And so it was I set about forgetting about him. Turns out after years of practice it was becoming easier and easier for me to get over a man who had let me down. After my anger subsided and after I had angrily deleted our Tinder conversations and whatsapp messages from my phone (annoyingly not knowing they would have come in very useful when writing this blog… ffs) I did what any modern day woman does in this day and age and swore off men for life. That was it I decided. They were all mad in the head and I was done trying to figure out what went on inside their pathetic little heads. Of course this stage in my process lasted for a few weeks until I got bored and decided to cautiously get back onto Tinder. A number of dates ensured most notable Leprechaun Man and The Body Builder, none of whom cut the mustard. (More about them later).
Almost six months had past and I had all but forgotten about him. Well almost, I still did think about him often. Especially when in the midst of mind numbingly boring Tinder conversations with losers who wouldn’t know wit if it bit them in the ass. To this day I have yet to have as engaging or exciting initial conversations as I did with him. And it has to be said he was great in the sack, so there was that too. But mostly I barely thought about him. I had left my job in Westminster and had moved to a job just off Tottenham Court Road, my evenings were filled with lively after work drinks and banter with a great crew of colleagues and I was enjoying just being free and single.
One particular weekend I was meeting one of my best mates for early dinner and drinks. She and I had been friends since we were 13 and while she had been living in London for almost 10 years longer than me we didn’t get to see each other as often as I would have liked so meeting her for catch ups came with great excitement. She was ridiculously intelligent and had a PHD in Cryptography and so it was she had lots of equally intelligent friends who she had gone to university with in a prestigious Hogwarts like uni. She and I arranged to meet in Bermondsey and when I texted her from the station she text me back to say that she had bumped into an old uni friend of hers and told me what pub they were in. Low and behold it was the same pub my ex had broken up with me in and the one me and ‘the spy’ had ended that first date in. Great, double whammy of woebetideness I thought mournfully. Anyway I get to the bar and there sits my friend with her curly haired companion. Amidst lots of hugging and kissing, introductions and pouring of wine, I discovered that this friend of hers also had a PHD in Crypto and was wicked smart.
“So” I said getting to know him “do you work in banking too?”
“Oh no” my friend E said sipping on her wine, “he works for the “Home Office”” she inferred making dramatic air quotes with her fingers.
Her uni friend shot her a warning look.
“Oh come on Ari’s my friend she won’t say anything” she said plaumausing him.
To say I was intrigued was an understatement.
“Seriously, I told you before about this, you can’t go around telling everyone” he said from the corner of his mouth
“I know, I know, sorry sorry” she said before leaning back and mouthing to me “He works for MI5”
At this he just sighed and let his shoulders fall in defeat before sagely nodding his head in agreement at her revelation.
Oooooh how interesting, I thought
“OOoh that’s interesting” I said “But it’s cool I won’t say a word”
“Ah look its fine, I only work on the IT side of things so it’s not really that exciting anyway” he assured me, although maybe that’s what he gets trained to say, who knows.
“I’ve only been working there 8 months so it’s all fairly new” he continued.
“Deadly, fair play to you, I’d say it’s fairly hard to get a job there, must be lots of hoop jumping” I enquired
“Oh yeah there is, took me months to get in, and I’m delighted I’m in now but it can be hard sometimes not being able to talk about what you do every day truthfully, especially with girlfriends and stuff” he mused.
“Yeah I’d imagine” I said. “Now tell me, and excuse my ignorance but whats the difference between MI5 and MI6?” I asked
“Ah well MI5 is Home security and MI6 is Foreign Office stuff” he informed me.
“Ah I see” I said “I used to date a guy who worked in the Foreign Office”
“Oh yeaahhhh” E gushed ” Didn’t you come here on your first date”
“Sure did” I said looking glumly over at where we had sat sipping on our espresso martinis
“Aww did it not work out” my new spy friend enquired.
