To be honest… now I have a new boyfriend I felt a bit weird about telling this any more. I didn’t want to seem like I was longing for the past. But it’s part of my life. It happened and it was good and then one day it stopped happening and ultimately that was good too. If I tell the tale with fondness now, it is because, at the time, it was special.
So. I left Part 3 at the point where we had met, carried a bench and smiled at each other. I thought that was it. It was so busy and I wasn’t sure what the next part of the evening would entail: turned out to be a trip to the props store.
For an amateur theatre, their props store was pretty stunning. Hidden, at the end of a row of shops, behind a battered, green wooden door on a busy city street was a similarly battered hallway. Hatstands, picture frames and other detritus littered the cramped space. Beyond that: a steep flight of stairs as creaky as a cliched haunted house.
Up those stairs was where the awesome began. The landing opened out into a room which took up that entire level of the building. The room was stuffed with any and all props that could ever be imagined: there were whole sections for lamps, for washing machines, for outdoors, fantasy sets, sci-fi sets, historical sets. And that wasn’t all. This vast, brimful space was repeated – not just on the next floor, but on the floor after that too. Anything anyone could have hoped to feature in a play was in that room (for example, I later went there with a play set in a hairdresser in mind: within seconds I had been shown to the appropriate section and given a set of special hairdresser chairs, blow driers and a sink).
As newcomers, our minds were blown. That dusty treasure trove could have entertained me for hours. We wandered around, it was like a museum to the possibilities of theatre – I swear I got several story ideas just from the random items I saw there.
Not everyone was as enthralled as I: but the slim, nice man was. More often that not he would end up next me as we lingered by whatever had grabbed our attention. I made some exclamatory comment when I saw a stack of record players and he smiled. I could sense something. Some connection. I wanted to talk to him, I thought he wanted to talk to me. The only thing putting me off was his age.
He was clearly older than me. Quite a bit older. There was no way, I told myself, that he would be interested. He’s an actual man, not some boy from my old school. No chance. And so I continued to linger near him. The most passive approach to picking up men ever. I maneuvered myself next to him whenever possible, hoping he would break the ice. When our ‘tour guide’ paused to finish up his talk as we waited to leave I stood close. So close that I brushed against him. At the time it wasn’t creepy. Or maybe it was. I was young and painfully awkward.
And then, at last, the silence was shattered. “Wow that was really interesting” I remarked as we left the building. “Yes,” he replied, “I loved it”. Silence again. Argh!
“I have to say…” he continued, “Your t shirt is excellent. I love David Bowie.”
YES! THANK YOU BOWIE YOU WONDERFUL MAN. I knew I had to have that t shirt the moment I saw it. I just didn’t, at the time, know why.