Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A Breif Romantic Encounter in the English Countryside

This post was supposed to be about my weekend in the English countryside. It was supposed to provide a portrait of picturesque rural life. It was supposed to be about rolling hills and sheep. It was supposed to be about the quaint village and the quirky village people. It was supposed to be about the Cricket game and the afternoon tea and the after Cricket pints and party. It was supposed to be about the Sunday walk through the hills to the charming local pub where we had a Sunday roast in the garden. It was supposed to be about the fresh countryside air and the cool autumn weather.

All weekend I planned this post. I took pictures to include. I talked to the villagers and found out about their lives. I mentally noted interesting observations in anticipation of telling you all about it. And as I sit here at my computer ready to begin, I realize that post I was planning all weekend, is not the post I'm going to write.

And while the lovely British countryside will certainly serve as a romantic backdrop, I apologize that this post will not be about the rolling hills, the sheep, the Cricket, the pub, the villagers, the fresh air, nor will it be about the crisp autumn weather.

This post will be about a boy.

This weekend I feel in love and then lost in just 24 hours. 

But let me rewind and start at the beginning with Friday evening when M (of my favorite couple M and T) showed up at my apartment with French guy CC - a friend from our China days. Then Sexy Single friend A and her friend showed up and we did what we usually do at my apartment - have some pre party drinks, listen to music and get in the mood to go out!

CC was only in town for the weekend, so we were determined to show him the best England had to offer. The plan was to head out on the town  Friday night and then get up early on Saturday and head out to T's family village 2 hours outside of London where they were having the annual Cricket Game (I had attended last year and it was so much fun, I had begged to be invited back). So, on Friday night we headed to Kensington Roof Gardens and got our groove on, stumbling home in the wee hours of the morning.

Saturday morning came way too early and in a cruel manner with a relentless pounding headache and a nauseous stomach and an instant regret for that damn shot of tequila I had done (say nothing of the vodka, gin, wine - although my bets are still on the tequila).

Not even a Bloody Mary and a full English breakfast helped to improve my condition. In fact, as I struggled to keep the meal down, I came to the unfortunate conclusion that a big meal and a drink had only made it worse (whoever says hair of the dog is the best way to kill a hangover, is completely out of their mind).

Despite sleeping most of the way on the train to the countryside, I was still  not well upon arrival in the charming little rural village. The taxi ride from the train station almost did me in (rolling hills and winding roads are not so quite so charming when you're hungover). Luckily however, we did make it to T's quaint village cottage with our stomachs intact.

So, we are sitting and watching the Cricket game and I'm still concentrating on not throwing up, when slowly through the thick fog of my hangover, I become aware that there is a a rather attractive guy on the Cricket field. I ask M who he is and she informs me that he is a childhood friend of T's and unfortunately, he is taken (although sans girlfriend for the weekend). Well, that figures. I mentally cross him off my list of potential flirting partners for the weekend.

The boys come in from the Cricket field to take their turn at bat and I'm introduced to the cute boy. He is even cuter up close - not beautifully aloof in the Beautiful Swede way, but roguishly handsome in a rugged, disheveled, manly way. "I didn't think he would be your type," M would say later.

But up close, it was perhaps less the way he looked, and more the way he looked at me that commanded my attention... He gave me "the look." You know that one where he looks you up and down slowly starting at your shoes, noting the shape of your legs in your fall boots, taking in your blue autumn dress, momentarily lingering on your breasts and then looking right in your eyes as if he can see all the way through to your soul. And from that first "look" I went weak in the knees and I have to admit that I was a bit smitten. Reluctantly smitten. But yes, smitten.

And although I was still very aware that he was "unavailable," I concluded that there is nothing wrong with a little harmless flirting (especially if initiated by him), right? And I promise that I was only joking when discussing sleeping arrangements with M that I would offer to solve the crowded house sleeping arrangement problem by sleeping with him.

And I swear that I did not seek out this boy nor did I intentionally try to turn on the charm (believe me, I can be quite charming when I want to be) but it just so happened that after the Cricket game ended, we ended up standing at the Cricket Club bar together where he convinced me to drink a pint of lager (much to the loud protestations of my stomach and still pounding head) and then proceeded to engage me in a conversation that left me not only smitten, but absolutely fascinated.