“Sadly not no”
“Oh my god tell him about what happened” said E as she topped up our wine glasses
“Well” says I launching into part 1-5 of these blog posts. Amongst all the datey stuff I told him about how I could only contact him at certain times of the day, how I had never been to his place, how he wouldn’t be friends with me on FB, how he ran out of the house urgently one morning, how he never really discussed his job with me that much and often said how he couldn’t talk about it, which was ridiculous” I said ” Cause he was only a bloody civil servant”
When I was finished my monologue my two friends were looking at me agog. Then they looked at one another and back at me before MI5 guy leans back in his chair and said
“You do realise that guy is MI6 right?”
“Ha, oh no he isn’t” I said laughing him and his ridiculous suggestion off
“No seriously, he is, no doubt in my mind. Everything you just told me there screams MI6”
“Yeah I agree” says E, “Totally makes sense now”
“How did he break up with you” ask MI5 guy
“Well I went home to Ireland for the weekend and…”
Before I could finish my sentence MI5 guy clapped his hands and said
“Oh well there you have it, you’re Irish, of course, you might have some IRA stuff going on in your extended family that you just don’t know about, he probably wasn’t allowed to see you anymore”
“Excuse me I do not” I said defensively
“Well you never know” E said
“Oh come on that’s ridiculous there’s now way” I protested
Despite my protests we ordered another bottle of wine and dissected every facet of our failed and short lived relationship before moving on to all sorts of other delicious topics of discussion. But by the end of the night and several bottles of wine I had fully allowed myself to be convinced that I had in fact gone out with James Bond himself. Why wouldn’t I, sure it all made so much sense now that I could see it all so clearly aka blearily.
I mean convincing myself that the reason he dumped me was because he was a spy about to be sent off on a secret mission was far more comforting a notion than he simply just didn’t want to be with me anymore. Suddenly I was a goddess, imagining myself in Ursula Andress’s bikini sauntering out of the water. By the time I got home I had all but changed my name to Miss Moneypenny by deed poll. Delighted I was with this turn up for the books. My very own 007, who’d have thunk it, I thought dreamily as I snuggled into bed.
My hangover the next morning did little to assuage my fantasy. It was a comforting thought and allowed me to convince myself that maybe, just maybe not all men were assholes.
I’m very much a believer of right person, wrong time when relationships fail and I had decided to allow myself to believe this to be the case with the added adage that he was a spy working at her majesty’s pleasure. Of course deep down I knew it was ridiculous and that in all likelihood he was in fact just a civil servant, but still the a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do.
About a week later I was out with an old work colleague of mine who I hadn’t seen in months, she and I met in my local, The Old Dairy and once we had caught up on all our gossip and decimated our old work colleagues she moved the conversation on to my non-existent love life. She was happily married with a little boy and loved to hear about my sordid dating calamities.
“Oh my god I forgot to tell you about my spy” I exclaimed gripping onto my G&T
I proceeded to tell her what I have just told all of you. She lapped up every word and got more excited the more I talked.
“Oh.My.God” she said slowly “You have GOT to contact him” she said gripping my arm.
“Whatttt?? No bloody way” I replied as though she were mad
“Oh my god you HAVE to, he was obviously mad about you and then suddenly things just stopped like that, it totally make sense that he was ordered not to see you anymore, I’m sure he would be delighted to hear from you” she promised.
“Er I dunno, look in all likelihood he is a pencil pusher who was just not that into me, I can’t go contacting him now six months later out of the blue, what would I even say?” I asked
“Well look at the very least you could get a ride out of it” she cackled making me erupt into fits of laughter. I had been going through an Ethiopian’esque drought on that front so it did seem like an appealing option. An idea which became all the more plausible as the night wore on and our drinks kept flowing.
Just before midnight I scurried to the toilet taking my phone with me and texted him
“Hey stranger, hope all is well, Ari here, just wondered if you were out tonight”
Mortifyingly he didn’t reply, despite my friend and I checking my phone every 5 minutes for the rest of the night my phone didn’t ping once.
