On Sunday I drive for what seems like an eternity to get to Cambridge to see The Artist. I arrive after lunch and I get to meet her friends whom I instantly like. We get in my car which she makes approving sounds about while I’m struck by how natural it feels to be with her. It doesn’t take long for the chemistry between us to be almost touchable. I’m pretty sure that we like the look of each other, but there’s a definite meeting of minds as well.
The Artist has her hair down today and she looks lovely. I even tell her so and my words seem to lift her up. I find us parking in a multi-story car park in the centre of Cambridge and there is little drama involved. I can’t help but think how with my Exgf this mundane activity could lead to an argument. Outside we instantly hold hands and it feels good to me. I think she’s a instinctive hand-holder too.
Walking and talking with The Artist feels perfect. We feed off each other’s input and the last time I had this happen was with Baltic Babe. Through the confused streets of the academic district of Cambridge we walk, but I don’t think either of us notice a thing really; we only have eyes and ears for each other. We could be anywhere, it didn’t matter, we are engrossed in each other, lost in each other.
After a while I have a strange feeling inside me, like I’m in free-fall, but I know I’m not, it’s just a strange sensation that feels good. We can’t stop holding hands and I’m pleased that it feels like a totally natural fit the way our hands and fingers entwine. I can’t help but stop occasionally and kiss her. Each time it feels like it is our first ever kiss, it’s that good and exciting for me. Her smile tells me that she likes it too.
We wander aimlessly, just enjoying doing this together. This is what I want, this is what I have been missing, this is what I’ve been waiting for.
We stop in at a museum that The Artist visits regularly as part of her work. She needs to use the ladies and upon her return says to me the words I was hoping to hear. “Come, I want to show you my favourite things.” It tells me that she wants to share her world with me and is not afraid of rejection. It could also be her testing me, but I don’t think that that is her style of doing things.
It doesn’t take long before we’re standing in front of an exhibit and I watch in awe as The Artist comes into her own before me. She starts telling me about the technique of producing what we’re looking at, explains the variations and the history of these derivations. I listen politely as she speaks, not daring to interrupt her, but marvelling at her obvious passion for what she is talking about. It’s a beautiful moment that I will treasure forever more.
After a while we move along, making our way to the exit when I spot something that presents an opportunity to show her my cultural side, to display my knowledge of history which I think gives her some kind of brain-erection. She seems suitably impressed and interested in what I have to tell her too. We are definitely an intellectual match; that’s worth a lot in any relationship.
Dusk approaches and we become hungry, so we walk back to a pub that The Artist liked the look of. Sitting comfortably at a table for two, it’s a perfect romantic setting. Conversation is still flowing like a river of sweet nectar and we can’t get enough of each other. As the meal progresses it becomes dark outside, the restaurant dims the lights and staff put candles on the tables. She even looks beautiful by candlelight.
We hold hands across the table and I decide it’s the perfect time to find out conclusively just how compatible we are. I walk her through the Magical Forest scene and at the waterfall scene she jumps straight in. Perfect; same as me. With the wolf she stood her ground, while the house she first went in then ate what she wanted. That again is very similar to me in that she doesn’t run away from her problems (I attack) and she has a zest for life, just like me. I realize that her answers are the most similar to mine that anyone has ever given me in the almost thirty years I’ve asked these questions. Inwardly I go ice-cold while my heart goes warm; could she be The One? It looks and feels like it.
I want to tell her something nice, feeling cute, I beckon to her to come closer. She thinks I want to kiss her and she smiles. The Artist innocently leans across the table towards me. I smile to myself.
Her hair catches alight!
There’s a football-sized yellow fireball on one side of her head and it’s about to spread to her face!
The strands from one side of her tresses has fallen onto the candle in the middle of the table. She must have used hairspray on herself for our date. Before she realizes it I’m swatting her hair with my hands as the fire is slowly spreading. Luckily I’m quick about it and douse it just as she realizes from my actions, the sound and pungent smell what is happening to her.
The Artist jumps up and runs off to the ladies. I look around the restaurant to see everyone there looking at us. The waiting staff are all rooted to their spots next to the tables they’re attending to, their jaws hanging open. The patrons all have eyes like golf balls. There’s not a sound to be heard. I think bubbles in champagne flutes stopped moving too. I look away and sounds of normal life return as voices murmur, cutlery clinks and bubbles flow again.
I think that this date will end here when The Artist returns to the table. She’ll probably ask me to take her to the train station. The embarrassment might be too much for her and I might never see her again. Damn.
When I set off this morning to fetch her, I had thought of this being a hot date; this is not what I had in mind.
The Artist returns and gives me the sweetest smile. Her hair seems fine, amazingly no trace of damage. There’s just an awful smell in the air, like that of grilled excrement but we try to ignore it as we resume our conversation. To my surprise she has regained her composure and continues like nothing has happened.
I was expecting the worst, but she is obviously intent on still being with me. I know for sure now that she wants me. Any other woman would have wanted to go home, but not The Artist, no she wants to keep going. My sense of relief is followed by a sense of comforting satisfaction. I think I’ve finally found The One.
After another hour of easy conversation I ask her opinion about Californication and she hasn’t even heard of it. I wonder what she’ll make of it? I have so many questions that I crave the answer to and I suspect that she does too.
The meal ends, but we don’t want the night to end. A moonlit stroll around the deserted historied streets of Cambridge seems a good idea – it might rid us of that awful smell from her hair – but after a while it becomes too chilly for her. I need a plan and quickly too otherwise this date will peter out and before I know it we’ll be at the nearby train station. Think, dammit, think!
“I don’t suppose I can tempt you with the first few episodes of Californication back at my place?”
“That might be fun,” she says with a coy smile.
Daniel Bedingfield – If You’re Not The One