One of the major problems in my life is an irresistible impulse to fall head-over-heels in love with complete strangers. This may not seem much of a problem, but when you combine it with a deep seated insecurity that makes me sure that they’ll never be interested in loving me back, it produces quite a few problems.
The first is an unwillingness, or rather an inability, to express my feelings. The first time I fell in love was when I was fourteen. It was with a girl who used to go to the school across the road from mine. But I couldn’t even bring myself to talk to her let alone ask her out.
We used to get the same bus home from school and I’d stand there at the bus stop trying not to stare at her. For a whole school year we stood there, not talking to each other. And to this day I have absolutely no idea if she had any similar feelings for me, or if she even noticed me.
The second problem is that I always pick a girl who under no stretch of the imagination would be the least bit interested in me. In my late teens I fell in love with a girl five years older them me. Today this would not cause me any problems, but the gap between a shy, immature eighteen year old boy and a somewhat more sophisticated, mature twenty three year old woman is quite large. She treated me kindly, I’m sure she was fond of me, but she had absolutely no romantic interest in me.
The third problem is that once I’ve overcome my shyness and I’ve struck up a friendship with the girl I immediately jump to the conclusion that she’s fallen in love with me, despite the fact that we might be having a very casual relationship from her point of view.
In the normal course of events I can take it or leave it if somebody takes a dislike to me. But once I’ve fallen “in love” there can be no alternative but that she loves me back. And if she doesn’t seem to, well, I’ve got a vivid imagination and I can make no end of excuses to explain her behaviour. I can think of every thing, but that she isn’t interested in me.
In between falling “in love”, which happens about every three years, I have had more normal relationships with women. Indeed I have many friends who are women. A few of them ex-girlfriends. When I’m not “in love” I can communicate quite well. We can go out on a date, have a great time and end the night with a kiss and a cuddle. Sex was never a problem, because we wouldn’t get that serious in that way.
And there in lies the problem. The girlfriends I could talk to, and have an honest and open relationship with, were the girls I was most likely to have sex with, but I had no interest in having sex with them. The girls I wanted were the ones I was “in love” with, and they were the ones I had no hope of making it with.
So at the beginning of this story I started out as a twenty four year old virgin waiting for someone to come along and sweep me off my feet on a whirlwind of passion and romance. Someone I could “make a commitment” to and “share my life” with. Someone with whom I could have sex with every night.
I met and fell “in love” with a girl who, for reasons of her own that I can not tell you, had exactly the opposite problems with her relationships with men as I had with women. We complemented each other perfectly and produced one of the worst relationships ever.
It started on a nice bright June evening at a meeting of the City Camera Club. A member of the Club, who was also a member of the Historical Society, was to give a guided tour detailing the history of the area surrounding the club’s new premises. I was standing talking to another member of the club, while we were waiting for enough people to turn up for the tour to start, when I noticed a rather attractive woman come into the room.
Something snapped in the back of my mind and I was “in love” again. I was began to make my way over to her, but just then our guide for the evening decided that there was enough people to start the tour. He clapped his hands together to get our attention, asked us all to gather around and gave a short introductory talk about what we were going to see tonight.
Then he asked us all to move outside. As I turned around I noticed that the woman who was to be the new “love of my life” had been standing behind me, talking to a friend of mine called Paul. I don’t remember what he said nor what her answer was. But my heart jumped when I heard her voice.
The only way I can describe it is as the cutest accent I have ever heard, but that doesn’t convey the impact it had on me. For me one of the most important things about a woman is her voice. I love accents and the way a woman uses words and the textures of her speech, all add to my attraction for her. And here was a woman able to sent shivers down my spine, even when she wasn’t talking to me.
Paul asked her what her name was and I heard her reply “Alexandra”, before I got separated from them as the crowd squeezed its way through the door. Outside we turned right and followed the guide down the street. I watched Alexandra as she walked along ahead of me. She was wearing an orange track-suit type jacket, with faded blue jeans. And I thought that she had one of the nicest bottoms I’d ever seen.
We followed the guide around the corner and down a little alleyway. He stopped outside the gates of an old Jewish cemetery that I hadn’t known was there. Unfortunately the gates were locked so we couldn’t get in to explore. But our guide gave us a brief history of it standing on the pavement out side.
I noticed Alexandra sneak a camera out of her pocket and point it through the bars of the cemetery’s railings. I walked over to her and reached her just as she was putting the camera away again.
“Nice shot?” I asked.
“Umm, yes,” she gave me a petite smile and I almost kissed her.
There was silence for a moment. Our guide had started to walk on and the group was following him. She turned to follow and I walked beside her.
“So what’s your name?” I asked, even through I’d heard her tell it to Paul a minute ago.
“Alexandra,” the word danced off her tongue.
My heart was beating so loud and she spoke so softly that I had trouble hearing her. “Alex?” I asked.
“I prefer Alexandra,” she replied.
“Alexandra,” I savoured her name.
We walked in silence for a few moments. Then I asked, “So is this your first time down at the Camera Club?”
“Oh no. I’ve been to several meetings,” she smiled.
“Really,” I was surprised. “I must have been asleep not to have noticed you before.”
She laughed softly. “Well I’ve seen you around.”
“Yeah?” I smiled at her. “Well I go to most meetings.” I laughed, “Guess I must be addicted to them.”
She was a few inches shorter than me and as I looked down at her, she smiled up at me. Our eyes met and I was lost. There and then she stole my heart with the sparkle in her hazel eyes.