Monday, January 28th
Dudes, I thought to myself, the world ain’t a fair place. For a couple of days, there hadn’t been any contact between Sonjs and myself. A very rare and troubling silence. Usually, we would exchange a text or two daily, and we would always call after a couple of days at a stretch. I didn’t know what to say or do…sorry, was all I could much muster and even that might have looked trite. Nobody said anything at home either. I was on my own with all this, didn’t know how or where to start…
I dragged Suks away from Ben one lunchtime at work. Needed to speak to him, bud to bud, as they say.
'Valentine’s is coming up, the perfect opportunity…' he said, grinning.
'Oh, yeah. Shall we go away…?'
'You and me… don’t think that will work,' Suks deadpanned. Ha ha. Comedian. 'What about New York?' he added.
I was still reeling from the Christmas credit card bill. The sum total of my wealth was minus £400 and that was after my pay had slipped into my account and had vanished like Kelly Brook in a bikini at a philosophy convention.
'You gotta make some gesture,' said Suks, charged.
'When was your last relationship?'
'That isn’t relevant,' he shuffled. Didn’t want to embarrass him. I laughed. 'You got to show that you care,' he explained, seriously. 'A lot.'
'What? by spending loads…'
'No, it has to be a grand statement. A declaration of your feelings.'
As the working day was drawing to its close, I looked at flights to Miami. I thought about the UK, Paris, Berlin, all that…I knew she loved the warmth, she’d been to the US a couple of times, had cousins there, always spoke well of it.
Me, I hadn’t ever been. I reckoned, I’d like the ambiance, lolling about in shorts, drinking an ice cold Bud, watching beautiful folks, ducking and diving, not getting shot or running into a new version of Tony Montana in Scarface. My favourite film, though I am careful who I say that to. Cocktails on the beach, fancy sea food, throbbing clubs, sultry nights. Oh yeah, baby, give it to me. Just my kinda place. Sonia would fit in. Big smiley. I looked at the hotel prices. I started to choke. Southend would only be a few degrees less. Sure, the view wouldn’t quite be South Beach.
I was on my way out, when my phone went off…Sonia. I offered my apologies straightaway, so pleased was I to hear from her. We were back and on track, surely. Just a bit of general chit-chat, relaxed me, felt the tension drain away. There was warmth, affection, love and then…she said her parents were keen to meet mine again. I shuddered. It was like that dinner had never happened or she had simply forgiven me, even though none of it had been my fault, contrary to popular belief.
She said it was important to talk about dates…Dates? A possible winter wedding she hinted…I started to feel weak. She asked casually whether we were doing anything for Valentine’s…OMG…I think she’d already envisaged the way ahead, I joined some dots…I needed to propose on Valentine’s Day…Oh, me lordy dordy. I said I had a plan for Valentine’s, top secret and that. Wink, wink. Do something - that was it. I had nothing, some random unrealistic ideas. Back to the internet for me. We agreed to meet in the weekend. I was starting to feel all panicky about Valentine’s Day or VD, as I thought of it. Help me.
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