I Met a Guy

And he ruined everything.  

I had a plan when I moved to the States. I was going over as a free bird. My ex-boyfriend and I parted ways a couple of months before I left, and I made a promise to myself to stay away from men. I was entering a new country free of any luggage.  

29th of December 2021. If I could rewind time, I would never have set foot in a bar that night. But my friends and I wanted to have one last night of madness in town. We started in Dakota, a small cowboy bar for middle-aged ladies wanting to dance to old tunes. The floor was sticky, the songs were average, and the bar smelt like a mixed cocktail of sweat and cheap vodka. My friend managed to score us free drinks from an undeniably underage guy, and we left that bar on a high.  

I started walking down the street, my friends behind me laughing at a guy being arrested. We headed towards Mish Mosh. My all-time favorite club. I tripped on the sidewalk as we turned the corner, and we passed a group of four guys. I made eye contact with one of them. I smiled and turned around. He yelled something. I yelled back something about Mish Mosh, and they started walking towards us. My friend gave me a look, and I shrugged. Not much I could do now. They joined our group of four and we headed into Mish Mosh. Small talk, witty jokes and repeated sentences followed, as everyone tried to introduce themselves while Time of Our Lives by Pitbull blasted in the background. We made our way to the dance floor, and I could finally take a proper look at these unfamiliar faces. Pretty standard looking guys. Easily a couple of years older than us. The guy I smiled at originally had taken my smile as a sign I was interested, and he was doing a terrible job of trying to make a move. I wasn’t into it, and he soon gave up. I was more interested in his friend. Tall, dark and handsome with an air of mystery about him. But he kept to himself, and I wasn’t going to make the first move.  

I excused myself to go to the bathroom and my friends quickly followed, like ducklings trying to keep up with mom. A quick bathroom chat decided that we would stay for five more minutes to see if the mysterious guy was interested in me, then we were leaving. As we made our way back to the dance floor I moved into their circle, so I was dancing in front of him. Ten minutes later he and one of the other guys were walking with us to another club.  

Before we knew it, it was four in the morning. We needed to walk to my friend’s home twenty minutes away. I tried to say goodbye to mystery man, but he wasn’t having it. He and his friend insisted on walking us back to my friend’s house. We talked the entire time. He was from another town up north, twenty years old in his last year of university. He said he didn’t have a favorite color, but I said he looked like a red person. He guessed that mine was green. I told him I was leaving in four days, and he said he couldn’t get enough. It sounds cheesy, but I’ve never been happier. He asked me on a date. I said maybe, but I knew this was the last time I was going to see him. After sad goodbyes, we swapped numbers and I Ubered home.   

I woke up to a notification the next day. Tired and hungover, I rolled over, grabbed my phone and looked at the text. “What’re you doing today?” Fuck. Part of me was hoping he wouldn’t text. After a couple of texts back and forth I said I was busy. A lie. We wished each other well and that was it.   

31st of December 2021. I was at a New Year’s party in Eastbourne–a good hour’s drive from central town. The plan for the night was simple. Party hard, then walk home with my friends at two am. But then he called, asking if I was planning on coming into town. I said no, but I desperately wanted to. It was a terrible idea. Unfortunately, I love terrible ideas and act impulsively. In ten minutes, I had convinced three friends to come with me and we ordered an Uber. We made it into town at two in the morning. Too many drinks had been consumed, and I had no idea what was going on. I got dragged into Eddies. A club that attracts young, sweaty boys because they get to climb up on stage and feel powerful and dominant. I lost my friends almost instantly. I turned to try to find them and suddenly he was there. I wrapped my arms around him and squealed. It felt like we were in a movie. The next two hours consisted of dancing with him and his friends and screaming songs at the top of our lungs. Four am comes by and we get kicked out of Eddies, and both his and my friends have disappeared. We sat outside an apartment and started talking. My friends found me soon after and said they had called Uber. And for some reason, I said I wanted to stay. This guy was a stranger to me, but it felt like I’d known him forever. I had full trust in him.  

My friends weren’t happy about it. They made me promise to call an Uber later or text them to tell them exactly what I was doing and where I was going. They left and we started walking through town, both of us talking so much that we didn’t know where we were going. We ended up on a park bench at five am. We sat there and talked for hours. The sun started coming up, and we carried on talking. Then the alcohol started wearing off and I got cold, my bare legs prickled up and my fingers started to go white. I decided it was too embarrassing to Uber home at seven in the morning, so I chose the more embarrassing alternative– going back to his friend’s apartment. As we walked, we passed people going to get their morning coffee. I felt exposed in my dress and wished I had a jacket. As soon as we got to the room, I started feeling sick. I spent the next two hours vomiting and sleeping for short periods of time. “I’m so sorry you had to see this”, I spluttered out, as I sat hunched over the toilet. “I couldn’t care less, you look cute. I just hope you feel better soon”, he said from behind me. I rolled my eyes and vomited again.  

We went out for breakfast later with his friends. I ordered granola and didn’t eat it. We went back to the room and fell asleep watching a movie. It was the nicest nap I’ve ever had. I woke up to multiple missed calls from my mum and had to tell her I was at some guy’s house and wasn’t going to be home until later that day. She wasn’t too happy either. The rest of the day was just spent talking. He wanted to know everything about me. Not just what I did, but who I was. I was a puzzle he was trying to figure out and solve. It was a hard goodbye. I left in low spirits and tried not to think about him. We weren’t going to see each other again, but why did it feel like we were? I couldn’t let go of the hope that this was something different. That he felt the same weird connection that I had experienced.   

We’ve talked every day since. Even though he ruined everything. 

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Nea Blackham

Hey I'm Nea! I'm from New Zealand and play soccer here at Stephens. I love writing but hate sharing it. I'm hoping that this blog will help with that!

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