My favourite jumper
Thankfully, I was alone in my bed.
There were lots of missed calls, two voicemails and 5 text messages. All of them were from a number I didn’t recognise. I read the messages. One of them was signed ‘Phil’. The first had been sent just after 4am and said, 'where u go? am looking for u.x.' Another said, 'call me pls, let me know u ok. xx'. 'alan, where r u. am worried. pls tell me.x.x,' said another. One of them said that he had my jumper and scarf.
He was worried? I had no idea who the person was. I was worried!
Phil? Had I met a Phil the night before? Yes, I had. I’d bumped into Phil and his partner, Paul, at the Lord Roberts. A quiet couple, but interesting and fun to talk to after a few pints. I’d even exchanged numbers with one of them, suggesting that they look me up in Amsterdam were they to visit. That was Phil’s number, I thought. So why did his number show up as unrecognised? I also remembered going with them to the Central (called Niche Bar these days) after the Lord Roberts. But I didn’t remember anything that could have prompted the messages I’d got.
I listened to the voicemails.
They were all in the same vein. Phil wanted to know where I was, where I’d gone. More worryingly, one of them said that he really liked me and wanted to see me again.
I lit another fag.
My poor throbbing head started to analyse as much of the previous night that it could remember. We’d flirted before but in that harmless sort of way that meant absolutely nothing. There’d never been any sign of real interest from him. And I was sure that last night had been the same. What had happened to bring all this on? Phil was quite cute in his way but he and Paul had always seemed very committed to each other. I was intrigued.
'At home. Sore head here. How are you? X' said my message to him. No reply. Several hours later, I got a message from the number I’d taken from him the night before.
‘Hey Alan, was good to see you again. Hope your head isn’t too sore today. We’ve both got horrid hangovers. Enjoy your last few days here and good luck for Amsterdam. Keep in touch. x’ That confused me even more. Had I mixed Phil up with Paul? Two four-letter names, both starting with ‘P’. Easily done. Especially with my memory for names. Which one was which? Did Paul know that Phil had sent me all those messages?
I replied as neutrally as possible. 'Very fuzzy head here. Why don’t I ever learn? Do you have my jumper and scarf? x.'
'Sorry, no. You were wearing them when we last saw you. x'
Ok, so he didn’t know about Phil’s messages. Then I got another message from Phil.
'hi, so plzd you ok, was so worried. when u free? cum visit me. Would be good 2 continue where we left off.x.x.x'
Carry on where we left off? What had we been doing and where? Visit him with Paul there even though Paul knew nothing of what had been going on? Although I didn’t know them well, they didn’t seem the sort to invite men home, whether it be for a threesome or just for one of them. I wasn’t sure what to reply. 'What did we do last night? Sorry, but I don’t remember anything. Where do you live? Are you on your own now?'
'in the meadows. just me and my 2 kittens, diesel and tigga. cum anytime, am free now. lets continue where we left off, except u cant remember where that was?x.x.x'
Doubts set in. Who was this person? Phil and Paul live together in a village a few miles out of Nottingham. Did Phil also have a place of his own in the Meadows? Unlikely. 'Head too sore to come out now. I really can’t remember anything from last night. Where did we meet up?'
Not bored yet? Read more..
Definitely not that Phil then. What a relief! But who was it? I had no recollection of collapsing at Central. And certainly no recollection of speaking to anyone after it had happened. Someone whom I’d given my phone number to; someone with whom we’d ‘done things’; someone who now had my jumper and scarf.
We’d obviously done enough to make this bloke really keen. Despite my having no recollection of him nor of what we’d done. He began bombarding me with text messages, not all of which I was replying to. His eagerness was disconcerting. Very disconcerting, actually. Still, I was intrigued enough to want to meet him. But had it not been for the fact that he had my favourite new jumper and a scarf of mine, I’d probably not have met him. What if I didn’t like him? More importantly, what if I didn’t fancy him? If that were the case, meeting him would present me with the awkwardness of letting him know that I didn’t want to ‘carry on where we’d left off.’ And anyway, I only had a week left in Nottingham so adding yet another complication to my life just didn’t make any sense at all. Not that complicating my life has ever been much of deterrent when it comes to the things I do. But I’d already lost one jumper the week before by over-indulging and pretending I was 18 at the club. I didn’t want to lose another.
'When are you next out? X'
The words were carefully chosen. I didn’t want him to think that I was arranging some sort of date.
'hi, when do u want me 2 be out? why don’t u just ask and i’ll see I’m free.x.x’
That extreme keenness again! I ignored the message. Another arrived a few hours later.
'Hi, what u up 2 2nite, whoring it again? didn’t reply 2 my last text. when u goin 2 ask me out? Look forward to u’re reply.x.x'
I wasn’t doing anything that night but I suggested we meet the next night, Christmas eve.
'Sounds good 2 me. wot time u thinking of? do u want 2 meet me or come round?'
I definitely wasn’t going to his place! I suggested the Lord Roberts.
'ten sounds gud. c u 2morrow at Roberts.x.x'
I got several messages throughout the next day. In the afternoon, I got this one:
'hi handsome, ave i woke u up? sorry u need u’re beauty sleep don’t u. looking 4ward 2 c u later. ope u can rememba wot I look like as u don’t rememba much bout it. x.x.x'
Intrigued or not, to say that I was dreading the meeting is quite an understatement. Although I had no recollection of him, I was sure that I’d remember him when I saw him again.
Yes, there's more..
‘Yes, it’s me,’ he said as I approached him.