You see, he is a former journalist turned (as yet unpublished) writer who is working on his first book. Therefore, I will now refer to him appropriately as "The Writer." And if his looks had been the interesting factor before, I quickly realized that his personality was even more attractive. As a person who is (obviously) interested in writing and dreams of writing a book some day, I of course had lots of questions for him about the book writing process. He patiently answered my questions and gave me some interesting insight into a writer's world.

And we talked a lot about reading (another passion of mine) and it was quickly obvious we had read many of the same books. To my delight, he even begrudgingly admitted to having read (for professional reasons of course) and kind of liked the entire Twilight series, despite not being able to relate to all the teenage girl angst and being slightly disappointed on Stephanie Myer's failure to "understand the male psych."

And the more he talked, the more interesting I found The Writer. And slowly, it began to dawn on me that chemistry aside, this guy was kind of sort of my "dream guy." He was witty, intelligent, interesting and full of life. Well traveled, well educated, athletic, and well rounded. The first guy I have met in a long time who I feel is multi-dimensional enough to match me on many levels.

Apparently our connection was noticed by others around because just minutes into our initial conversation, one of the old drunk villagers interrupted us by asking "Are you two married?" And The Writer looked into my eyes and therefore into my soul, and we both just laughed.

And his eyes - hazel specked with brown, and full of warmth and life... I had trouble looking into them because those eyes sucked me in and made it so hard to look away that the second I did I found myself longing to look back again.

But, if I wasn't smitten enough already, as the night went on and more pints were drunk, he somehow started singing to me in a wonderful singing voice Susanne and Famous Blue Raincoat - my two most favorite Leonard Cohen songs - and it was at that point that I just fell. Head over heels. Hard.

We continued to talk the entire night. I kept trying to pull myself away from him, but found myself completely unable. When he was not standing with me, I found myself searching for him and I found that he was more often than not looking at me as well. But I still considered him "off limits" and honestly there was no overt flirting going on, we did not touch each other and we did not stand too close to eachother or do anything else that would be considered inappropriate, although I can't deny the fact that I was by this point doing some serious "wishful thinking."

Ok please stop reading now if you are:*
a. My parents (although, mom we kind of already discussed this - I just left out the details - you don't really need to read them - dad, neither do you)
b. My colleagues
c. T (of M and T)
d. A person of strong morals who is going to judge me
e. A mean anonymous commenter

 So, the evening progressed and we finally had enough of drinking and dancing and we turned off the lights and music at the Cricket Club and headed back to the house to get some much needed rest.

And I'm not sure if it was the planets aligning or some cruel trick of fate, but suddenly it became clear that the only place for me to sleep (without doing some serious waking up and rearranging of people) was in the spare bed in the room that he was in. (I immediately regretted saying what I had said previously about the sleeping arrangements).

So, we both pretended that this was cool. And I was seriously questioning how cool it really was - engaged in an internal battle of feeling that maybe I should sleep on the floor somehwere else and really really wanting  to sleep in the room with him - to see where this night long charade would take us (because at this point, I really had no idea). But one thing was clear... it was all too easy. We had the perfect excuse to do what we wanted and it was up to us to choose the final outcome. And The Writer seemed ok with the proposed sleeping arrangement... so, we both went with it, although I'm sure his internal battle was even more intense than my own.

So everyone got into their pajamas and we all said goodnight and then The Writer and I closed the door to "our bedroom." And suddenly it was like the world started to spin and we just looked at each other in silence for what felt like an eternity. The sexual tension was on intensity overload, my heart was in my throat, I was weak in the knees, and I swear that the room was on fire. And as much as I told myself that I should walk over to my bed and just lay down and go to sleep, my legs refused to listen and with a mind of their own, they began to move in the other direction - toward him just as he was moving toward me. We met in the middle and he touched my arm and I swear that it there were not only sparks, it was a freaking electrical storm.

Are you sure you want to do this?" I asked. And his response was the slowest most amazing kiss.

"You can't deny chemistry," he said and his fingers were like flames moving over my body.

