I was very moved to read this story today - Paddington remembered 10 years on.
I remember the shock of it all at the time, being kinda local-ish. And it sent me back to thinking about where my life was, back then.
October 1999. Ten years ago. I'd just started dating a guy I'd known from back home, and we'd both been on our round-the-world journeys, and ended up back in London. Truth is, we were set up by people from the Old Country, and I was kinda like, hey, he was cool when he was fifteen (way cool). And he was (probably, I'm guessing here) thinking, I've just got back to London, and I'm feeling the pain of a big break-up, and I don't know as many people as I used to, and... why not.
Truth is, I don't know what he thought.
The night of the Paddington crash was our second date. He was cool, and took me to Momo in town and we had a fabulous, humous-laden evening (the best kind, as you know I always think).
We saw each other a few times (mostly at the bottom of the Edgware Road, we were very about the humous), and he was nice, if a little post-breakup. Probably, in retrospect, we never really connected, but I think we both might have wanted to, and were prepared to see where it went.
Maybe. I still don't know what he thought.
I took him to a party at my Pilates teacher's house. It was funky and alternative and I ended up talking to the only guy there who was a corporate lawyer.
The Guy, he spent a lot of time with my Pilates teacher's sister. And I mean a lot.
I remember, years before this, I'd had long debates with a just-friends male friend about how much time you should spend with someone you went to a party with (about which we never agreed), but we'd never covered what happens when the guy you brought very obviously takes the phone number of another woman. He may or may not have gone home with her: I don't remember. But I certainly felt like he did.
Anyway, long story short, he's married to her. I can't totally recall what happened, but I think he just didn't phone me anymore, and that way I knew that nothing was happening.
Years later, I saw him at a party. Or maybe it was a gallery opening, or a book launch. He was contrite. Embarassed, even. He may even, at some point, have called me to apologise. Mists of time.
So tonight, I told this story to my husband, and he said, "we shall never mention him again, the way he treated you. But I'm glad it didn't work out for him (the fool)."
This is what I waited for. I just didn't know.