Now Nottingham’s gay scene is really quite small, small enough for most faces to be familiar even if you don’t know everyone. This was a face that I’d not seen before. It beamed at me. A total stranger was beaming at me! In a gay bar, potentially the prelude to a very pleasant experience. It made me uneasy. Tall and slim, no god’s gift, Phil wasn’t too bad to look at. He was casually dressed and wore glasses. Bland describes him well; the sort of person who’d easily fade into the background. Very normal-looking, in fact. I like slim men but there was nothing about him that would have attracted my attention had it not been for the constant beaming. There was no sign of my jumper and scarf. He hadn't brought them with him.
‘You know, I honestly can’t remember you at all,’ I said. ‘I’m really sorry. I must have been so pissed last night.’ I stretched my hand out, ready to shake his.
Still beaming, he stretched out his left hand. Rather than shake mine, he took it into his, squeezing it affectionately. In an over-familiar way. ‘Yes, you were.’
Creepy! I’d never met this man before! Having met people off the internet before, men with whom I’d exchanged lots of intimate information before actually meeting them, you’d think I’d have been ok with the situation. This was entirely different. As we spoke, it became very obvious that not only had we ‘done things’ together but we’d also chatted quite a bit. He knew all sorts of things about me. My age, where I come from, that I was leaving soon, my surname, the fact that I have children and much much more. But I knew next to nothing about him.
He kept smiling; touching me. It made me uneasy. The whole situation was very unpleasant.
‘So what happened after you rescued me from the floor?’ I asked.
‘You insisted we go to the club,’ he said.
‘We went to the club?’
‘Yes, you even paid for me.’
I remembered the Roberts and the Central. There was no memory of the club.
And what did we do? He told me. I wish he hadn’t.
You can't stop reading now..
‘Surely if I was that drunk, I couldn’t get a hardon?’ I asked.
‘Oh you had no problem at all. You kept getting hard and forcing me to suck your cock. You came several times. I’ve still got the evidence. On your jumper.’
Woo-hoo! What a stud! How fucking sordid!
‘And the one time you forced me down, you pissed in my face,’ he said with a big grin.
‘What?!! I’m so sorry,’ I said. I was shocked. And genuinely apologetic.
‘Oh never mind, I enjoyed it.’
Eew! Could this get any worse?
By that stage, we’d both had two pints each and I’d happily have gone home, cutting the night short. But I had something to give a friend of mine who was at the Forresters. It would be the last time I saw him before moving to Amsterdam. Even though Phil’s account of our exploits had horrified me, going to Forresters without him would have been unnecessarily rude. And anyway, I still needed to get my jumper from him. Soiled or not.
We moved on to the Forresters.
Things got worse once we were there. With more alcohol in him and in a darker, crowded environment, he got a lot bolder. He kept lunging at me. His mouth did, to be exact. And when he wasn’t lunging, he was clapping, shouting, singing and wolf-whistling at the appalling drag act that had been dragged out for our Christmas Eve entertainment. My expression probably said it all as he leant into my ear and said, ‘All my friends say I’m so common. Hey, but do I care? No! I like enjoying myself.’ With his arm around me, he turned away and wolf-whistled at the drag queen again.
One of the things that I like about the gay scene, especially a small one, is the way it brings people from all walks of life together. There's a much wider cross-section of people than you’d find in straight bars and clubs where the clientele are often quite homogenous in where they come from and what they do. I like to think that I’m not too much of a snob as I really couldn’t care less about a person’s background if the person is interesting, amusing and free of most bigoted opinions. Being good-looking helps too, of course. So describing someone as coming from the wrong side of the tracks isn’t something you’ll hear me say too often. But this man was seriously from the wrong side of the tracks! Not that I could talk the way I’d been carrying on with him at the club a few nights before.
Each time he lunged at me, I felt a thickening of the icy frigidity that had developed between us. He felt it too, of course.
‘You don’t like me, do you?’ he asked. Several times. Each time I said the same thing.
‘Of course I like you,’ I lied, ‘it’s just strange being with you like this when I can’t remember anything from the other night.’
I had to get away from him.
I still wanted to get that bloody jumper back!
About half an hour later, I got a message from him. I was already back in my flat.
'am sat on a wall on glasshouse st writing this, avent bin so upset in ages. i don’t know what u think of me, but I cant stop thinking bout u. i know it sounds corny, but I think I’m in love. i hate to think u r leavin 31st. god help me!'
Half an hour later, another arrived.
'Hi Alan, am now home. i don’t think i should see u again. ave cried all the way home. u are the first guy i’ve ever felt so passionate about, i cant begin to think what it wil be like when u go.x.x.x.x.x'
I went to sleep.
In the morning, before meeting Michelle, I got another.
'hi Alan, merry Christmas. realy n joyd las nite, was ok. til u went one then i got upset. wud luv 2 spend a nite being passionate wiv u. ope that’s possible b 4 u go away 4 gud.’
There were several more during the day. One moment he’d be saying that he couldn’t see me again, the next he’d be asking for a night of passion with me.
At one point I said that having a night of passion was probably not a good idea but how was I to get my jumper and scarf from him.
'u only get it back if u spend the nite. but if u don’t fancy that just give me ure address and I’ll bring it around. X.x.x'
I went out and bought another one the next day.
For South African reading this post, you may be wondering why I, a South African, use the word 'jumper' when everyone calls a jumper a 'jersey' in South Africa. Obviously, I was corrupted by spending too many years in the UK.