3 L’s by Joel Hopkins
“The heart wants what the heart wants” is a saying that has been uttered countless times. A fact about that particular adage was that it was spoken first by a one Woody Allen, in defense of his affair with Mia Farrow’s adopted daughter. This time it is spoken in a much more innocent way; at least i hope you think so. I say this because I don’t want people to judge this story, with the same standard as that story. My name is Alan, I’m not going give my full name as this could cause some embarrassment to both me and people mentioned in this short tale. This is a love story but not an A-typical one, no I don’t get the girl in the end, but form the very start I never did have a chance, the heart wants what the hearts wants.
So let me start from the most logical place for love story to start, the first time we met.
I was 23 starting a new Job at supermarket chain that I probably should not name, it was on the cheaper end of the market however. I could go in to quite some detail how I felt this work was beneath me, but i will just summaries the feelings . I normally don’t like to complement myself, I just felt I was too good for it. I was there though because I needed the money. It was a boring first day, a little training and some time on the tills, all in all a pretty regular first day. I met the staff mostly older women, but all very friendly and nice. There was some guys there around my age, while they did not look like the kind of people I would normally want to hang out with, we still arranged to meet up one of the nights this week for a drink to together.
One person in particular did stand out to me, you guessed right it was “that girl” the girl in which this tale is about. Nothing in particular made her stand out, I know it’s not the most romantic way of describing the girl that my heart chose to love. My eyes just simply gravitated towards her. She was very normal looking, beautiful in her own way but not a way I could see until we spoke, until I knew her better.
‘Hi’ she said in the staff room at my first break.
‘Hi’ I said to her shyly not because of some lust I felt for her at that moment, just because I’m a very shy person when meeting someone new.
‘My name is Alan, I’m new here’ I said with a lot of awkwardness.
‘Yeah I did know that’ She spoke in such a typically Yorkshire way, nothing well-spoken about her at all. Yes it was the kind of voice that old women spoke with in the pubs in Leeds and it was a perfect match for my voice.
I just smiled at her; I hated speaking to new people especially girls.
‘haha well my name is Julie, it nice to have another person round my age’ She motioned to a bunch of the older woman gabbing in the corner each with a cup of tea in their hands.
‘Well hi then Julie, it’s very nice to meet you, how long have you being working here?’ I asked
‘not long love, around a month just a stop gap for me hopefully, I want to get in to acting’
Now that was the perfect answer in my mind, I did not have a particular fetish for actors or anything, i just like the fact she was not happy here.
It was not that it was at that very moment that I had decided she was my one true love, though looking back It might have been the moment I decided she could be.
‘Likewise I hope to be a writer, so you know I’m here for money until ya know hopefully I become one, but an actor that pretty cool you bin in much, then? ‘
Some casual conversation happened, after this we became friends very quickly. She was so easy to talk to. It was very strange for me to connect with someone in that short space of time, she soon became my best friend at work.
So I fast forward to the night out i had planned with the lads at the supermarket, turns out she was classed as one of the boys and was there at the pub when I arrived. I was relieved she was there. Those lads, as nice as they were, were just not my “type” of people. We did not like the same things, they were in to rap and urban while I was in to rock and indie. They was in to football, I was in to rugby. It made for some awkward conversation and some moments where I was even being left out of the conversation completely. So I sat with Julie. We spent most of the night talking music, her acting and my writing, it all came out so easy with her. We drank and spent most of the night in the local pub in a booth of our own away from the lads. I felt they had probably formed their own opinion on this already. I hated that, as I at the moment was just enjoying her company. It was not until the night was over and I was back at my flat that I realized how fast the night had gone, how much I enjoyed it ,and then later in the night how I could not get her out of my head.
Oh god! That was the moment, the damn moment where my heart had decided I could never just be friends with her. My heart had chosen her, little did i know that my heart was on a lock on course, not a crush it had decided on my behalf that she was the one. Not that I knew that at the time though but 2 years later I think it’s safe to say that sort of thing. Obsession.
