The Gintlemen, Adrian: Heartbreak

Adrian continues his look back at his love life… 

Paid ten pence and I only farted…..that’s what the reworked song at school said anyway, how I wished flatulence played a part in the reality, I remember the day,the time, the words…

We had been loves young dream, she was a shy introvert, me the clown. When I first heard she liked me I thought to myself I was the luckiest man alive. With her phone number scrawled on a piece of paper I sat by the house phone and spun the dial more times than I care to remember, before a meek voice at the other end answered.

We arranged a date! An actual date! Obviously the first choice of venue was a loud nightclub, so we met at 9 beneath the Ricoh clock, and after a muffled first few minutes silence got into the club and headed to the bar. It was one of the most awkward nights of my life, but I was there with a real human being. She spoke so few words I feared her vocabulary was “whiskey and dry soda please”. That would have proven problematic in many situations, but she was upright, breathing and seemed interested as I babbled on. As was the rule in nightclub club you didn’t dance, you sat and nodded, maybe tapped a toe and then the lights came on, New York New York played and you were asked to leave. So at 2am with my dad as chauffeur we dropped of my new girlfriend, sealed the deal with a kiss, and that I thought was particularly smashing.

We became inseparable, so much so that you don’t notice the cracks. We even ended up working for the same company. I’d been there for nearly 18 months and part of the family. She was a lot more grown up than the timid trainee hairdresser I first met, and now she was there every day. We got engaged, thought about children. We were pretty much living together, when on October the 8th 1988, at 5:27 pm, after a day spent with two workmates watching their beloved Sunderland play at Walsall (they batter their chips in Walsall), I arrived at the home of my true love to be greeted with… All my stuff in a bin bag. Well I say all my stuff – it was the huge teddy I had brought her in one bag. The rest her mum said was boxed up ready to be collected when I could, but not while my now ex was there, it had to be when she wasn’t as she didn’t want to see me. My mind thought well works going to fun, so stunned I got my motorbike, helmet on, bear strapped to the back and started riding away.

That’s when it hit me, how I imagine having your heart ripped out with a rusty boat hook, then dangled in-front of you. My eyes started streaming. I tried to convince myself it was the wind through the visor. It wasn’t. I pulled over and went back over the words “it’s not what she wants anymore, she’s sorry but…” But what?

If she could have seen me by the time I got home she would feel guilty. At one point I feared my helmet was filling up with so many tears I would be the first motorcyclists drown on dry land. Not even a hug from mum could make it better.

I foolishly headed to the pub where gleefully my mates held whip arounds to get the saddest songs on the jukebox. Bloody video jukebox too! I swear if I hear Bobby McFerrin tell me to be happy one more time…… Ooh, ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh ooh oo-ooh be happy…




Sunday morning was spent deciding that at 20 I was unlovable, that my life was over, nobody could ever replace her… blah blah blah. Monday was the hardest, walking through the factory doors, she didn’t even glance at me.

Look at what you have done to me my reddy eyed face wanted to scream, instead I got on with the day, found a new routine to keep me going, mope, cry, mope, wail , mope wail cry. I hadn’t slept in a week.

She left work after a week, couldn’t stand how I was making her feel. How I was making her feel? Really – oh bum, I was making her feel bad because I was feeling bad because she had left me and I was feeling bad… How could I?

It soon got worse, 23 days and 4 hours after my unceremonious dumping, she got herself a new boyfriend, he and she were the talk of the town, and the constant questions of asking why she was going out with him and not me were draining.

As Enya sang “Sail Away” I wished I could, but feared that Mr McFerrin would track me down and make me suffer, no matter how far across the planet Orinoco flowed me. It was winter, it was cold, I was cold, her new man worked at the factory I worked at, so as a plus point I didn’t have to see her face every day, but I did have to see his. In my mind I Karate chopped him, and Tarzan swung her back into my life, in reality I shrunk into myself.

I knew there had to be a way to win her back, I just didn’t realise at the time I shouldn’t have bothered.


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