Magazine article The Spectator

Low Life

Magazine article The Spectator

Low Life

Article excerpt

I made her acquaintance in the ladies' lavatory towards the end of a fantastic birthday bash held in the upstairs room of a north London pub. I was incoherently drunk, and I think she was too, because I can't remember either of us managing anything more than gestures or monosyllables. She was a committed, even violent kisser. And because she seemed keen to wrap me up and take me home straight away, we left without saying our goodbyes. Outside on the pavement a cab with its light on appeared right on cue, and 20 minutes later we were back at her apartment where she shoved me backwards on to a low divan, tore off both of our clothes and sexually assaulted me.

In the morning, after stirring awake, we spoke sensibly, it seemed to me, for the first time. I asked her what her name was, and she said it was too early for conversation. A little later I heard her mutter to herself, ' I can't breathe.' Then I felt her roll off the bed and heard her go to the bathroom and after that the front door open and close. Then I fell asleep again. When I woke next, the light edging the curtain said the day was now well advanced.

I got up and went to the bathroom and noticed that the apartment was a wellequipped, expensive one, and that I was left alone in it. Discarded clothes were strewn all over the floor.

I picked mine out and was wildly elated to find my wallet and phone intact.

I dressed, then pulled on the curtain cord, revealing yet another miraculous October day.

I thought about leaving a note saying it had been a wonderful relationship but it just wasn't working out, but couldn't find any paper. Then I exited the apartment and found my way out of the block with fewer difficulties than I 'd anticipated.

I 'd missed my train back to the West Country, but remembered I had been offered a lift to E xeter, leaving from Parsons Green in west London at three o'clock. So I caught the Tube across the city to Parsons Green, where there was still, as I 'd hoped there'd be, a green.

I bought the papers and a coffee and croissant to go from an incredibly posh Boulangerie artisanale and carried them across to a bench on this green where I gratefully collapsed and read the papers in the sun for three hours until my lift arrived.

Nice place, Parsons Green. Leafy. Solid, brick-built Victorian buildings. …

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