The next day I went in to work. I was tired, from both the night of drinking and the restless night of thinking about her. Yes men do that too. A typical day at work followed. The work was mindless but was easy and another benefit was it was close to home, good since I had not yet got a car then. I do have one now mind you. I’m just talking now crap now, guess it’s because i am wanting to wait as long as possible before i tell the rest.
I stood there all day, my mind could not get off her, it was made worse as she was off that day. I wanted nothing more than to see her, speak to her maybe even ask her out. Thinking back there was no chance I would have asked her out, “naaa” I like to play the slow game a few months of waiting before I make my move. Plus I did not even know if she had a boyfriend, there was still so much I needed to know, another reason I was annoyed at the fact she was not there.
Damn the weekend tomorrow, i thought.
I knew then my weekend would be full of thoughts of her, I was right. Sure I have had girlfriends before some of whom I thought I may have even loved, I had being kept up restless thinking about them too. Now looking back at my feelings I could tell there was something different about my emotion for her than for the others. It was something deep in the core of my sensations that made it feel different to the other girls. It hurt just not being able to see her and hurt badly that day.
That night I was watching some TV on my own on a Friday night, like you do. I had never felt so lonely. That was short lived, my phone sat on my book case, it buzzed once it was set to vibrate. I casually walked over expecting it to be another O2 text telling me I could get 10% back on all top up’s made before the end of the week. I took off the lock and looked at it, it said “new message from Julie” my stomach did a back flip. I quickly pressed the button to read it “Hey Alan, I’m at a party not many people I know here. Fancy coming along? TB”. I was so happy. Some contact with her. I swiftly readied myself to text her back “Yeah I can make it. Not doing anything lol. Where is it at?” It sounded good so I sent it quickly and sat back down with the phone in my lap and I waited. It seemed to me that the time was passed so slowly, I was no longer interested in the crap that was on the TV, QI I think. While I waited I fidgeted and constantly checked my phone, I began to worry that my chance had gone. I went to check on my sent section on my mobile to re-read the message I sent. Oh shit. Dam predictive text when I re-read it instead of saying “not doing anything” It said “not doing coating” I was so annoyed at myself. ‘Fuck, fuck bloody “coating” how could I be so stupid, read before you send, my mother had always said that’ I said it out loud, probably louder than I would have wished. Sure the core of the text was there. She knew I could go and I wanted to know where it was. I sat there pissed off with myself still waiting for a text back, I could get so obsessive at times, it was one of those times right now. 10 minutes must have gone past. I even turned my phone off silent just to be sure I would not miss it. After another 5 minutes I decided to text her again saying “I meant to say anything not coating lol” and I sent it. I waited again. Nothing came.
Was it the stupid text why she has not text me back? Did she regret texting me?! Was she with a boy at the moment, too busy to look at her phone? These were just a few of the thoughts that went through my mind.
An hour past and I was still just staring at my phone. What followed was a very boring night and then an equally as tedious weekend with no more contact with Julie.
Later she would explain to me that she was drunk and completely forgot that she had asked me to come. I of course just laughed I said that was it OK, I even said I “hardly thought about it” which was a massive lie I had being completely preoccupied over the incident since it happened. Not like I could show her any of that though.
The next few months had been brilliant between us, not only just work friends any more I had been promoted to good friends we did loads together sometimes on our own or sometimes she would come with my friends or me with hers. The best thing to come out of the few months was the knowledge that she was single. Over the last month I had slowly being working my magic over her, a magic that was very slow working granted but it did have some charisma to it but some might call it an anti-charisma, I call those people my friends. We were close though and I loved her company but I still wanted more I wanted to be her boyfriend. Sad i know.
I do believe in true love and also believe that everybody is given their chance to be with their true love. You can either fuck your chance up or you can take and be with that person for the rest of your life. I really wanted to take my chance and be with Julie. So I had a carefully laid out plan to woo her. Originally the plan was 2 years long but I decided maybe that was too long. Maybe.
I again fast-forward to the night i had finally worked up enough confidence. So it was the night when my plan would come to fruition this was the night when I was going to get my answer good or bad. I so hoped for a good one. I could be a little of a male bitch when it comes to things like this, worry nearly overwhelmed me. I see people with all this confidence with the girls and one single image comes in to my head, a fist making contact with their face maybe a few teeth are flying through the air.
