After an hour and two pints of Aspall in the pub The Boy and I were laughing loudly at anything and everything.
‘I’m really struggling to imagine you as a teacher.’ I said, taking a sip off the top of my third pint.
‘I know,’ he said, slowly, ‘pret-ty insane.’
I laughed. ‘Are you incapable of speaking in a normal rhythm? You speak slower than anyone I know.’
‘Thhhh-aaaaank youuuuu?’ He said slower, tilting his head and going up an octave on the final pronunciation of “you”.
I laughed harder. ‘Are you a strict teacher then?’
‘Oh yes,’ he said, frowning. ‘I tell them, “Look, don’t try to trick a trickster. I know ev-ery move in the boo-k.’ He said emphasising the ‘k’ sound.
‘Oh, so you’re THAT teacher?’
‘I like to think that they fear me.’
‘Surely based on your size alone they should fear you.’ He can’t make it through most doorways without ducking. He hovers well above me.
‘It definitely helps.’
‘Found any lady friends in the college?’
‘Actually they tend to frown upon flirting with students oddly enough, so … no.’
I laughed again, the cider hitting me hard. ‘No, I mean other teachers. It’s a natural assumption considering those PGCE girls you ran around with. They were pretty wild.’ I said, raising my eyebrows. The Boy had stayed a fourth year at uni to do a PGCE. We rarely discussed it since he pretty much slept with every girl on the course during the height of his dickheadedness towards me immediately after our breakup. (Sidenote: he was in his third year during my first year.)
He grinned, and then avoiding the subject completely as we’d agreed to years ago said, ‘I’m pretty sure I’m the youngest teacher there by a long shot. The only person close in age to me is the rugby coach.’
‘Friennnnnnnnd.’ I said, attempting my best Inbetweeners voice.
‘Yeah, he’s basically my only mate. Everyone else I know works in London.’
‘Have you ever considered moving here?’
‘Course. I don’t know what I’d do here though.’
‘I don’t know if I actually want to be a teacher.’
‘I think prior to taking this position I’d forgotten how much I actually hated being in class. And I didn’t particularly love my teachers. So why I thought I’d enjoy going back to sixth form – let alone at the very college where I was as a young chap -’ I laughed, ‘is beyond me. I can’t begin to fathom wh-at I was thinking.’
‘Maybe it’s karma.’
‘Maybe. I’m pretty sure I’ll be paying off debt to the karma gods for life.’
I stared at him for a moment before snapping back into the conversation and realising it was my turn to speak. ‘Oh! Did you want me to disagree? Because I don’t. I definitely do not disagree with that statement.’
He laughed. ‘That is fair enough, mate.’
‘Don’t call me mate.’ I said, my face stiffening. Then softer, ‘You know I hate it when you call me that.’
‘Sorry … love.’ He said, accentuating the four letters and blinking in the sexy way that he blinks.
‘Don’t call me that either.’ I said, frowning.
‘Alright, princess!’ He said exasperated.
‘Better!’ I said, smiling and taking a sip of my pint.
Since him apologising a couple of years ago for being an absolutely shit boyfriend and for dumping me immediately after I lost my virginity to him (and by ‘immediately’ I mean almost literally immediately, as in within a week), I had resolved to let all of our drama go. You can’t forgive someone on the contingency that you can turn around and throw their mistakes in their face whenever you want to. That is not forgiveness, it’s emotional blackmail. And I genuinely enjoy the friendship I’ve managed to build and maintain with him. I loved him very much at one point and he will always be a part of my life. People change. I certainly have. We grew as far apart as two people can, but somehow have come back to a happy middle ground. We aren’t stupid teenagers anymore. We’re stupid adults now. But at least we’re stupid together again.
An hour later we were lying side by side in my bed, telling uni stories back and forth and having a right drunken roflcopter.
‘I legitimately cannot believe that we got out of that college unscathed by the porter.’ I said.
‘Remember when we redecorated the JCR?’ The Boy said, cracking himself up.
I laughed hard, shaking the mattress beneath me. ‘Ahh, I still have the photo I stole off of the wall from the boat club in 1974.’ I said in a high pitched half-speaking, half-laughing voice. I pointed across the room. ‘Look at their moustaches! It wasn’t even Movember!’ I said, tears streaming down my face.
He laughed harder. ‘Remember me trying to steal one of the oars?’
‘Stop.’ I mouthed silently, waving my hand in the air as I laughed harder. Once I caught my breath I said, ‘I’m sure if it hadn’t been fastened so tightly to the wall it would have lived in your room for the rest of our days in uni.’
He laughed and said very matter of factly, ‘What. Are. We. Like.’
As my uncontrollable laughter subsided I managed to say, ‘Good times.’ As I turned my head towards him I noticed he was already staring at me. As my eyes met his I immediately remembered why I was so drawn to him. His eyes are a hypnotic shade of blue and I couldn’t look away.
‘They were.’ He said, reaching his hand across my face to push my hair behind my ear.
He laughed softly. ‘Good times.’ And then his hand ran behind my head and he pulled his face to his.
We kissed for what felt like an hour before he pulled away and started kissing me along my jawline. I don’t think anyone has ever kissed me there before. I couldn’t tell if it tickled or not, but it felt phenomenal. I closed my eyes and tilted my head back as he kissed every part of my face before pressing his nose against mine. I opened my eyes and he breathed, ‘You are so fucking beautiful.’
I ran my hands behind his head, pulling his hair as I pulled his lips back to mine. As we kissed deeply I realised that I had been too distracted to realise that he had been simultaneously undressing us both as we had been kissing.
‘How did this happen?’ I asked, pulling away and looking down along the side of my bed at the growing pile of discarded clothes.
He shrugged and smiled. ‘Whoops.’ He pressed his lips back against my smile and we continued to add to the pile of clothes.
How things progressed the next morning were a bit more straight forward considering we were already naked. Afterward we chatted incessantly, propping our heads up on our hands as we faced each other and talked about everything and nothing.
Before I knew it, it was midday and we were getting dressed and saying goodbye.
‘Well,’ he started, ‘I suppose I will see you soon.’
I squinted my right eye and bit my lip as I looked up towards his face into the sun. ‘If you’re lucky.’
A smile started to break across his face and he turned his head to hide it before breaking out in laughter and saying to no one, ‘You are something else.’
‘I know.’ I said, still squinting.
He turned his head back toward me and stepped into the sunlight to block the sun from my face. ‘Goodbye.’ He leaned down to kiss me.
I kissed him back, my hands still in the pockets of my coat. He pulled away and gave me a goofy smile. ‘Goodbye.’
He turned to walk away and tripped on the cobblestone outside of my flat. I tried to cover my mouth as I laughed, but he heard and turned back quickly. ‘Well THAT was awkward.’
‘Bye.’ I said laughing.
‘Bye.’ He said redundantly.