We shall always have Venice...
Ian e-mailed (and texted) me yesterday asking whether I'd join him for a drink (read: bar crawl) in Soho as he was meeting his ex (Geoff) and he might be in need of a little moral / mental / physical support. He wanted to show Geoff 'a good time' last night. I think it's only natural. Amongst the whole flood of emotions that wash over you when you meet an ex for a drink you can doggedly hang on to the single fact that you want them to have 'a good time' when they're out with you.
I know from experience that it can be a bit of trial meeting up with an ex too. It's that pleasure/pain principle. That love/hate thing. That oxymoron. They can remind you of the good times you had together; "Remember when we...?", "That time you...", "When we went to..." Delightfully tasting together the sweet meats of nostalgia. And yet you kind of hate them for surviving without you. For getting on with their lives quite so well. It's almost a sibling rivalry. You want them to do well and be happy - but not THAT well and THAT happy. At the root you know that somehow, something didn't work between you both. And now they are moving on without you. You wish them well. You care about them a lot. But the question always hangs in the air, "Why couldn't we make it work?"
So it was last night with Ian and Geoff. Geoff is a perfectly affable chap. Living in Kuala Lumpur designing interiors as far afield as Beijing (where he is soon to rent a loft apartment as a base). He was interesting, interested and a fine drinking companion for the evening. Marky joined us too (in much need of a drink or three after his controversial bare-backing conference). Ian directed us to various drinking establishments but it was only when we were on number three or four that he seemed to relax. "Let's not get into all that 'old boyfriend' thing", says Ian. And minutes later they do. Sweet, really sweet, to watch.
G: Remember Napoleon's? Off Oxford Street?
I: Not off Oxford Street!
G: It was.
I: Oh, yes. So it was.
(you can feel them slipping back into boyfriend-chat mode)
G: Remember that brown donkey jacket?
G: I still wear it. This is yours too (points to leather jacket he's wearing).
G: Remember our trip to Venice?
I: Beautiful colours. Very romantic. The pinks and blues at sunset.
I: Beautiful (wistfully).
G: Yes (even more wistfully).
Ian and Geoff were together for nine years and with that much history they are a part of your life forever. It was an honour to be invited along really. Geoff's off to Paris tomorrow for the weekend. Then back to Kuala Lumpur to join his current boyfriend. Ian no doubt will be continuing his own search for Mister Right. Well, at least Mr Right Now.
We finished the evening off by going to Bar Code for a night cap. We met up with Elliott (sexy beast), Will (a fellow Philip Pullman fan) and Saunders (the sly old fox). And what delightful people they all are too. An evening of happy singles and happy couples. Just as it should be on Valentine's Night.