You’ve got it at your fingertips.

You’d do anything for the people in your life that you care about, wouldn’t you? No cry for help or question goes unanswered if a call comes, when you’re needed, you’re there. An email, a text, maybe a visit needs to happen. Shit, sometimes, your presence isn’t necessarily wanted or expected, but when you know something is wrong, you get there, you help in any way you can. Sometimes a cuddle is needed, sometimes harsh words need to be said, albeit in a caring way, sometimes just being around when that someone finally realised that when they need someone to pour their heart out to will help, even if they don’t realise it in that initial moment. We all have two ears and one mouth, sometimes it’s much better to listen than speak, especially if it’s someone who tugs at your heartstrings because they’re struggling and they need you, or they need someone.

We all need someone now and again, especially when you can’t tell that you’re bigger than the sea that you’re sinking in.

A visit becomes a little tougher when they’re over 8000km away, although an offer is made, yet politely gets declined. Calls happen though, texts are exchanged, thank goodness for FaceTime. That said, it’s never easy to watch a friend struggle, to see them cry, to be able to witness their fragility. It doesn’t take too long to catch on to the things that she’s trying to say without her being able to articulate the words. What advice can you give from so far away without everything that leaves your mouth sounding like a cliche? ‘It’ll all get better in time, there are plenty more fish in the sea, you were better than him anyway.’ How easy it is for those words to sound hollow? Finally something I say makes sense, ‘How about heading away for a few days somewhere, have a change of scenery and try and collect your thoughts?’ A couple of days pass and I don’t hear from her, but you give the people in your life what they need, even if that’s a little bit of space. You can try and help all you want to but sometimes, they need to get to a place on their own when they begin to think that they’ll be okay.

A call comes and she’s at the airport. Not her airport, my airport, can I go and get her? I can’t, but she knows where I live and she knows that my neighbour has a spare set of keys so she heads there. Work is finally done, I get back to my place and she’s already there, is already in pyjamas and has managed to demolish a large part of a bottle of bourbon. Usually this would be a great night together, music on, maybe a film and just hanging out. Given everything that’s happened though, letting her finish the bottle would be a bad idea. We sit, we talk, she cries, we hug and awful television is watched.

She falls asleep so I take the chance to make up the spare room, who doesn’t like fresh bedding, although by this point, I doubt she’d even notice. I pick her up, lay her gently into bed and pull the covers over her. I head for the kitchen, grab a couple of bottles of water from the fridge and stick one on each side of her on the bedside tables. The lights get turned out in her room and I watch the rest of the shitty TV show and make sure that there will be no bourbon left by morning.

It’s been a long day emotionally so it’s time for bed. I climb in and as soon as my head hits the pillow, sleep isn’t far behind me. I’ve no idea how long it is, but I feel something, turn over in and there she is next to me with her hands on me, trying to kiss me. A few years ago, absolutely. Right now? Zero chance. We have a difficult conversation, mostly because she’s still drunk but I lead her back to the spare room and put her to bed. Again.

Her actions are understandable, maybe we’ve all been there. Perhaps nothing numbs the sting of a breakup quite like a rebound fling or relationship. Toxic for some people, but maybe beneficial for others. Maybe sometimes it could grow into something amazing, but this isn’t one of those times. Don’t you both need to be on the same page about whatever the fuck this is? No point in dragging someone else into your emotional horror show while letting them believe that there’s a chance that your new relationship could be something real. Sure, it’s easy to assume that once they’ve finally healed from their breakup, they’ll look to you as the knight in shining armour who swept into their life at just the right time to make it all better, but how is that a basis for something new?

Fuck, it’s more than okay to hurt, but maybe if you’re hurting, you should try and heal, rather than move onto someone else straight away. A rebound will never the best idea you’ve ever had, everything should happen with dignity and especially when you’re sober. Take time to heal before committing to someone new, right?

No one wants to be the first person to be picked out of a lineup of a potential new partner.

