Wednesday, January 26, 2005

The one that got away or "We'll Always have London"

Sometimes obsessions are good things, other times they just nag and nag at you until you do something stupid. This post is about something stupid I did because of an obsession.

Because I was planning marrying an Englishman, I did my student teaching in London. I planned on spending Christmas in Yorkshire with my fiance before heading down to London in January. Things had happened the autumn before I left for England and my fiance and I broke up just before Christmas leaving me a free agent for my three months in London. I was young and unattached for the first time in four years.

I met T one of the first nights at Southlands College in London. He was from the States as well. Actually he was from the town where my university was located (his father was a minister at a local church there). He attended a different University however. I remember thinking that T looked like one of the cooks at the restaurant where I worked and who I had kind of dated the month before. (Yes, I know I was engaged at the time - I said things happened!).

Anyway, back to T. T was the one all the girls wanted, both British and American. He was funny and cute and smart. His best friend was George and George liked my friend, Candy. We would eat dinner together in the food hall and then all have tea in someone's room. I must have discussed liking T with Candy at some point because one evening we went back to George and T's dorm after being out at a pub in London. We all ended up in T's room (no one shared rooms at this university) and suddenly Candy and George were gone. I went to follow them and they told me to go back to T's room because they wanted to be alone. I was upset, thinking that our fun evening was over, but then T said, "Come here" and kissed me. I was pretty surprised because I had never expected to "get the guy" that everyone wanted. After that, T and I spent a lot of time together.

One night we had tickets to see the London Symphony (or was it the Royal Symphony?) at the Royal Albert Hall. That afternoon, Marnie, one of the other American girls at Southlands asked me if I wanted to go with her to see Cheap Trick. Her cousin was the drummer and she had backstage passes and an invitation to an after the show party. I declined since I was going to the symphony with T. (yes I have kicked myself several times for not going with Marnie instead). T and I showed up late for the symphony and ended up going to a pub called "The Sherlock Holmes" . We had a good time that night.

Another night I remember was the "Fancy Dress Three-legged Pub Crawl" for charity. I don't remember what charity we got drunk for, but it was a memorable night. We got pledges from others to pay for each shot or pint we drank in each of several pubs. We dressed up in costume and were tied to a partner by one of our legs. T and I dressed up as Ugly Americans and came in last. (Did I mention it was also a race?).

T, Dona and Bob (aka the jolly green giant) during the 3-legged Fancy dress pub crawl.

I mostly remember getting drunk a lot and having the time of my life those three months in London. During that time, I fully expected that T and I would continue to date once he went back to the states. One night, not long before I was to leave he pretty much told me that was not going to be the case, that what we had in London was great, but that once we were back in the US we would not date. We might see each other again, but not as a couple.

I left in March of 1979 and we wrote back and forth once or twice. He ended up staying an extra year and once there was talk of a reunion. It may have happened. I don't know, but I was not there.

After all these years you'd think I'd get over it. I'm married and have great children and a happy life. I think what bothers me most is that I wasn't good enough for him.