The party moved on to The Swan at Stockwell (where incidentally you get a sausage supper included in your entry fee – that is my kind of place). But because I was up early the next morning, I left at 1am to catch the night bus home.
At the back of the N155 with me were two girls deliberating about where they were supposed to get off, and a stocky black guy on his phone. I asked the girls ‘Where are you going?’
Sheepishly they replied, ‘Infernos – we were hoping we wouldn’t have to admit we were going there out loud…’ Infernos is a very cheesy club, but apparently a guaranteed good night out. I told them which stop they wanted and when they asked me how much entry was, the guy in the middle of us started gesticulating trying to indicate the price. In the meantime he was saying ‘No I’m not with anyone. I’m not with anyone! I’m on the bus! The people you can hear are the other people on the bus! No I’m not with another woman…’
The girls and I looked at each other, they hopped off and I settled back into keeping myself to myself.
He got off his phone just before Clapham Common bus stop, turned to me and said ‘That was my ex-girlfriend.’
‘Yes. I thought it sounded like your girlfriend or something,’ I replied.
‘No no! She’s definitely my ex,’ he assured me. ‘We broke up eight months ago, but…’ and then off he went into a long diatribe about how she’s so jealous and how she pesters him etc. I nodded and smiled.
‘Anyway,’ he said ‘Where’s your boyfriend?’
I think it’s fairly clear by now that I’m more often than not, an idiot. So I replied, like a div, ‘I don’t have a boyfriend.’
‘But you’re beautiful!’ he exclaimed, ‘Where are you going?’
So I told him I was going home and he decided he would stay with me on the bus, past his stop to mine, to keep talking to me.
He asked me for my number. So I gave him a fake number. Because I was caught on the backfoot and didn’t really know how to say – ‘No I don’t want you to have my number.’ But then he was about to call me there and then to check it worked, so I said ‘No no no no no! I’ll take your number.’ He gave me mine, but then asked me to call him so he had mine and he was sitting opposite me and I didn’t really know how to get out of it. So I gave him my number. He gave me a big beaming smile, to reveal one gold front tooth among a set of white ones.
‘What’s your name?’ I asked.
‘Flex, like what you do with a muscle.’
O dear o dear.
He got off the bus at my stop and I stood listening to him continuing to chat about his ex and how paranoid she is.
A bus went past the other way and he groaned because he’d missed it. ‘You’re the one who’s to blame for that. You’re the one chatting!’ I said.
‘Listen, I’m going to go, but I’ll call you right. I’m sober. You’re sober so there’s no reason not to. What a great story this will make when people ask us how we got together eh? ‘O yeah, we met at the back of a bus’…
O my life. I watched him disappear then walked home.
At four the next morning I got a text from him:
‘Sweet pracious lady u r… it was very nice talking 2 u, wiv yr sweet voice. Hope u had a fantastic night out. I take u r @ home safe and sound _/\_… Beautiful! Good night and gold dreams >’.’<! Regards Flex… x…’
Clearly he’s the dotdotdot king.
He then called me at teatime the next day.
And has texted me every morning until today.
You’ve got to admire a man who’s persistent, but seriously – there are limits!