It’s not going to be fun if I start to get feelings for her in a different way, there’s no way that it’ll happen though, and make her hope that things will be anything different, anything more than just a friendship. Once upon a time, maybe, but she chose someone else and that’s okay, but no one should want to be a rebound, I certainly don’t. Hopefully the morning comes, she remembers and apologises, or forgets completely. It’s okay to be alone and wait for the right girl but what’s the point in ever allowing your own loneliness to drive you into the arms of someone that you know that you don’t belong with?

It’s not difficult to get over the possibility of a relationship that I wasn’t even in, but it doesn’t mean that my heart doesn’t hurt for her.

The morning comes, I’m awake first and breakfast is made, complete with a shit ton of coffee. She wakes, comes through, looks at me, hugs, says sorry and that’s enough. Saying sorry is always enough. She’ll be okay in time, cliche again, but she’ll always have a friend who has her back.

She stays for a few more days and we do things that friends do. It’s okay to put your arm around someone when they’re hurting, long walks are cathartic. She’s still hurting but K, I know that you’ll be okay.

I know you think your fire is burning out but I still see you shining through, you’ve got it in you.

@TheSamMcLeod

All the feelings and the day they stopped.

Innocence is defined as freedom from blame, freedom from guilt, harmlessness, innocuousness, inoffensiveness, irreproachability, lack of malice, purity. Aren’t they some of the qualities that we all have in one way or another?

There’s always a lot of guesswork involved in who and what you let into your life. We all take chances every day, some come off, some don’t, that’s just the way it is. It hurts when you get it wrong though, you’ve trusted your innocence in believing what you think you know or what someone tells you, it’s just part of trying to be as good a person as you can be.

It’s never good though if a day comes when you stop believing in your personal fairytales, and you realise that there’s no point in holding onto hopes that won’t take you anywhere. You understand that you’re not the only person out there who has things to deal with every day, things to think about, decisions to make. There are plenty of people in the world who have gone through and are going through things that you’ll never understand. No one’s fault, just innocence rearing it’s head again, right? Some people you meet will bring you down and make you feel bad but, there’s no point in holding it against them, aren’t we’re all inexperienced at life in general, no matter what we might think?

It sucks when that innocence makes you spectacularly wrong though about someone or something and your feelings get hurt.

One day, you’ll stand up on your own.

Sometimes what you think you’re looking for comes when you’re not looking at all, and sometimes you don’t know shit about shit.

We know each other but nothing has ever happened, we’re just friends. Hugs, but no kisses, nothing else at all, other than random texts and emails. She’s super cute, If she could turn my head, I’m not the only boy who’d end up with whiplash, but that’s not enough, don’t we all need someone to stretch us on an intellectual level too? She’s nothing more than a one time passing thought, but she’s a friend, so there are feelings there but they’re innocent.

A message arrives on WhatsApp with an invite to her birthday party. There’s a bunch of other people copied in that’ll be amazing to catch up with, it’s a yes. The night comes, presents are given, drinks are poured and the music is on. Everyone gets to pick a song from iTunes and we’re all on rotation, the music will be eclectic, no one knows what’s coming next, it’s never a bad thing to discover new bands and songs. Let’s see what the opinion is in the room about some Canadian rock.

The birthday girl comes over after a while, glasses are clinked and we speak for a while. A lot of the chat is about music, about who the band is that are currently playing, what sort of musicians each of us are into. Let’s be honest, everyone likes talking about themselves and what they like so it’s not a difficult conversation to have. She heads off to mingle and it’s good to get some boy chat instead, football, girls, the usual nonsense that boys talk about.

As with every party ever, people begin to drift off as the night stretches on. She comes back over and she’s clearly drunk, it’s her birthday so that’s her prerogative. We talk again and a kiss is attempted, easily the worst idea she’s had tonight. Turns out that saying no to a girl is easier than you think as a boy, especially is there’s another girl out there that you’re thinking about instead. We’re at a junction, turn left or turn right? Turning wrong isn’t an option, but there’s no decision to make. Maybe a wise man never counts all the way to three, but there’s no point trying to second guess it, no hesitation, definitely no overthinking. It seems that I never read her right and it’s like I’ve knocked over the first domino of the end of our friendship by saying no. Reverse isn’t a gear I’m familiar with but something doesn’t feel right. You always need to get over someone first before you can get under someone else, it’s not fair otherwise.

