“Throw it all out!”
I am lying on the sofa staring at the ceiling between my fingers. Two of my best friends in the world have come over to empty and clean my house. I am leaving the next day for a flat I’ve only seen through Skype, in London. As far as I’m concerned I just need a suitcase of clothes and my iPad. Everything else can stay here, I don’t even want to look at it.
“Are you insane, what about your bond? What about all your lovely baking stuff?”
My friend Gareth is the voice of reason, playing Yenta to my Greta Garbo.
“Throw it out, or keep it. I don’t care.” I put my hands on my forehead to imitate Diana Ross and march towards the bedroom door. My other friend Joe is diligently mopping the floor and laughs. I am diffusing the situation, because I genuinely don’t care. I’m never baking ever again. I don’t need anything in this house we built for two, because he is gone and my life here has gone with it. I tried cleaning the house the week before and found one of his socks. I spent the rest of the afternoon barefoot, smoking and drunk in my garden.
I walk back into the kitchen, and Gareth has retrieved a sailor’s uniform from under the sink. “Kinky”, he cackles. “Throw. It. Out.” I exclaim, and tumble back onto the sofa. “My sailor’s wife days are totally over.”
In retrospect my break-up was the gayest thing ever. We’d spent the weekend in London, watching Lady Gaga tear up Twickenham Stadium. I’d spent the rest of the weekend trying to be ridiculously upbeat to ease the tension. He’d spent the weekend sulking like a petulant teenager who hadn’t been given a car for Christmas.
I kissed him goodbye on the platform at Paddington. He stood there in his Navy uniform with his shiny shoes and hat under his arm, back off to Portsmouth for another week while I went to our home in Cardiff. By the time the train got to Reading, I’d been texted to let me know that basically, we were no longer together. My fiancé had decided he wanted to run off, be young, and leave me with the bills.
I didn’t mean to get rid of my engagement ring the way I did. I wanted to be dramatic and throw it into Roath Lake, never to be seen again. Instead, I put it into an envelope for safekeeping, then accidentally used the envelope to post an item on Ebay. I never had the heart to ask for it back.
I stepped onto the same platform I had stepped off in Paddington. I didn’t quite feel reborn, maybe still incubated. My space was smaller in this big city, where I once had a flat I now had a room. I followed my career here, it was the perfect escape from a city with too many memories.
“It’s about time you had some fun, you’re not dead you know!” Gareth, as ever, the voice of reason. For the first time in my life I hadn’t jumped right back on the boyfriend pony, so to speak. I went to Rome on my own for a week (guess who read Eat, Pray, Love), I visited my family in Spain. I joined a gym, got used to my new neighbourhood and the giddy excitement of popping into Central London whenever I pleased. Was it really time for boys again?
Gareth reassured me that Grindr wasn’t that sleazy, that I could just make friends and expand my social circle. A date couldn’t hurt though could it? A coffee, dinner, some male attention. I’d spent three years trying to be a good boy, I’d been tamed from a slightly wild barman in a gay bar to respectable gentleman with a career. I was back in super skinny jeans and ready for some flirting. I think.
I hadn’t dated in three years, I had extra armour but had I forgotten all the rules?
Watch this space.