So I think I left you yesterday with Jo and myself sweaty but done at the finish line on the Downs, and me feeling an odd mix of triumphant at my finishing time and guilty that I'd lost Jo and selfishly not made more of an effort to relocate her.
We were a bit gutted to find that there were no medals for this race (what?? Don't judge me - I'm a novice at this - the finisher's bling is totally what it's all about!), but there were t-shirts and goody bags, and there would have been a free sports massage if I hadn't felt so seriously sweaty and gross. We decided that the best reward was back in my car, where I'd left a cool bag with more Lucozade and a bar of Galaxy each - spoils of victory! :o) These were consumed sat on the grass and stretching once the bikes were all packed away again.
Back at the flat, we cracked open a bottle of champagne once we'd showered off all the ming and dust (seriously - I had a crust of salt on my face because the wind had just blow-dried the sweat there - yuck!), and then headed out for a celebratory lunch in the sun with Pimms. Feeling absolutely shattered after that, we headed back to the flat for an afternoon of on-the-sofa-with-a-film.
And here is where it all started to go wrong. I didn't mention it on here, but a couple of weeks ago I met a guy. He's a friend of a friend, and it all took me a bit by surprise at the time, as I hadn't really twigged we were flirting all evening, until we were kissing. I know: I'm incompetent at distinguishing between general banter and someone actually flirting with me. He's lovely, and we click really pretty well - chatting endlessly and giggling - but it was all pretty doomed from the start, as he was moving to Perth (the one in Australia) in four weeks, and then there was the added complication that I knew my friend had a soft spot for him too.
The next day I found out it was worse than that - she full-blown really likes him, although he doesn't return that (she told him years ago and they were honest about it) and they are still good friends in spite of it. It took me a couple of days to work up to 'fessing up to her that we'd kissed, but I did it, and it turned out she'd guessed as much. It was bit awkward, but I think I won brownie points for being honest, and after a couple of days we were back to normal. The guy didn't live in Bristol anyway, so it was unlikely I'd see him again before he left - no problems.
Until the Sunday of the 10k a couple of weeks ago. That friend that we bumped into in the pub? That was Dan. And we ended up spending those next 2 days together - awesome fun days full of silly adventures and laughing together. Nothing much happened those two days in a romantic sense, but we had a brilliant time and there was still chemistry there (I guess that's what being suddenly sober will do for you). And it was also clear by the end of the 2nd day (given that he was meant to have left on Sunday and was still in Bristol on Tuesday) that my friend was really not amused. He finally went home, life returned to normal, he was leaving in 3 weeks time, and that was that.
It turned out he was back this weekend, for leaving drinks. Quiet drinks at the pub and I was invited - it sounded like just the laid-back evening Jo and I needed after our afternoon R & R - either that or we'd both be asleep by 8pm. Since that entire group of people are so friendly, but I don't know a lot of them that well, we decided to go for a drink or two and see how it went. We joined the group and just chatted to folks. We weren't sat at Dan's end of the table initially, as we were happily gabbing away with other folks, but he came up to see us after a bit. Which I suspect is about the time my friend turned up, when he'd squeezed onto the bench next to me. Ok, so maybe that didn't look so good, but I'm hardly going to avoid him at his own leaving drinks. The gins went down a little too easily after 2 hours of hard exercise in the morning, lunchtime drinking and no dinner, and soon enough everyone moved inside from the terrace - again I sat with my friend and Jo and didn't make any effort to crowd Dan - I spent most of the evening up to that point chatting to other people in fact. My friend was quiet but seemed fine.
At chucking out time, it was kind of inevitable that the crowd would want to go on out dancing. Jo's hip was sore from earlier and she was tired, but she told me quite plainly that she was happy to head back to the flat and crash if I wanted to go out and, in my cheerfully inebriated state, dancing appealed so I walked Jo home, made sure she had everything and agreed a time for breakfast in the morning, before heading out again to catch the others up.
Clue number one that something was wrong - when I got to the club my friend said "what are you doing here?". Not the normal response to seeing a close friend who's come back out. I realised that for some reason she wasn't glad to see me, and since she was dancing with yet another group of her friends who they'd bumped into, I retreated to the rest of the guys at the bar. Which in retrospect may have been a mistake. I was in Happy Drunk mode, which entails lots of silly dancing and generally being friendly and confident, even with people I don't know that well. Again, though, I didn't pester Dan, I stayed clear and let him come to me - I actually spent most of the evening with other people, partly mopping up a side-drama between a recently broken up couple who were out together for the first time since the split. At some point, I noticed my friend chatting to Dan at lenght, and then she left without saying goodbye to me. And still in HD mode, I glossed over it and kept dancing.
At the end of the night, Dan and I were the last ones left, and only after everyone else had gone did we kiss and head on for a late night drink elsewhere. But the thing is, it didn't go any further than that - he's leaving in a week, and besides Jo was waiting at home - two very good reasons for him to just walk me part-way home, and for us to say a slightly (drunk) emotional goodbye and go home. No looking back (well, maybe I looked back once, but then no looking back).
I honestly felt pretty sad, as I didn't think it was possible to feel you know someone so well after only a couple of days spent together, and I guess I'd felt pretty strong chemistry, but we'd been wary from the start knowing it couldn't go anywhere.
You can therefore imagine what a slap in the face it felt on Sunday morning (after about 5 hours sleep and still feeling considerably drunk and now miserable), to get a text from my friend cancelling our day's plans because of me "turning up to sleep with Dan" the night before. I was pretty gob-smacked. If she'd irrationally thought that whilst she was drunk the night before (as we all were), I could have understood her confronting me about it, but this was 11am the morning after.
It made me feel like I'd forced my company on the group, when I was invited, and also surprised that she had a low enough opinion of me to think that I'd abandon my guest, Jo, completely in favour of a quick shag. Wow.
After sending a carefully considered reply apologising that I'd upset her but explaining the situation correctly, I have to admit that I retreated for the day. I didn't want to talk to anyone, and I didn't want to think, so I spent all day curled up on the sofa in my PJ's watching trashy tv for distraction.
What really surprised me about the whole episode was my own response. I didn't fill the upset with food. I checked out for the day and found something else to distract me. Food provides temporary comfort, but doesn't stop you thinking about what you're feeling. The tv at least is total distraction, and can provide other emotions to cover the ones you're trying to avoid. I felt pretty proud of myself for taking a more considered approach to dealing with my emotions. I gave myself official permission to wallow for the day - to cosset myself and not do anything else, and although I did have a piece of cheesecake it was proper dessert after lunch, and I also ate fruit, veg, lean meat and plain carbs. Very little junk.
Once I started feeling a little more sane towards the evening, I went one step further. It's easier to feel good about yourself if you spoil yourself, so I took the time to re-colour my hair and make sure I had nice clothes clean for today.
Today I feel far better, although the scales are registering all that alcohol from Saturday. I'm more frustrated than anything, that a guy has come between my friend and I, and that this whole thing has happened. I think there's a little blame on both sides. I willfully misread the signs, I guess, and allowed the alcohol to blur my judgment that I was walking straight into a minefield, and I think on the other side my friend has over-reacted a bit. Just got to hope it all blows over now.
At least, this time, Dan's leaving sometime this week, and I won't be seeing him again. Story end.
Men: coming between good friends since history began.