She’s going through me like shit through a goose, tonight needs to be about putting out a fire before heading home, but she’s not accepting any of it. Can’t anyone of us speaking to someone for an hour just be someone being nice, especially if the conversation is strictly innocent? Boys and girls can be just friends, but telling her to be strong enough to let go about tonight and be wise enough to wait for someone she deserves is not a good idea. Taxi for one.

Life is messy sometimes and some people, this boy included are deluding themselves if they think they can just wave a wand and everyone will suddenly play nice. It turns out that there are some things that you can’t fix.

Endless messages, calls and emails follow but when you know something isn’t a good idea, perhaps it’s better to ignore them and try and forget. It’s never good when a friendship ends, but there comes a point when you realise that all of us have different degrees of understanding about what innocence is.

I remember losing hope, I remember feeling low.

One day you’ll have to let it go.

@TheSamMcLeod

Don’t kid yourself.

Nobody should ever be ashamed to admit that they’ve been in the wrong. If you’ve made or you’re making mistakes, then aren’t you trying new things, trying to push yourself, trying to make your world a tiny bit better? Every choice we make, we make ourselves although perhaps in that one moment we think that they’re necessary in order to learn what we need to; that whatever steps we take, are important enough to get us to the places we need to go? It’s okay to err, we’re all human, but maybe an error doesn’t become a mistake until we correct it. Don’t mistakes show us what needs to be improved though, otherwise how would we know what we had to work on? What if you had no realisation that you were making a mistake in the first place?

Clearly, some mistakes are smaller than others. Forgetting to pick up bread or milk, not putting the bins out on the right day, minor things, they’re not going to trouble you too much. If they only affect you, that’s easier to take because no one else gets hurt. Fucking things up with a friend or lover? Different story.

In any relationship, the devil is right there in the details. There can be problems in every relationship, some you know of and some you don’t. When something comes to an end, you know immediately who’s to blame.

It’s you right there, right there in the mirror.

It’s just another day, a lot of us are out for brunch, I know some, I don’t know others. It’s always nice to meet new people, to expand my social circle, you know that you’ll never like everyone you come across, but don’t you need to leave yourself open to the possibility that you might? The boys get handshakes and hugs, the girls get a peck on the cheek and hugs. One girl who is introduced to me, seems particularly cool, even my girlfriend likes her. Conversation between everyone else flows easily though, it’s a nice few hours spent with old and new friends. Numbers and Twitter handles are swapped, people are added on Facebook. Exchanges follow between all of us, plans are made for catching up. It’s okay to like new people, even if it’s someone of the opposite sex, whether or not you’re in a relationship. You can be into someone or simply be friendly, although maybe for some people it can be hard to tell the difference. Normally someone that likes someone else will try to find out more about that person and show some sort of interest in you, to compliment you, or just generally be kind. Does that really mean that they like you though in a romantic way? Not necessarily.

Like anything in life, different combinations of people click more than others. I strike up a friendship with the girl who I recently met, but that’s all it is. My girlfriend knows that we message, that we chat occasionally, that we meet up for coffee now and again, but it’s not a full on thing. She does the same with her, as well as some of the boys. No need to be jealous if you’re in a relationship with someone that you love and trust. Friendships with people of the opposite sex are healthy, aren’t they? Catching up is always the same with my girl friends. The space is important, you’re my girl friends, not my girlfriend. A hug, a cheek kiss, and a smile.

Birthdays happen, Christmas comes around, so you give gifts to the people in your life, how can it be wrong to be thoughtful? I’m out one day and it’s neither of those days, but I know that the girl wants a particular album so I pick it up for her, it can never be wrong to make a simple gesture to the people in your life. Sometimes you see something that you know a friend would like, so you pick it up for them. It doesn’t always need to be about special occasions, it’s nice to do something nice, who doesn’t like a random gift?