The next morning on my way to work my phone buzzed with a message from him….
“Hey, how are ya? Sorry I was asleep last night when you messaged, how you doing”
I think my face physically flushed red. I had all but forgotten texting him the night before. Oh my god mortification, but I had to reply.
“Hey, I’m good thanks, sorry for the late night text, just wanted to see how you were”
“No worries, I’m glad you text me, we should meet up for a drink sometime soon” he said
Eeeekk my heart did a little fluttery thing.
“Um yeah sure, just let me know when suits” I said. Now that I thought he was an actual spy it made the whole thing all the more exciting.
A week or so passed and I hadn’t heard any more from him. Out with the girls from work one night, ensconced in our Thursday night wine club they encouraged me/forced me to text him.
“No way, I’m not, I can’t” I said trying to keep some shred of dignity but one of the girls wrestled my phone out of my hand and sent him a message
“Hey, so when we meeting up for those drinks” it read
To my delight he messaged back a few minutes later, “When do you fancy?”
Again my friends took my phone and said “Now?”
He sent back a smiley face and said “Sorry, would love to but I’m down in Kent at the minute, we’ll try and arrange something for the weekend”
I was having a quiet weekend and by Saturday with no sign from him I decided to have myself an early night and went to bed at about 11pm. At 2am I was awoken by my phone with a message from him on the screen.
“Now?” was all it said.
Cheeky bugger. Who did he think he was booty calling me at this time of night but despite myself I had a smile on my face. This was kinda fun I thought.
I didn’t reply to his message until the following Friday at 1am after a fun night out with my mate L in Angel.
“Now?” came my reply. Two can play at this game I thought
“Ha sorry babe, I can’t now, much as I’d love to” came his response about 20 minutes later.
I comforted my bruised ego with the idea that he was probably up a tree in Uzbekistan with some binoculars before carrying on my night.
Needless to say our little game of cat and mouse ensued for about 2 months. We would each at varying different days and times just send each other one word messages.
It was weirdly cute and comforting. Like we were sending little bat signals to one another on nights out to let each other know we were thinking about the other.
I knew it was not a ‘meaningful loving relationship’ in the making but it was fun and I enjoyed the thrill of the possibility that those simple one word messages brought on an otherwise mundane evening in.
It also added to my Spy fantasy no end. It was like a code word we had, all clandestine and secretive, like forbidden lovers. I know, I know seriously my imagination often gets the better of me, I’m working on it :).
About three months in I had all but given up on the notion that we would ever meet. Until one night I was out on a team night with my work crew. We were celebrating hitting our targets quarter on quarter and went out for a meal followed by karaoke. It was one of those tequila swilling, shots, shots, shots nights where everyone gets drunk and messy. The ones where you start the night bitching about everyone and everything but by the end of the night you have your arms around everyone telling them how much you love them.
“Oh Ari, you’re so funny and lovely and pretty” my colleague slurred “how come you don’t have a boyfriend”
“I dunno” I slurred back “I’m practically a virgin again” I bawled
“Oh my god, that’s awful” says she, who has a gorgeous boyfriend “I had sex this morning” she said with one eye open.
“Good for you” I sighed
“What about that Spy guy” she asked “Have you met up with him again yet”
“Nooooooo, it’s driving me mad” I drawled, drunk as drunk could be
“Text him now” she said before turning to the table at large “Shouldn’t she text him” she asked everyone who proceeded to eagerly nod their heads before chanting “Text him, text him, text him” while banging their fists on the table.
So I did … “Now?”
And miracle upon miracles he texted back straight away and said
“Yeah actually, now is good”
I nearly fainted
“What really” I replied
“Yeah I’m just home from a night out, would actually love to see you”
“So you’re at home?” I double checked
“Yeah, just in the door, do you wanna get an Uber over to me” he said texting me his address in the process
I turned to my colleague and blinked a few times before telling her he had replied and the game was up and I needed an Uber !!
