The love affair that started in New York continued in England for a couple of months. He was sweet, and young, and fresh, and even though I was very much in it for the moment, I loved spending time with him. He, on the other hand, would spend hours sighing and saying he wasn't ready for commitment, and I would sit there with a smile on my face, assuring him I didn't want commitment either, and wondering exactly why it was that he refused to believe this was possible.
I liked his sweetness and youth, given that my two relationships prior to him were...not sure how to describe them...ghastly? Dreadful? Ridiculous. Both were with men far older than I, and both with men who I not only wasn't attracted to, but could go so far as to say I was physically repulsed by. So why was I with them? Because they liked me! They adored me, and pursued me, and treated me like a goddess, so different from the men I had dated throughout my twenties who treated me like the doormat I believed myself to be.
How could I resist? Surely, it would have been rude to say no. So I got involved with, first one, who I liked enormously for his intelligence, his warmth and his humour, but physically I couldn't bear him near me, something about his smell, and then the second, who was just plain peculiar. In fact, the nicest thing I can think of to say about him was that I loved his house. Seriously. I think that was the beginning of my addiction to house porn, and I would lie in his enormous bathtub - rather different from my dripping shower stall in my grungy flat in Kensal Rise - and think, I could live like this! This could me mine, all mine (insert evil maniacal laugh and rubbing hands together in glee if you wish...).
Superficial? You think? Shameful I would say, but both were older, wiser, and they saw something in me I wasn't able to see in myself at the time, my self-esteem being, clearly, at an all-time low. But when I ended things with the second, I flew to New York, and loved falling in lust with someone my age, someone who, like me, didn't have a lavish lifestyle, someone who made me laugh and who I could talk to.
Eventually the commitment thing became too much of an issue for him and we broke up. I remember sitting with him in a cafe in Maida Vale and saying, with delight, I'm going to write a book about you! The character of Nick was born, but within just a few pages, Nick was completely different to the real thing. That's the beauty of writing fiction, you can make them funnier, better-looking, sweeter. You can iron out all their faults until you are left with someone who doesn't resemble the initial inspiration in the slightest.
Although I hear he still believes he is Nick, through and through.
I wish. Had that been the case, I would never have left so easily!