It’s okay for a text or instant message to end with the 24th letter of the alphabet, it just means that you’re getting a virtual cheek kiss, right? It seems that not everyone thinks so.

A message pops up and she’s had a promotion. A case of wine is sent just to congratulate her, awesome work on her part. It’s signed for by her boyfriend or partner, not someone that I knew even existed. No problem to me though, I’m not romantically interested, I’m just pleased for my friend. If only it was that easy. He spots the return address, looks into her iPhone and sees our messages. Every single one is completely innocent, no innuendo, nothing sexual, but he flips at the kiss at the end of our messages. They didn’t go one way, I got them too, but I didn’t read anything into them. My girlfriend got the same in her messages, just a little thing, it’s only a letter. Not to everyone it seems. Obviously not everyone recognises that niceness and politeness isn’t always flirting.

It kicks off between them and they split up because of me. Have I done something wrong? It’s difficult not to blame myself when a friend is hurting. My mind constantly goes back to what I could have done differently to make our friendship work. No gifts? No nice messages? Maybe the best thing to do is keep my mind busy with other thoughts, to move on, to forget about what she never told me? It shouldn’t have even mattered, we were just friends. We’ve all been in awkward situations that don’t always work out the way that we want them to. Perhaps sometimes you need to reconcile yourself to the fact that what happened, happened.

A friendship is gone, it’s time to say goodbye, there’s no use in two people remembering the same thing. Have I fucked up, or have I just not yet found a way to make things work? You can only do what you can with the information available, but should it change the way you approach a friendship? Maybe it’s naivety, someone’s perception is their reality. Her heart is hurting, so ergo, my heart is hurting.

Thing is, maybe focusing too much on something is going to fuck you up. Sometimes the best way to get through hurt is to remain positive. There can be conflicted emotions, but sometimes you need to let things go. I need to let things go, no point in clutching at straws. Sometimes you can only know what people are willing to tell you. Be okay with what you see in the mirror.

Don’t punish yourself, you’re looking too closely.

@TheSamMcLeod

All the things that you do.

Do you ever think that maybe some relationships are destined to never last? You can’t afford any rebellion against what you’re thinking, about what your heart tells you, no one needs to be trapped inside a dilemma, so you have to make choices. Good people come and go from our lives every day, and it’s okay for the impact of that happening to be felt weeks, months, shit, even years later. Maybe we bared our bodies, our future hopes, our past, to someone that we thought was a friend or something more. One day something happens though, and that certain someone ends up a stranger or an occasional acquaintance at best. With each goodbye we go through, we mourn the comfort of catching up with someone who’s now gone. No more calls, no more messages.

Maybe some of the hardest goodbyes are the ones that you didn’t see coming, something that’s incredibly unexpected and something that you didn’t get to say the parting words that you wanted to. At times it’s a choice, whilst with others it’s chance. If you’re lucky, you still try and part on good terms. Does that make things easier? It’s no wonder that many of life’s most stressful events involve goodbyes.

Sometimes that’s something that sits okay with you, but it’s okay to struggle and accept losing someone whether they’re a friend or a lover. You move on, perhaps with a rollercoaster of emotions. Your heart might be hurting, and you’re sure as fuck confused as to what’s happened, as your mind flits between anger, disappointment and any other emotions that you could mention. Acceptance, reminiscense, a hope to forget and to move on. You think it’s acceptable to break our hearts a tiny bit, because maybe we weren’t right for one another anyway? There’s plenty alone time for second guessing though, right? Demons and ghosts matter when you have to let someone go from your life who you thought would be there forever, just someone who was a good friend. Other friends will tell you to let go of all of the blame, guilt and regret, but what if you’ve done nothing wrong? Whoever’s gone is an idiot, aren’t they?

The Italian people have a proverb, ‘One that deceives me once, it’s their fault; but if twice, it’s my fault.’ Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. Let someone fool you three times, who’s the fucking idiot now? Maybe sometimes it’s necessary to burn a particular bridge, the penny drops and you realise that you’re done. Recognising that you fell for the same thing twice and knowing that you should’ve been able to have seen it coming the second time around. It should never have got to the third time.