Later though as the awkwardness set in, he did admit to feeling guilty (which was both weird and relieving all at once. Weird because well... do I need to go there? And relieving because if he didn't feel guilty, well it probably means he does this all the time. And no, I didn't get the feeling that he does). I mumbled something about what's done is done and regret is a pointless emotion. "You're right. I just need to put it in parenthesis," The Writer said.

The next morning came too quickly and when the rest of the house began stirring, we decided to get up and head our separate ways. The day was full of trivial conversation and longing glances exchanged across the room. I was oversensitive and over aware of his presence at all times. And when he was standing close to me, all I could think about was wanting to reach out and touch him and overwhelmed by the unfairness of the fact that it would be totally inappropriate to do so.

The closest we came to an intimate moment was on the way to the pub for Sunday brunch when we were both walking dogs on leashes and the leashes managed to wrap around each other in such a way that we were pulled together and forced into an awkward moment of closeness as we tried to untangle ourselves and the dogs. "This is how they met in The Lady and the Tramp," The Writer said...

And then it was time to say goodbye and head back to London in separate cars. We both climbed the stairs to "our bedroom" and gathered up our belongings. And then once again, we stood awkwardly in the middle of the room. "I guess this is goodbye," he said. "Yes." I replied and then he took me in his arms and gave me one last lingering kiss full of sweet longing, regret and things that "could have been".

And in that moment before we reluctantly pulled ourselves apart, the bittersweet images of a life that almost was but would never be, played out in my mind - the cozy nights at home, the fun parties with friends, the trips around the world, the dancing in each other's arms, the beautiful rambunctious children that we would never have. And just as soon as the thoughts had entered my mind, they withdrew as quickly as his lips left mine as I guiltily remembered that this life is real and not a romantic English fairytale (or a chick lit novel), nor am I Elizabeth Bennet and he is surely not Mr. Darcy. We are just two people who shared a night who had no future outside this room in the English countryside.

And so, we left the room together as strangers. 

And finally, we endured a public parting - in front of other people and I swear they could all see the electricity sparking off our bodies as we touched and air kissed each other goodbye - one remorseful kiss on each cheek. And after saying goodbye to everyone else, when no one was looking, he blew me a kiss and walked off to his car, looking backward at me the whole way. And I felt an incredible sadness wash over me as I knew that I had just met an amazing guy who was absolutely not mine for the taking. An amazing guy who probably has an amazing girlfriend. An amazing guy, who I was never going to see again.

And I have to admit that I felt sad. It's now two days later and I still feel sad. And I've thought about him more than I want to admit. I'm struggling to deal with myself on this one. I've gotten used to not caring, not feeling. I've gotten used to meeting lots of shallow beautiful men who are more suited to one or two dates, to one kiss, to one night - they essentially mean nothing to me and leave no more imprint on me than the empty words posted about them in this blog. I've gotten used to meeting men with many good qualities but always in the beginning - usually in the very first encounter - I sense a strong "but" that I know can't be overcome, that I know makes that guy not right for me in the long run (if I'm honest with myself, even the Beautiful Swede was ruled out in the beginning by the "but" and deemed not suitable for long term potential).

But for the first time in a long time, I felt in The Writer a lingering potential, a beautiful possibility that I had not felt in a very long time (maybe ever).

But he is taken and I'm leaving London in less than 2 weeks, so this is the end of the story. The end of the British countryside romance. It began before it started. I loved and lost in just 24 hours (although it could certainly be said I never "had" in the first place).**

So, that's it. It's over (I keep having to tell myself this). It was awesome and bittersweet and confusing all at once. And now I'm left feeling empty and alone with a wonderful yet guilty memory and  the unrealistic romantic fantasies of a whirlwind romance that will never take place and the unmistakable longing that I will hear from him again.***

*And if you do continue reading, do so at your own risk and try not to judge me, or him and know that this post was one that I really struggled to write.

**I'm not that girl who "falls in 'love'" easily. Or at all. Or ever. In fact, I'm that girl who is not even sure she believes in love. I'm that girl who guys think are cold. And while I'm obviously exaggerating here when I say "love," I did fall for this guy. Hard. More than I ever fall for guys. And that kills me.

