A Handbag Full Of Potential

Grinning at him, I held my very favourite baby blue little handbag up to his face, wobbling on the spot.

“I threw up in my bag.” I giggled with a shrug.

“You’re really hammered aren’t you?”

I agreed and allowed him to help me up from the behind the neighbour’s wall from where I admitted to have been ‘hiding’.

Apparently I had invited myself to my ex boyfriend’s flat for the night.

 

It all started with a few too many men to make small talk with and consequently a few too many glasses of wine.

I was at Single's Night, business not pleasure, alone and feeling underprepared for a night of flirtation.

Like most of us in a room full of the unknown I avoided self-consciousness by turning to my mobile. Of course by doing so I was breaking one of the golden rules of attending a singles party, but, I just didn’t have the stomach for the night. Instead I found comfort in seeing a text from my Ex.

Casual, he was asking how the night was going.

It wasn’t anything out of the ordinary. We texted a fair amount these days. Both in the habit of being glued to our phones for work, and to simply hold a place within modern civilisation; we could get through text messages at a rate which would make for acceptable conversation had we been in the same room.

We’d been split long enough for me not to feel the need to play games or try to impress. I told him honestly, the night ahead looked long and the men ahead, not so great.

We had, however, not been split long enough for me to not feel that familiar pang of jealousy when he told me he too was out on a date.  (I swear, only my emotions are hypocrites, I’ve got nothing to do with it.)

As the evening wore on it transpired that we were both having an equally unsuccessful time. As I spoke to yet another investment banker, who tried to make the small of my back seem like a natural resting place for his clammy palm, I found myself rather more interested in thinking up a ways of meeting up with the Ex. 

A few hours passed and I passed the point of knowing my limit. I’m never that girl who gets embarrassingly drunk, but I knew I was close to becoming her as I swayed around on the spot. Trying to pass my wobbles off as casual ‘not quite dancing’. I had given out a couple of fake numbers already and I knew I wasn’t interested in going for a third.

I decided to escape.

I assumed that I was invited to his and he assumed that I wasn’t quite so drunk. I am very good at the ‘non-drunk, drunk text’.

Outside in cold central London I found my cab and climbed in, grateful to be alone and with the weight off my heels.

But what was this? I began to feel nervous. Somewhere in my tummy something other than the wine was dancing around. I jittered in the back of the cab bleary eyed, struggling to make sense of the landmarks we passed. Oh God, why was I worried?

 

The last time I had seen him we’d had a civilised dinner together at a cheap little Italian out East. He’d walked me to the bus stop that night hugged me and sent me on my way. The next morning we had both agreed we were better off as friends. Nothing was going to happen tonight.

Sure I could stay, but I knew him: The perfect gentleman.

So why did I feel so sick?

But then I didn’t feel sick anymore. Instead I had been sick neatly into my handbag.

I felt a lot better.

And, I’d been quite lady like about it too. Smugly I sat back and congratulated myself on being so sneaky. ‘5 star Uber rating for me’ I nodded to myself.

When we pulled up at his house I found that it was actually a lot trickier to get up than I remembered. The ground outside the cab didn’t want to stay still. So my driver, another in the short supply of ‘gentlemen’, got out to help me. Upon which, we both found to our own separate horror, I had not been quite as ladylike as I had thought.

There was definitely a fair amount of vomit in my handbag, but also, the cab seat and my jumpsuit had taken a bit of a hit.

My driver asked me, “Is this yours?” gesturing to sick. To which I responded,

“No, of course not.” Or slurs to that effect.

I of course cleaned the back of the cab, whilst rigorously maintaining that, it wasn’t my vomit.

At some point during all this the Ex must have wondered where I was and come outside to find me. This would be when I darted behind the neighbour’s wall to ‘hide’.

 

Once inside the reality that I was covered in my own vomit, and had a handbag which very much matched my outfit, sunk in. His flatmates were home and waving and calling out hellos from the kitchen. But I was not feeling quite as friendly.

I remembered where the bathroom was and so spent a long time hunched over the toilet thinking about my mistakes that evening.

Thankfully turning up at his flat wasn’t one of them. He was my White Knight.

With much fuss from me over whether or not he could ‘look’, he helped me change into clean clothes, then did his best to wash mine. He held my hair whilst I was sick some more, found me paracetamol and tried to make me drink water.

From this point on I only have his story to go by: From his accounts, I thoroughly played the part of the child who would do anything, but brush her teeth and go to bed.

After finally passing out on his side with the ‘good pillow’, I woke a couple of hours later to him putting ‘4head stick’ on me and giving me water. I felt like a train wreck. I nestled down in his arms and let him soothe me like the infant I had played at the night before.

I was so grateful to be there. God knows how I would have coped left to my own devices. If ever there was an advert to drink responsibly…

 

He was safe and warm and familiar so when he kissed me I didn’t listen to the tiny part of my brain reminding me that I felt disgusting. As for the part concerned with me kissing a boy whom had once made me cry? Well she was drowned out completely.

We lay in bed far too late, talking about everything that we’d neglected during the months of silence, post break up. Then, everything we’d crammed in, during the last few weeks of being ‘friends’.

Everything was how I remembered it, except for this new feeling. I was relaxed.

Now that we weren’t dating I had no reason to wonder where things were going. It didn’t matter what he was thinking or what would come next. I found myself at ease and able to say anything.

I told him I’d cried the night we broke up. He knew that I never cried. Not at real things. Stuff like adverts and films, sure, but not because of boys.  

He told me I had been quite the Bitch in those first few exchanges in the break up period. Of course I already knew this. It had been a game I’d played knowingly. He had, however, never retaliated.

Except for one time. Lying there in his bed I finally felt comfortable enough to admit this.

“There was this one thing which you said that really upset me.”

“I know exactly what you’re going to say” he replied immediately.

“The part where you wanted to be just friends, but I said ‘it’s hard to be friends with someone you’ve seen naked’ and you said, ‘Yeah I think we should never have done that’?”

“Yeah, I knew that would get you.”

 

And it had! The thought that he’s regretted us! It just never occurred to me he was playing the ‘Bitch Game’ too!

Knowing that he was playing along was far more comforting than I ever expected. He hadn’t regretted anything. He wanted me there and if I had been playing that game too then I knew the rules. You had to be hurt to play and you have to care in order to hurt.

 

When it came to my handbag I remembered very quickly how awful the sight of vomit made me feel. I stood quivering in his bathroom trying not to repeat the process of the night before.

Finally there was a knock at the door and I let him in. Somehow I was still a little embarrassed, but when he sent me away and told me he would deal with it, I took it as my ‘get out of jail free card’.

Presenting me with a relatively clean handbag and all the tools from within, now vomit free, which I so needed to brave the outside world, what else could I do but throw my arms around him and tell him: “I loved You!”

“Don’t take that the wrong way.” I added hastily…

… So where does that leave us?