It’s easy to overthink things, but it’s cool to still hope. Can you rescue it? One more hope to understand?

It was magical, rediscovering someone from years ago. How can it be bad to catch up with an old friend? Mutual friends are spoken of, plans of catching up happen, it’s a cool thing. Sometimes though, circumstances get in the way. Once, twice, three times not a lady, what a pity. One moment you’re something together, and then it’s over. Before you know it, that person is just somebody that you used to know. Blocked on Facebook, unfollowed on Instagram, it doesn’t matter. Wouldn’t you rather live your life for real, rather on social media? No need to make it difficult by the things you say, the games you play.

What now? Drown my sorrows in bourbon over the thought of losing someone who I thought was a friend? Nope, clearly, because of her actions, she’s not worth it. My bad, I thought I knew better, time for some self reflection. Next time, pick someone to be a friend who isn’t quite as judgemental? Who understands everything that you do every day to try and make you and everyone around you better.

Maybe she was left heartbroken by someone, maybe she’s just not as nice as she appeared. Her tears and regret will never make make me smile. We were only ever friends but I hate you, I love you, I hate that I love you. No grudges, not ever, but this will never be a thing.

You know you’ll never change my mind.

@TheSamMcLeod

In my head, in my heart, in my soul.

A lot of us have a daily routine, dropping the kids off at school, picking them up, telling your other half that you love them, preparing dinner. Everything in your life can be normal, there’s nothing wrong with that. You’ll have some things that’ll come along too which will take you out of your comfort zone and that’s a cool thing. We’ll all have some days, nights and moments that we’ll remember for the rest of our lives when those chances present themselves, but you can make your own moments too, right? Travel, random acts of impulse, some family and friend things, we can all choose the things that we want to do. It’s great to say yes to things, but it’s entirely your prerogative to say no to others. It’s your life, you choose how you want to live it. When you’re old, don’t you want to look back on your life and recall all the memories that you cherished? That you still cherish.

The thought of getting old gets to all of us at some point. We all know that we’re going to die, it’s hardly breaking news. Perhaps Jhonen Vasquez articulates it better than most, “Nothing quite brings out the zest for life in a person like the thought of their impending death.” If you’ve made sure you’re exactly the person that you hoped you would be, then maybe you’d care a little bit less if you died tomorrow. If you’re going to die young, is it better to make that as late as possible? How do you want your world to end? Better with a bang, rather than a whimper surely.

A day will come when time and life shake hands and say goodbye to each other.

When you get told that when that day is likely to come, one of the last things that you need to be facing is an ordeal worse than the one you’ve just learned about, far less eight ordeals. Bang over whimper though, remember? Take a moment to think and then decide on the journey you want to take with the days you have left. It’s going to be a tough flight home, hard to tell people what’s happening, but it needs to be done. Sometimes it’s the silliest things that make you think. A remake of Point Break is watched on the plane and it’s surprisingly decent. If you’ve seen the film, you might have clicked that the Ozaki 8 is entirely fictitious, although the ideas behind it are real. Something clicks, a decision is made, eight choices/ordeals are chosen.

Ordeal 1 – Emerging Force (Dangerous Rapids)
Ordeal 2 – Birth of Sky (Mountain BASE Jump)
Ordeal 3 – Awakening Earth (Sky-to-Earth BASE Jump)
Ordeal 4 – Life of Water (Surf a 60+ Foot Wave)
Ordeal 5 – Life of Wind (Wingsuit Flight)
Ordeal 6 – Life of Ice (Snowboard an Unridden Line)
Ordeal 7 – Master of Six Lives (Climb a Cliff Face With No Safety Gear)
Ordeal 8 – Act of Ultimate Trust (Put Your Life in The Earth’s Hands)

