously played it). Not only did he get most of the balls back except outright winners (mostly from my forehand, mostly cross-court), but he got them back with proper interest - seriously weird spin that threw me off, variation on the pace, sometimes pushing the ball deep, sometimes dropping it short. He also had way better game IQ than I did; he knew what I was going to do before I even did it.
Also, his serve: he really gave me no chance whatsoever with the first serve, hitting these crazy bombs that I could barely get a racquet on. Luckily for me, he hit most of them into the net, so I only had to try to return a few of them. I returned a grand total of three of his first serves successfully. It was so difficult that I could count the number of times my racquet touched one of his bombs and managed to get the ball over the net (I don't even remember anymore if I won those points. Probably not). I think, too, that he has a better serve technique than me...but then, my serve is still really shit, so I suppose that's not so hard.
He was super cute though. His strategy was two-fold: hit the ball high and deep whenever he could because he figured out that I was clueless with high balls; and do funny things at the other end of the court whenever I was serving to wind me up, distract me. The latter strategy worked like a charm. So many times when I was preparing to serve, he'd do something funny to make me laugh - jump up and down, wave his arms about, position the racquet in a funny way, imitate the pros when they're receiving...I couldn't stop laughing. He was so cute.
Later, when we'd finished and were having dinner at Prezzo, he said that it was fun, we should do it again, preferably when I'm not tired. He also said that I'm much better than him. I think in response to this, I said something about how I'd been playing tennis for exactly the amount of time that he hadn't played tennis. I really know how to take a compliment, don't I?
Anyway, it was a fun afternoon. I was so tired. He really made me run all over the court: left to right, up and down. I really hate running forward too, so all his short shots really killed me. Before I left for drinks with Ivan and Matt for home, he hugged me goodbye by his bicycle in front of Fitzbillies. It felt comfortable, comforting, his arms wrapped tightly around my shoulders, my head on his chest. He's like a big cuddly bear. I love hugging him.
Drinks with Ivan was great. Ivan is such a great person to talk to. He pointed out the uniqueness of my story with Matt in this day and age: first, that we met in person to begin with, not through an app; and second, the whole set-up like a 90's romantic comedy - boy and girl from vastly different backgrounds meeting cute in a cafe, then talking and semi-flirting for six months, then girl makes a move but they misread each other and wrongly assumed the other party wasn't interested; then boy makes the next move after two months, and now...
Of course, the romantic comedy would end probably with the night from a month or so ago that we went out and he kissed me for the first time. Alas, this is real life. Shit happens in real life. He is so endearing and I really like being with him, but I know that this thing itself, in the moment, is the endgame; and so as much as I want to get attached to him (what's the point otherwise? Why would I be interested in something half-fucked?), I don't want to get too attached because I don't want to miss him when he leaves.
But I won't think too much. I won't overthink this. At least, I will try.
Lastly: so excited to be going to Nice!!! (So excited, indeed, that it warrants three exclamation marks.) I am bringing 8 outfits for 5 days (have to change in the evening, right?), two bikinis, two pairs of shoes, two books, and three notebooks. I really hope to get a decent amount of writing done. That would be great.
I haven't even looked at where to go, what to eat, how to get to Antibes, how to get to the apartment from the airport, and I have to take the train to Stansted at about 2pm. Oh well, I'll figure all this shit out at some point.
Sometimes, I amaze myself with how unprepared I am for my solo trips, how last minute my preparations are, if they even materialise. Oh well! I'll figure all this shit out at some point.