Comparing notes

Comparing notes was a silly idea. I should only compare love letters.

The best love letter that I’ve ever received was from a boy who I’ll call James. We were both sixteen; I had been living in Nottingham for a month or so, and I was still sleeping in my friend’s bed at her mum’s house. One night when my friend was out, her mum’s boyfriend brought his son over with him and they encouraged us to hang out together because they wanted a bit of privacy to do whatever middle-aged people did in the year 2000.

My friend’s boyfriend had left his guitar, and so James played for me for a little while. This was when I first discovered I find it excruciatingly painful to be serenaded. It doesn’t matter how hot the guy is, how talented he is, whatever – I feel so awkward while they’re doing it that I don’t know where to look. It’s the same feeling I get when I have to open presents in front of other people and they’re carefully watching my reaction. It’s too much attention and I hate it.

Anyway, I’m sure whatever he sang was wonderful, or possibly Wonderwall. The song itself isn’t important here: what is important is the fact this guy is my first really-special-connection person. No one had ever tried to seduce me by playing the guitar before. I’m from Thurrock; sharing earphones to listen to In The Mix ’96 on a Walkman with dying batteries was the only music-related romantic gesture I’d previously encountered. I wasn’t exactly used to this kind of thing.

He had weed, which helped. We got stoned and talked half the night about everything we had done so far and everything we were going to do in the future. I’m sure it was fascinating.

Once it started getting late then we obviously had to lie down on the bed, and then we got cold so we got under the duvet. And then we brushed hands, and then we were playing with fingers, and by then we realised it was pointless being coy so he put his arms around me. At some point we’d started kissing, just because our faces were so close and we kept being drawn to each other, but we’d just brush lips and continue talking because the words seemed so important at the time. Then the kissing went on longer and trembling fingers started itching… and he asked me if I wanted to, so I said yes but I was worried that his dad would hear, and he said ‘do you really think anyone is going to leave two sixteen-year-olds together all night and expect them not to end up fucking?’ so we did and I was quiet and awkward and he was gentle and sweet.

And that’s pretty much the extent of my relationship with James. He lived up north, unfortunately. James promised to write as soon as he could, but I didn’t really expect him to.

I got a letter about a week later. He told me he’d been to the beach at night and while he was there he’d smoked some weed and written me a song. He said that he felt like he loved me and was so happy to have met me and he really hoped that one day we’d meet again… but we probably wouldn’t, because life is bad to us like that, but that’s still okay because we would never, ever forget each other and we’d always feel like this forever.

And, as a postscript, he had lovingly crafted me a joint that was almost the width of the envelope and wrapped it in tissue and taped it to the letter. It arrived absolutely fine (albeit slightly dry), and both my friend and her mother went fucking mental when they found out I received drugs in the post. His dad thought it was hilarious.

I didn’t ever see James again. I don’t even have the letter anymore, sadly. But it doesn’t really matter, because not only was he right about me not forgetting him but he also made me realise that these kinds of encounters existed, where very brief exchanges and momentarily meaningful gestures can turn into a love story of sorts.

All my stories tend to have a supporting cast of narcotics, even the romantic ones.

I’ve lost track of the current story. I struggle with contradictions and conspiracies. I made the mistake of thinking I was special. (But what if I am?)

0 comments on “Comparing notes

  1. Young love. I find it amazing when you meet someone briefly, possibly only once and you have a profound moment with them. It doesn’t even have to be love, sex, etc. Some of the most amazing people I ever met were random and I only saw them once or maybe bumped into them twice in my life.

    It is interesting how life works like that. You could literally know someone a life time and you two may never have much of any impact on another but then you meet a stranger on seeming chance (I don’t believe in coincidence) and BOOM! Your world is blown away by them.

    You never forget that soul.

    • Absolutely! I’ve met a few people this way too, not even including Alex. The cynical side of me says it’s just because of the mystery factor; if you had the time and opportunity to get to know them then you’d probably find them as ordinary as anyone else… but the dreamer in me says that – even if that is the case – then that person has still changed something important the way you view life anyway, so can never be anything but extraordinary.

      That’s made me want to go think about them all some more. You’re right, you never forget them.

      • Mystery doesn’t hurt so you are not wrong. That being said, you are also right in the way in which they still impacted your life greatly. I love how life works in that way. Yeah, thinking back on a few souls at the moment, and every one totally altered my life, despite their short time in it.

        That brings up an interesting thought though. The tiniest thing can completely alter our lives. If anything was different in our lives (even the tiniest detail) we would be different people, in different places, living completely different lives. It affects everything from who you meet, to potentially how you become who you become.

        That isn’t even counting if you believe in parallel universes or anything multiverse theory related. If that is the case than every decision you make splits things. Let’s say you flip a coin. Call it, heads or tails. You call heads, regardless of what turns up, at that point of decision there is a split. Somewhere there was a you who called tails. That doesn’t even consider the results. If we wanted to talk Schrödinger’s cat, mm….I will stop here. There are so many theories, and those lead into things like paradoxes and then that leads into all sorts of interesting debate.

        I got heavily sidetracked. ^_^

        • I love it too. It’s also interesting to wonder whether or not I had the same effect on them (or anyone else, for that matter) or if they even know that they changed my life. It’s not like I can track them all down to tell them – and even if I did, would that change things too much?

          And I totally agree – chaos theory/butterfly effect is fun to daydream about because everything in life is so absolutely random! Even if we take into account the cause and effect of our own lives, there are all the other lives and external influences that have an effect on us, sometimes without us even realising it. Infinite possibilities with every breath.

          I believe that’s also a plot of a Gwyneth Paltrow film which I have never seen, but assume is dreadful. I really hope that there isn’t a parallel universe that contains a version of me that likes shitty rom-coms…

          • There is certainly a universe where you just LOVE shitty Romcoms. 😉 Thankfully that nightmare universe isn’t this one. I have no room to talk though. I don’t mind them. I mean, I suppose it depends, but it is fun to watch one every now and then.

            I am betting you have an impact on more lives than you realize. I’m sure most everyone does, and many times for positive or negative, they don’t even realize they have this effect. Mm…let’s say for example your writing.

            It def impacts me. I love reading it, but I’m quite sure there are others out there spoken and unspoken who sharing your story impacts and potentially even helps and inspires others. 🙂

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