Numero uno, kayak the Inga Rapids on the River Congo, the deadliest and largest rapids on the planet. Less than half the people who attempt it make it out alive, the odds are not good to make it onto the second one. Assuming all goes okay, mountains will quite literally be on the horizon. Base jump from the highest point off of one of the tallest mountains on the planet, seems a bit easier. Who doesn’t want to scale Mount Kilimanjaro? The bonus is that it’ll be quicker heading down than going up. Number three could be the end. Skydive from an airplane into the Cave of Swallows, the world’s deepest natural cave shaft in San Luis Potosí, Mexico. The Empire State building could easily fit inside it, no pressure. Maybe a whimper would be a better idea. Four and five sound more than achievable. Nazaré on Portugal’s Silver Coast for some surfing and then onto Switzerland, one of the world’s best wingsuit destinations. Snowboard an unridden trail? Heading for a spot few people have ridden, where to go? Fjörðum in Iceland, Skeena Mountains in British Columbia, Gangkhar Peunsum in Bhutan, the world’s highest unclimbed peak. Good to have choices, I guess. All being well, six down, two to go. Do a Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible 2 and head for Utah’s jagged Dead Horse Point? The Eiger, El Capitan in Yosemite or Mount Asgard in Nunavut. Ultimate trust, something we’d all like to have about everyone and everything in our lives, so if number eight makes it onto the horizon, then why not go big? The highest recorded cliff jump in history is a touch under 60 metres, just under 200 feet. Standing atop a cliff, stretching your arms out, staring down, and jumping off from hundreds of feet into the water below has to be epic, I guess there’s a reason it’s called tombstoning. Greece, Hawaii, Vermont, all good options. Might as well go out in style though, Angel Falls in Venezuela ticks the boxes. Home to the highest uninterrupted waterfall in the world, more than 16 times the height of the current world record height. Fuck it, why not?

Failure or success, everything remains exactly the way that it was, I’m me and you’re still you. Whatever we were to each other, nothing has changed. No one needs to be out of mind because they’re out of sight. A moment will happen one day and all will be as it was before.

It’s okay to accept that the earth folded in on itself.

@TheSamMcLeod
@YouMeMusicLife

Wasting words on lower cases and capitals.

Every one of us has had a secret or secrets at some point, right? If someone trusts you enough to let you in on something they want kept private, then you can take it one of two ways. Be humbled that they trust you enough, or be angry that they’ve asked you to keep something to yourself that no one else can ever find out. Maybe the best way of keeping one is to pretend that there isn’t anything you need to keep to yourself? Let’s face it, with secrets, there are the ones you want to try and keep, and the ones that you don’t dare tell anyone. Sharing secrets with even one other person, will change the whole dynamic of the relationship. Every day we make decisions. Get married, don’t get married, take this job or don’t take this job, go left or go right, and at the time, they don’t seem like they matter, but they do. Same with secrets, what to do? Keep the blood in your head, and keep your feet on the ground.

We kept it safe and slow.

Working in executive search, a lot of the job involves client networking. Telephone calls, regular email contact, catching up for coffee now and again, corporate dinners. Sometimes work can be just like your personal life, you develop relationships with people, some you’re in touch with more than with others. Just a natural thing, whilst appreciating the need for being careful to embrace everyone on a professional basis, you know that you’re going to enjoy the company of a few, rather than the many, when those relationships progress onto something on a personal level. It doesn’t mean you need to be boyfriend and girlfriend, friendship is more than okay.

There’s a girl, we get introduced by a mutual contact and we catch up regularly. Every time I call her, I have to go through her personal assistant. It’s cool, I’ve not met her yet, but she’s super nice, super professional and her boss tells me that she’s amazing. The aforementioned calls, emails, dinners all happen regularly, purely professionally, all perfectly arranged by her PA. A friendship develops, we start to talk more about things happening in our personal lives over random coffees, it’s always nice to get a different perspective on things that you have going on. When she finds out I’m single, she teasingly says that setting me up with her PA would be a good idea, but the thought of mixing work and pleasure doesn’t appeal, so with a smile, I politely decline.

Is it a good idea to say no, will I still be okay with it later or will I regret it? Regret is a funny thing, something that you either have to let go of or decide to live with, it’s a decision only you can make. As few regrets as possible in our lives would be great for all of us. Sometimes part of regret is about the one that got away, the one you can’t quite forget.

