I've got a cold. Not a bad one; I'm still going to work, but it reminds me of an incident I've been meaning to write about, the first in my occasional relationship disaster series - don't worry, there'll be plenty more!
I met Steph in February 1988. Over a few weeks, we went out for a few dates, spent some time together, went shopping, but it was not a formal relationship, though I hoped it would become so. She seemed quite moody - I didn't know if it was because she was unsure about me, or was like that anyway. I also suspected she liked someone else that she had met previously.
So, one Tuesday night, I drove round to see her, but I wasn't feeling 100%. We had sex, after which I felt worse - I was rapidly going downhill, so I said I'd better leave, as I didn't want her to catch whatever I was coming down with, if she hadn't already. She didn't want me to go, kept cuddling me enthusiastically at the door. Ordinarily, I would have called her the next day to apologise, but I wasn't able to, as I came down with the worst case of 'flu I have ever had. And I mean real flu, the kind that really knocks you out. I was in bed with it until Friday, totally non compos mentis. In that time, I don't think I ate more than two or three times, when I stumbled out of bed and managed to make some porridge. From the Friday I was on the recovery path. But that was too late. Steph was a student, and had returned to her home town for the Easter break, which lasted three weeks. I didn't have her parents' phone number, which was ex-directory, so I couldn't otherwise obtain it. And no one had a mobile back then unless they were rich.
So all I could do was wait for her to return to college. I went round to see her - by now more than four weeks had passed since I'd seen her last. Her flatmate answered the door, but she wasn't in - she had gone round to see her boyfriend. What?!! I was crushed.
Now, here's the thing: She had blown hot and cold about me; I did suspect she liked someone else. And it cannot have looked good to her, my rushing off after sex, claiming to be ill, then not phoning again. Now, she might have gone off with this other bloke anyway, but who knows? We never got the chance to talk about it. I'll never know for sure what happened, but the 'flu must have been a factor.
I did see her again, a couple of years later, walking down the street with a couple of guys, one of whom I vaguely knew; I think he was the bloke she'd gone off with. The way she looked at me... I think perhaps she sometimes wondered about the missed opportunity too.
As for my 'flu - where did it come from? I don't recall if there was an epidemic that year, but none of my housemates or friends got it at that time, as far as I can remember. But it came at exactly the right time to ensure that I didn't have a proper relationship with this girl. My life is full of stuff like this. Funny that.