October 12th, 1989
Stephen’s flat, Brighton, East Sussex
Big surprise this morning when Ben rang!
I’d arranged to come and see Stephen tonight, but I was such a weird mood after my chat with Ben that I was tempted to ring Stephen and say I couldn’t make it. All I wanted to do was hibernate with my pen and paper but instead, I got in the car.
Parking in Brighton is a nightmare and I definitely wasn’t in the mood for faffing about so I drove as far as Gatwick airport (two and a half hours) then caught the train. On reflection, it was probably not the best idea to take the train because it only allowed me time to think and of course my mind kept wandering to Ben.
During our hour-long chat, he said he really wants us to make a go of being together again. A couple of months ago, I would’ve been ecstatic to hear him say such a thing but now I don’t know how I feel. Yes, I really do want to see him but no, I really don’t want to go down that road again, where our relationship feels destructive and hurtful and stuff from the past gets in the way. I know the past is dead and gone but it still manages to creep its way into my thoughts sometimes. If I can’t get rid of those thoughts then I fear they’ll rear their ugly head (s) when I see him. Just thinking about Ben being in the same country again is enough to confuse me!
When the train pulled into Brighton station, I took a deep breath and hoped that when I saw Stephen, my mood would lift. He was waiting on the platform and waved when he spotted me walking through the compartment towards the door.
“Hello gorgeous,” he said, giving me a hug.
I stood on my tiptoes to kiss his cheek. “You’re looking well.”
“Glamour never takes a day off, darling.”
“Obviously not,” I said, mimicking his tone.
Stephen put his hand on my arm, took a step back and looked at my feet.
“What are you doing?” I asked.
“Seeing what kind of footwear you’re in.”
“It’s such a nice night. I thought we might walk back to the flat.”
“Great idea,” I sighed. “I could really do with a nice walk.”
“Hmmm, clear the cobwebs and all that?”
“Is it that obvious?” I asked.
“It wasn’t, until I saw those ugly shoes you’re wearing.”
I swiped his arm and tried to keep a straight face. “You. Are. Absolutely. Vile.”
He smiled. “Anything you want to talk about?”
“It’s just stuff, you know?”
“Boy stuff?” he asked.
“Pretty much, yeah.”
“Nothing a few bevvies at the Frock and Jacket won’t solve.”
I linked my arm through his. “Lead the way.”