She certainly SEEMED to be…

In 1989 I gave up my job and travelled round the US for 2 months on trains, with my then girlfriend. I came back and got a temp job doing something really boring at the National Film Theatre (now BFI South Bank). And in the little room where I worked was L, then 19 and living with her parents (though I thought she was much, much older. She certainly SEEMED to be…).

Anyway, I worked there for three months at the start of 1990, and she was great, and we laughed a lot and flirted. But she had a long-term boyfriend, and I had my gf (who I broke up with later that year), so we didn’t quite do anything, but went for lots and lots of drinks in the NFT bar…

I felt – for the first time in my life – great, because I’d just been round the US and come back and walked into this temp job and flirted with an attractive woman… The world was my oyster!

After I left the NFT, I kept seeing her off and on for a year for drinks. And then I met K, and went out with her, and only saw L once more (she who was STILL going out with her boyfriend…).

I didn’t see her at all from 1991 till March this year. She’d wanted to ‘Friend’ me on Facebook just when I’d had the stroke (she didn’t know about it). When I came home from Northwick Park, I saw it (among ten other ‘Friend’ requests) … and did nothing. I couldn’t begin to say: Hi, I had a stroke. Shall we meet?

This year, at last, feeling ‘better’, I just messaged anyone I felt like, and eventually thought: I’ll try L…

And it was exactly as if we’d never been apart (for 26 years…). She made JOKES, even though she knew by now, on the grapevine, that I’d had a stroke and was (mimes slitting throat…).

Anyway, by coincidence she lived in Hackney (just near where you came to see us in 2001 or so)… And her house was really near Headway East London, a brain-injury charity I go to occasionally. And – as chance would have it – I was going there next week. So I suggested a meeting… a drink that went on for 6 hours! I talked a lot about Mistley – and said: You must come and see for yourself…

And two weeks later she did!

Well, that was six months ago…


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I had a stroke on July 26th, 2013. I was a screenwriter. Don’t do that anymore. But have found another way to write.

One thought on “She certainly SEEMED to be…”

  1. Headway East London has been something of a revelation – you come away from there feeling the opposite of what you’d expect. A warm, authentic place – no need for the throat-slitting gesture at all.


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