***We didn't exchange any contact details.


Julianna said...

Sweet story, and sometimes it's best to leave it as a perfect memory. -J

Sara Louise said...

Like Julianna said, it will be a perfect memory, but oh how my heart hurts for you. It really does x

petit tresor said...

OMG! I LOVE kensington roof gardens! no wonder you got so drunk. it's a FAB place! (and the music is always great although DJ once tried to hit on my friend and when she politely declined, we still had to leave... didn't see him after that...)

as you said - a bittersweet story. sometimes it's better to leave it in a place to have only nice memories which you can cherish forever!

Jonas said...

Yeah, that's the guy talking. No sweet talking here, just plain awesome!

Think of the upside though, if you found someone like that just randomly in the English countryside, you probably can find someone just like him somewhere else :)

Matt79 said...

Brave post - it can't have been easy to share this. I hope that you meet a guy like this in Boston too but with a happier ending!

Anonymous said...

What an amazing moment in time that you can treasure forever. Sometimes I think times like that are best the way they were. What if, just what if, you were to continue to talk and he turned out to have all these horrible habits that drove you nuts, or an over involved mother, or a gambling problem. You just never know. Now he can be perfect (or damn close) forever. He can be that amazing man from that amazing night for the rest of eternity. :-)

Sandra said...

Oh wow...so romantic, so sad, so terrific and dirty, and no, I'm not judging, I'm jealous of that feeling, those looks, that first touch...more more more!
Hopefully there will be a "to be continued!"

Catherine said...

Wow, thanks for sharing this story. I'm sure it was hard to put out there. No judgement here. It sounds amazing, and sad, and touching, and confusing, and well... a lot... all at once. I'm sending good thoughts your way that you are able to recover from this well :). I think this is one of the most beautifully written and engaging pieces I've read in awhile, so thanks for that. :)

Lifebeginsat30ty said...

Wow! What a beautiful, bittersweet story! I obviously don't know your reasons for going back to the US (will keep reading), but I'm going to go against all of the other commenters. I firmly believe that those kind of connections, that gut instinct that tells you that something extraordinary could happen, needs to be listened to. It may seem impossible but life is a very funny thing. You have enough connections through common friends that it would be easy to get his contact info or send him yours. Hell, there's facebook for a reason. But it's up to you. Maybe you want a new life with a new start. But maybe, just maybe, we only get one life to live and should just go for it sometimes. Good luck and I'm interested to see what the universe has in store for you!

International Woman of Mystery said...

Thanks everyone for your wonderful comments! I think you are right. Just leave it be as a beatiful memory. Or as he says just "put it in parethesis" and move on.

I wish I wasn't still thinking about him though! Maybe it's the way my brain is trying to distract me from all the other things going on in my life with the move and all.

myjoyproject said...

This post left me breathless & holding back tears for you. If I wasn't at my desk at work right now I would be bawling.

What a beautiful love story.

Thank you for allowing yourself to be vulnerable and to share this experience with such raw honesty.

I'm looking forward to following your blog and getting to "know you" better :)


International Woman of Mystery said...

@myjoyproject - aww... thanks! I feel like crying too when I think about this. Over a week later and still a bit sad! Thanks for reading and looking forward to getting to "know" you better too!

Ilze said...

OMG girl! What à story! What a masterpiece of writing! 
I hope you will keep the conviction that "dream guys" do exist, as he is not the only one in this world.  

jules said...

Wow. This is the first time I have been to your blog and that story was riveting. I can see how it is sad, but it's another chapter in the story of your life and you will look back fondly on it in the future. So well written too!

International Woman of Mystery said...

@Jules - thanks so much for reading!! Glad you like it. It is a very nice memory... I guess I just wish it could have gone beyond a "memory."

Sarah B said...

I read this several days ago (as I was making my way through the blog) and I cannot stop thinking about this post...

I even sent it to my friend as we were discussing it last night (both said friend and I have had these chemical encounters...)

Oy, kind of having an achy feeling in my chest about this.

International Woman of Mystery said...

Thanks Sarah! It was a great weekend and it's a great memory. I still think about him... I think he is someone I will never forget.