Taking it Slow
When women hold off from marrying men, we call it independence. When men hold off from marrying women, we call it fear of commitment.’
Salamanca – 18thDecember 1999
This is our second night at The Catalonia Plaza Mayor the really plush hotel Rory has booked us into. There’s just too much history and culture to absorb in Salamanca we decided to stay another day.
We are in a huge room with two king size beds. I’ve been playing it cool, but I know he is keen which is great for my ego, but I’m not a slut. We may have lived together on, but mostly off, and that was eight years ago so he cannot expect to pick up exactly where we left off.
I’m fond of Rory, but I have to keep reminding myself about what he did. Here today, gone tomorrow, arriving every evening for about a week then, like the Scarlet Pimpernel, he would disappear for weeks, until he finally buggered off for good. So I have to keep that at the back of my mind, whatever happens on this trip, won’t be permanent. He could see a Spanish senorita any day now and I won’t see him for the dust from Rocinante’s hooves. In fact, Rory reminds me of Don Quixote, always on the look out for his next adventure. Anyway, fate has thrown us together and, so far, I am really enjoying his company. Will see how it goes, but leopards never change their spots.
We did have a spat the other day, just a bit of ribbing but it was really annoying.
‘Still no wedding ring, I see…’ He said holding my left hand in both of his, before brushing it with his lips. I snatched it away. Cheeky sod.
‘Rory… how long is it since I last saw you?’ He shook his head slowly from side to side, squeezing his eyes together as if trying to solve a cryptic crossword clue. He had no idea, so I continued.
‘OK… let me remind you. Do you remember the morning you went to work and never came back? I was about to file a missing person’s report when you emailed me from Sydney to tell me you had been offered a gig out there… for twelve months.’
He couldn’t look at me. He just sucked the air in through his teeth. One of his many irritating habits and something he always did when he knew he was in the wrong. He sighed heavily before looking at me again, smiling and fluttering his eyelashes.
‘Ahh, so you do remember?’ Which means, you will also remember that twelve months turned into eight years… not that I’m counting… well, not anymore!’
‘Oh, Li… I’d like to think I’m a little more mature these days. And I am truly sorry, but I always stayed in touch. Didn’t I?’ As if being truly sorry and staying in touch made things all right. They didn’t and then he had the audacity to compound his attempt at trying to be sorry by saying, ‘I’m just surprised nobody’s snapped you up, that’s all.’
‘Snapped me up?’ That really ignited my fuse, so I let him have it ‘I’m not a bloody commodity waiting to be snapped up! Clearly, during the last eight years, you have forgotten everything about me, including the fact that I’m allergic to weddings and I always have been… my own anyway. I am a fiercely strong, independent woman.’
‘Hmm… looks can always be deceptive in my experience. I thought that being allergic to marriage was a guy thing anyway.’
‘Well, it’s not just a guy thing.’ I retaliated by swatting him over the head with a stray cushion.
‘It’s so good to see you again. You’re still the same feisty, irresistible Lisa Grant. You haven’t changed a bit. I asked you to marry me once. Do you remember?’
‘Yes I do and you were pissed!’
‘Well, so were you!’
‘Thank goodness I wasn’t pissed enough to have said yes, otherwise I would have ended up as nuts as Miss Havisham waiting for you to rock up on our wedding day.’
‘Okay, let me put it this way. I am amazed that you’re still on your own… no significant other in your life. That’s sad, Li, especially now you’re forty.’
‘Oh for fuck’s sake, Rory! You sound just like my mother.’ He backed off at that point and hopefully, he will now stay off the subject.
Rory has gone to get us a nightcap. So, tonight could well be the night. A few days on the road have made me feel very uninhibited… in many ways. I don’t feel tired and I don’t feel I want to play hard to get. YOLO!