Let’s see what that does with their confidence
but I digress again.
The thing was I didn’t know what I would do with an answer in the negative nevertheless I needed my answer. I also needed alcohol down me to get that extra confidence to actually ask her.
The thing about alcohol it can do one of two things
First it can give you that much needed boost to make you the person you wish you could be.
The second is that you get rat arsed (wrecked) and forget everything you planned to do that night.
Now it’s a careful balance to get the first point without getting to the second and when everyone around you are on the second point, well you just natural move to that. Lucky it was not too bad and the night lasted long, so i sober up a little towards the end.
So after few drunken dances with her, we moved with what I felt at the time was a very cool and suave walk to a booth at a local nightclub, it probably look more like an epileptic pig going to its slaughter. I can’t remember the night completely but I remember moving in closer to her. My heart was beating through my chest just by being close to her, I felt sick from the amount I had drunk but I needed to ask her.
‘Alan, fancy going out for a smoke?’ Julie said to me just before I spoke
This was good, it was too loud in here anyway, the cold was going to wake me up.
‘Yeah lets go’
We moved up the stairs in to the smoking area, she lit up. While the area was lighted it was still very dark and the light from tip of the lighter gave her face a warm glow. This was going to be the time I asked her, I could feel it.
‘Julie,’ I felt my heart was going to come through my mouth, even though I was so drunk I knew what to do. ‘Julie, been good night, hey…. Well I wondered If’ I stopped and I moved in to kiss her. I stopped before I touched her lips. ‘Is this OK?’ I said. She hesitated and then touched my face to move it back.
Fuck, never ask, why did i ask? i thought.
I knew then that for whatever reason this was not going to work. I thanked god at that moment for alcohol.
‘Oh, I’m sorry Julie’ I looked down, unable to look in to her face.
She smiled. ‘I had feeling you liked me, Al, I need to tell you something’ I looked up at her I tried to hold in the bile that was working its way up from my throat.
‘ohhh OK what is it’ I tried to hide the pain in my voice. I am not sure how successful I was but she looked upset when seeing my face.
‘I have not told anyone this, I am so confused, I do like you, honestly you have become one of my best friends, but I don’t like boys!’ now this one took the wind out of me, but honestly I could not care. Sure it shocked me but I had to keep the tears inside from the rejection not the revelation, I managed it. I looked over to her and she was sat there crying.
‘It’s took me so long to admit it, I’m a lesbian’ she was fighting through the tears to talk. As bad as I felt I could see it took her a lot to say that out loud. She cried, so I put my arms around her I hugged her, I even got to kiss her forehead. I comforted her but at the same time I felt comforted by her. We decided to head home after that. While we waited for the taxi I tried to grasp what had happened, to make sense of it. I was not going to be with her not because she was interested in someone else, at least that came with the hope that I still had a chance. No she was a lesbian, only a sex change would give me any hope to be with her and i gave careful considerations to that option as well. It hurt me so much, we got in the taxi it stopped at her house first. I said my goodbye and she promised to talk more with about it later.
I got back in to my flat, striped to my boxers and fell heavily on to my bed. It was a drunken fall. I just laid there on my bed. I of course had a little cry, I felt sad, angry at her but mostly I felt cheated. What if she was the one, the one person I was meant to be with and she was a lesbian, how was that fair? I fell asleep listing to music.
We are still friends and I love her as a friend but still now I wish I could be with her. I have not had a relationship since then in which i felt that same way about a girl, it’s sad I know that. “The hearts wants what the heart wants”. I can’t change that and two years down the line that has not changed.
Like I said before I feel you get one chance with your true love, one chance to be with them. I did not get my chance. Now that is the real tragedy.
I have thought that it might be a victim complex that I have, that I won’t let her go because I like being miserable. That just does not match up with the rest of my life, although if it is true it does not make my feeling any less real. We have so much in common I thought we did have a chance, sadly we had one thing to many in common, I like girls and so does she.
It’s the 3 L you see Life, Love and lesbians. It’s fucked me up.
© Joel Hopkins