A call comes in one late evening and I recognise the number. It looks like more work might be coming my way, but it’s not who I thought it was though, it’s the PA who wants to meet to meet and to talk about herself rather than her company. No problem, just another tiny secret that I won’t share with anyone else. Coffee is arranged, we agree to meet outside at a specified time, remember we don’t know what each other looks like.

We meet, a hug and a cheek kiss is exchanged, before coffees are ordered. What should be no more than a twenty minute meeting turns into two hours. Once her work advice is given, we speak about music, travel, a multitude of things. Hands down, she knows about and likes as much of the same things as I do, more so than any girl that I’ve ever met. Maybe her boss is a clever lady after all. She throws into the mix that her boss likes me in more than a professional capacity. We giggle at the thought, smile a lot and my mind wanders, this wasn’t what was expected. A goodbye and a hug follows, she heads in one direction and I head in another.

A couple of days later, a thank you card follows, a lovely touch. An acknowledgement message is sent to say how kind that was. Text messages are exchanged, and a friendship evolves, although we don’t meet up.

I don’t realise that she lives near me, although she knows where I stay after spotting me heading into my building after work one night. It’s late on a Friday, a text arrives and she says she has a bottle of wine, would I like to share? Who doesn’t like wine? The intercom goes, she climbs to the top floor and makes her way along the corridor. I see her coming as I look through the spyhole and open the door. We look at each other, dead in the eyes and we kiss before the door has even closed. The wine is left untouched. She doesn’t stay, I sleep alone, not my choice. I get told that this is nothing more than a one-off and that I need to hide this meeting from everyone, especially her boss. Just another secret to keep.

The pattern repeats itself though. A text comes, kisses happen, no wine gets touched and she never stays over. Developing relationships is easier at work than it is now. Maybe I’m not for her? We all want to swing for the fences, but don’t we need to be able to read the pitch first?

Her work circumstances change and she relocates, good news for her, bad news for someone else. Damn me for giving such good fucking advice!

Months pass, I start seeing someone, but I know it’s not right and on a night out, I know that I need to tell her, it’s only fair. We’re in a club, my iPhone pings and guess who it is? She’s back in the city and is at a bar next door. Whilst I really want to go and see her, it wouldn’t be cool. I say the words I need to say though and I head home alone.

Have you gone and done something you really shouldn’t have? Home wasn’t the right option, once I did what I needed to do. I wanted to be in that bar. If an artist signs a painting, it’s not because he’s only going to paint once. If we kiss, it’s not because I only want to kiss you once, twice or three times.

I send a message later, but the response comes the day after, containing just seven words. Maybe in another time or another place. I’ve missed my chance. Again. For all of us, think about the words you think but never say.

You hurried up and lost me, hurry up and find me again.

Perhaps it was never meant to be, neither of us told the other about what we expected from whatever this was.

Neither clear nor descript.

@TheSamMcLeod
@YouMeMusicLife

It’s not a failure we could help.

Now and again, we come across a situation that we find irresistible, someone or something that it’s difficult to say no to. A new job opportunity maybe, perhaps the chance of a new relationship. No real way though of telling at the start if either are going to be good for you. It’s easier to change jobs than partners, but you’ll never know if one or both will work out if you don’t try. It’s always exciting to be attracted to someone new, to something new. Depending on how your life is going, it’s cool to not want to take a chance on someone or something, it’s not always going to be ponies, rainbows and unicorns, so a leap of faith is needed. Shit or get off the pot.

Isn’t it also true that sometimes it’s hard not to like or love the people or things that will end up hurting us the most? Some of us can be attracted to people that have the ability to cause us pain. There’s fighting, hurt, a lack of trust. Frequent break-ups but lots of great make-up sex. Feelings of blame, jealousy, being undervalued, all are far too much drama for anyone to have to deal with regularly. Can you dislike or like someone at the same time? Sometimes it’s the conflict that keeps things going. You both know that you’re no good for each other, but you dance the dance, until one of you plucks up the courage to say that it’s not working any more. Just life, making choices every day, you need to be strong enough to trust yourself, right? Things are tearing you both apart, better to break than be irreparably scarred. It’s more than okay to be physically attracted to someone, but perhaps it’s not wise to have a proper relationship with them. Quit whilst you’re ahead? Wish one another well and don’t look back.

