What’s the etiquette in a one-night stand? I’d never had one so was a bit flummoxed the morning after.
The Clown had been thoughtful enough to set his radio alarm clock for me but, once The Today Programme clicked on, I was on my own. He’d reached over, scratched at my back, then rolled away into sleep again.
He obviously wasn’t getting up to make me a coffee or see me off. But should he? What are the rules here? I shrugged to myself, thinking I’ve shamelessly thrown myself at this man so all thought of ‘etiquette’ is long gone.
It was awkward, creeping around in the Clown’s silent flat. I’d prefer to have just unlocked the door and slipped out but I couldn’t find my coat. He’d thrown it somewhere last night. I had to go back into the bedroom and shake the slumbering oaf awake to ask where it was.
He retrieved it and held it open for me, like a gentleman (I remember how he had boasted to the Snow Queen about his ‘old world courtesy’) and saw me to the door. He kissed me and said he’d text me (yeah, right).
Outside, the weather was atrocious. There was terrible rain rushing along the streets and a strong wind which was threatening to lift me up. I had to hold a lamppost as I waited for the green man on Paisley Road. As I crossed the wide street, I felt the wind pushing at me. Twice, as I walked along Govan Road I had to stop and grab onto a fence to stop being shoved in front of a car. I thought this could be bad.
I started making my way across the Squinty Bridge but over the expanse of the Clyde the wind was worse. It was tearing at me and trying to lift me off my feet. I held onto the rails at the side and inched my way along, hand over hand. There was no-one in sight. The river below me was whipped into foam and I thought the only thing tethering me to the earth is my long velvet coat. It was so soaked with rainwater by now it must have weighed a ton.
At the other side of the Squinty Bridge the metal rails ended and I let go to cross the road. As I released my grip the wind shoved me and I fell onto my hands and knees. Then, on all fours, I was dragged along the pavement, towards the road. My only thought was to avoid getting blown in front of a car. I could die here. I managed to grab onto a spindly tree planted in the pavement and I got to my feet. My shoes were gone. Blown into the Clyde.
I started fighting my way up Finnieston Street, barefoot. There was no point turning back as I was only five minutes away from work. Anyway, where would I turn back to? The Clown’s flat? Not likely.
I stopped for breath, my arms wrapped round a lamppost. A security guard from a glassy office block was waving frantically at me, gesturing at me to come in and shelter. I tried to, I really tried, but I couldn’t let go of the lamppost. I’d be pulled into the road. He reached out, grabbed my wrist, and hauled me in.
‘My shoes! I’ve lost my shoes.’
‘I’ll get them, hen. You sit down.’
‘They’re in the Clyde!’
He made me sit down in the reception area and went off to get the first aid kit. First aid? But I’m fine, I’m just a bit shaken. And soaked through. My feet especially were wet, with tramping along the street barefoot. I looked down at my legs and saw they were raked with furious scratches. And the wetness on my feet wasn’t rainwater. I looked down and saw that blood was pooling between my toes.
The guard re-appeared and laid out antiseptic wipes and plasters. He asked if I needed to lie down but I assured him I was fine. I actually felt strangely exhilarated. This had to happen, surely, after my night with the clown. I couldn’t just skip off to the office after a night with him. I would have to cheat death, be mired in blood…how fitting, I thought. I started mopping at my legs whilst the guard brought me a cup of tea and a copy of The Metro.
I couldn’t venture back out into the street, so I phoned The Wee Bear who I knew was starting work early with me. She agreed to come and get me in her car. The guard gave her directions to their underground car park and then he gave me his arm and we limped down to meet her. She also had an old pair of ballerina pumps in the boot, so she was able to give me shoes, too. She drove us to work and we were able to run from the car park to the office, screaming and clinging to one another in the wind.
In the office, one of the women on reception used to be a nurse. She saw me and leapt into action, bundling me into a chair, and starting to properly clean and bandage my legs. I let myself relax into being looked after and the shock finally hit me: that I almost died out on the Squinty Bridge.
‘You’ve hurt your hand as well, pet,’ she says to me.
I look down and see a ring of red toothmarks on my wrist. How do I explain that, no, that was actually caused by an evil Clown biting me? Instead I just say I must have put my hands out to save myself when I fell.
Later, in the bathroom at work, I’m examining my injured legs and securing the bandages when I notice other marks on me. Bites and bruises inflicted by the Clown and his riding crop. I smile. At least I have something to remember him by, though I hardly know which marks to cherish and which to dab with TCP.
Cherish? No, let’s not use romantic language about last night. Not when he was so cold and I was so drunk that at one point I squealed ‘I’ve spilled bed on your gin!’ Oh I cringed when I thought of that. Spilling bed on his gin.
I limped back to my desk in this grim frame of mind. Nothing lovely about last night and he isn’t going to text you. He isn’t, so stop hoping that he is. He feels nothing for you. (I’ve spilled bed on your gin!)
I realised I’d left my ring on his bedside table. Hmm, I thought. Old Julie would have scampered out to the locker room to text him, innocently asking when she could meet him to get it back. But, New Julie doesn’t. There’s no point. He feels nothing for me. He’s a six foot four hulk of vacancy and it’s over now.
I’ve spilledbed on your gin!
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