I spotted him pretending to hide behind a tree outside Cardiff Central station.
After being away from Flatmate for four hundred and sixty three days (not that I was counting), I was met with a shy smile and a timid kiss on the cheek.
“It’s nice to see you again, Weasel,” he said, trying to conceal a radiant grin.
I was nervous. We both were. I couldn't stop gazing at him, reaching out to pat him. He couldn't stop talking: "Sorry, I haven't talked to anyone for a year!" It was hard not to just lie down and gurgle with delight.
But, I’d timed my five-day visit to coincide with a bout of PMT. This was not intentional. By the second day I was a mass of raging hormones and all hell broke loose.
I’d been in Cardiff for 48 whole hours, I fumed, and he hadn’t proposed to me, hadn’t shagged me, hadn’t even kissed me like he meant it. All he’d done was talk talk talk talk talk bloody talk. And now we were lying in bed and he was yakking on about feminisation again and it was really pissing me off. I'd gone up to Cardiff wearing jeans, jumpers, a big woolly hat, my big Starsky & Hutch coat with rips in it, my Angry Dyke boots, because it was SNOWING, and here he was going on about his ideals of beautiful women and stockings and high heels AND NOT TOUCHING ME.
Why am I wasting my time on this idiot? Does he not realise what he's implying? His lack of action is telling me loud and clear he doesn't want me. I was bruised, insulted. I listened in stony silence for a while until I could take no more.
If he wasn’t interested in me physically, I erupted, then he could sling his hook – I would go and find somebody who was. I was no longer prepared to expend my energy chasing unsuitable men. He could no longer have his cake and eat it.
Fine, he said. Fine, I said.
The next morning, I realised this option would involve never seeing him again. That made the tears come. He came out of the shower to find me sobbing devastated in his armchair. He tried to comfort me; it made no difference. I was torn apart by the thought of what was being wasted.
I was torn apart by the thought of what was being wasted.I tried to explain.
"Dude, I want a real relationship where the guy actually fancies me and all that. But I'll never find anyone else if I keep seeing you because if I see you, I love you. But you don't love me. That means when I leave here on Monday, that's it. It's got to stop. I can't see you anymore if I'm pissing in the wind."
Eventually I stopped crying long enough to take my puffy face along to the coffee shop. We sat at separate tables, him playing chess, me grinding my way through a book. I gave up after a while and went for a soothing walk in the park. After an hour he retrieved me. We went back to his flat, cooked a meal, watched the Winter Olympics. He teased me gently about inconsequential things, watching me carefully with serious eyes. In bed, he wriggled into the curve of my body, took my arm and wrapped it tightly around his torso, slipped his fingers through mine.
'Perhaps we are just two lonely people who need each other for now', I mused. The thought of it broke my heart.
Day four: apologies exchanged, normality resumed. Still no proposal, shag, or snog, but I was now able to remember he’d always been wary of intimacy, never been touchy-feely, and we'd been a long time apart. It was never going to instantly pick up where it'd left off - I'd probably been expecting a bit too much. I’d gained his trust in the first place by letting him set his own pace, so just hold yer horses, Weasel, let it unfold in its own good time.
"It will be fine, little Weez," he said, gently kissing my face. But still, at the back of my head, was the thought 'Is this what I want?'
Day five was Valentines Day. Lack of proposals, shags and snogs aside, we shared a sweet and tender day. There was a tentative public hand hold, a hint of a real kiss. And at the end of the day, it was the purest pleasure just to snuggle up in bed with the soft, warm body I'd missed so much and listen to his beautiful voice in the dark. Sex or no sex, truthfully there was nowhere in the world I'd rather be.
The next morning, I went back to Kent.
“Come and see me again soon,” he said.