What’s the point in chasing a train when you know that it’s already left the station. You cannot outrun a ghost.

Death Cab For Cutie are in town and are playing at the Sydney Opera House. It’s sold out, but I manage to find a pair of tickets online. I arrange to meet the seller outside and one of my best friends is coming along too. Perfect. She has to decline at the last minute unfortunately, so I make the spare available online. A random girl replies first, so now it’s her ticket, and although I’ve not spoken to her, far less met her, shared interests are a good start. It’s a couple of hours, it could and should be fun, even with a stranger. We arrange to meet at the Opera Bar for a pre-show drink, it’s one of the nicest spots in the world with a knockout view, that gets even better when you snag seats facing the Harbour Bridge.

I pick up the tickets and I get to the bar first. I’m not presumptious enough to order for her before she gets here, so I get a beer and grab those wonderful seats. A few minutes later, I can smell perfume behind me, and in some way I know that my new concert buddy has arrived. We shake hands which is frankly ridiculous, I ask what she wants to drink and I head for the bar. As I wait, I glance back over and there are an insane amount of people saying hello to her. We all know that one person who seems to know everyone so I don’t think too much about it, I grab her drink and head back.

The conversation flows easily, she has the cutest inflection to her voice. We head upstairs and grab our seats. It’s more of an intimate venue than I expected, and again, she seems to know everyone. We share the same first name so every time that someone says it out loud, I look around, but of course, they’re not speaking to me, she’s the object of attention. She’s not a natural blonde, but she’s a natural beauty, so I can see why. Again though, I forget about it, the lights dim and the show begins. She knows the words to every song, pics and videos are taken, it’s an amazing couple of hours. During the interval, the conversation flows as easily as before, I know it’s going to blow when the night ends, I don’t need a map or compass to see the direction I want to be heading in.

I live in a different suburb, but she invites herself for a nightcap, so we catch the ferry. We get to a bar that is less than a hundred paces from where I live, I give her money for drinks and excuse myself. I come back and more and more people are saying hello, how popular can one girl be, weird.

The night ends, she comes back to mine and although there’s something there, neither of us are those kind of people. A quick glass of fizz follows, I give her the tour, she takes the spare room, shorts and a tee and kisses me on the cheek, thanking me for a good night. Sleep follows.

I hear the coffee machine when I wake, I smile and take the chance to grab a shave and a shower. The doorbell rings, I go downstairs to find friends that are borrowing my flatmate’s car for the weekend. They look quizzically at the girl disappearing back upstairs and then at me. I grab the keys for them, she comes back down minutes later, kisses me on the cheek and leaves with my number with a smile, we’ll see each other again. I apologise, look back at my friends and one half of the couple sees that I look confused. He asks, ‘Do you know who that is?’ I confess I don’t, I don’t even know her surname. He laughs uncontrollably and tells me that she’s nationally famous and appears regularly on TV. Spot the stupid expat.

They leave, still laughing, and although a high five is handed out, they don’t know that anything happened. I make a dick move, stick her name into an internet search engine and the penny drops.

Days, weeks and months pass, emails, phone calls, texts are exchanged. We meet up regularly and she now knows that I know who she is. It doesn’t change anything, I don’t think, things are kept private. One day, an invite drops through the postbox for a gala event and I’m the plus one. The kilt is on, we meet up, but something is different. No hands are held, there are zero hugs, don’t even start me on kisses. The red carpet belongs to her alone, I might as well make myself comfortable on the sidelines. Plenty of pictures are being taken of her but you can probably guess how many I made it into. It’s made very clear what her priority is and it’s not a guy in a kilt.

Who wants to settle for something that isn’t right? I’m a little heart heavy, but sometimes you have to close a window even when you know that you’re not going to like being on the other side of the glass.

Was I in your way, when the cameras turned to face you? No room in frame for two.

@TheSamMcLeod
@YouMeMusicLife