“Hurrah” she trilled.
The next thing I knew all the girls frog marched me to the loo and started doing things to my hair and face. They threw blusher on me, and fixed my eyeliner, and glossed my lips and spritzed me with about five different types of perfume.
Before I even had time to think I was ensconced in an Uber and was half way to south London.
Shit was about to get real. Me and Bond would be reunited in a night of passion. Boom.
When I got to his place he greeted me at the door in a dressing gown and bottle of wine with two glasses. He was fairly drunk but defo not as drunk as me although I was putting on a good show of sobriety.
He kissed me and said how good it was to see me before ushering me upstairs to his room.
Realising this was my first time in his abode, his room perfectly fitting in with my spy theory. It was so plain. No pictures, no posters on the walls, not even so much as a bottle of deodorant on the nightstand. He probably didn’t even really live here, I thought in my drunken haze.
I had decided to adopt a brazen, ice cold demeanour, like Samantha Jones eat your heart type attitude. He may be a spy but he did rather unceremoniously dump me and I wanted him under no illusions that this was just sex. Unfinished business as it were.
The next thing I knew we were all over each other, clothes flying everywhere before falling into bed for what can only be described as awful, drunken, messy and completely unsatisfactory shenanigans. My heart just wasn’t in it and almost straight away I regretted getting in that poxy uber. My fantasy far outweighed the reality and as soon as we were through I just wanted out of there. He tried to cuddle me and pull me close to him for some affectionate spooning but my tequila induced stupor suddenly hit me even more and I just wanted to be in my own bed so I wriggled out of his embrace. I threw back the covers and padded to his bathroom where I proceeded to hail an Uber for myself. A 5 min notification popped up. Perfect.
I went back into his room. Hoping he was sleeping I softly started to collect my clothes. He turned on the light and half sat up in alarm
“What are you doing?” he said anxiously
“I’m leaving” I said
“Work in the morning, and because I just don’t want to stay here” I replied pulling my dress over my head.
He looked at me forlornly and said “You don’t have to go you know, you can stay”
But I just thought, no, fuck him, I got what I wanted (kinda) I’m outta here
He didn’t say anything else as I continued getting dressed. He just looked at me with an expression of one who had just been punched in the stomach.
When my phone buzzed announcing the arrival of my taxi he made to get out of bed.
“No no stay where you are” I said putting my hand up in protest
“I’ll walk you out” he said
“No really, there’s no need” I said stopping him in his tracks “Oh and another thing..”
Drunkenly swaying in his door frame I looked him straight in the face and loudly said
“Don’t worry, I know about the Spy stuff”
“huh?” he said “what do you mea…” he attempted to say but I silenced him with my finger
“Sssshhhhh” I said “Don’t say another word, I know” I said winking at him “I know”
and with that I turned on my heel and marched out the door leaving a very dismayed looking civil servant lying in bed clutching the bed clothes.
The next morning I woke up, before I even opened my eyes I was hit with an almighty pain in my head … “OOwwwwwww ” I thought eyes still closed. “Why do I feel this way” my brain fuzzily asked itself. As though playing a movie in fast forward my brain began to filter images through to itself to remind me why I was in pain “Work, restaurant, karaoke bar, Jerusalem late night bar” Ohhhh yeah I remember now my brain said. But wait there was something else, something else happened, no no, that was it, my brain assured itself before the other side if it said .. no no there was definitely something else….and just then my eyes flashed open. Wide eyed and crazed, my brain, this time in excruciatingly slow motion played back for me the scenes that ensued during my late night rendezvous.
“Oh holy mother of sweet divine Jesus” I moaned as it all came pouring back to me.
And then, the hammer blow, the “don’t worry, I know about the spy stuff” memory came flooding back in technicolor 3D glory.
“Noooooooooooooooooooo” I screamed pulling the duvet over my head in mortification.
That’s it. I thought. I’m never dating again!