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 is 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. Always nice to get a different perspective on things 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 drunk and she doesn’t stay 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.