Until I felt a tap on my shoulder and turned around to see Fife. This time it wasn’t a dream. Fife was actually standing in my lounge.
If he and I had been in a normal situation – one where I was NOT living with my other boyfriend – I would have been so happy to see him. To have him there to meet all my friends and be a part of my life. Then again, if we were in a normal relationship, I would have invited him to the party in the first place. So, because we were not in a normal relationship, I just said, ‘What are you doing here?’
‘You won’t return my calls. You won’t talk to me. What else was I supposed to do?’
I checked my phone, and he’d been trying to call, but I hadn’t heard the phone because of the music. But I probably wouldn’t have answered the call anyway, as tonight was not an appropriate time to talk with Fife about ‘us’. I took him outside, and we went down stairs and sat on the little wall in front of my block of flast next to the pavement.
Sitting on the wall, I asked about his kids, he didn’t leave them alone? He looked horrified that I’d even suggest as much, ‘They’re in bed. And [Helen]’s home.’
‘Oh. Right,’ I said.
‘I didn’t know you were having a party,’ he said. ‘One of your housemate’s birthday I assume. Yours is in August. Right?’
‘Yep.’ But I couldn’t avoid it any longer. We needed to talk about this, ‘I’m not upset that you’re still married. Or even that you still live with your wife,’ I said. ‘But it’s a lot to take in. And suddenly it makes us very serious. I mean there’s an ex-wife, and kids, and habitation issues, and childcare issues, and well. Stuff.’
He said that I knew most of that before we started seeing each other. Nothing’s really changed. ‘You’ve got house guests, or flatmates. So, do I. My housemate just happens to also be my children’s mother.’
It was time. Even though I was going to break up with Pete tomorrow, I had to tell Fife about Pete now. He’s being truthful with me. He’s the one trying to talk and be open. Yet, I’m worried he’s lying and not being honest, when really I’m the one with something to hide. Plus I could get busted at any minute. I had to tell him.
‘See there’s a bigger issue. One of my house guests, the one whose birthday is today, he’s my boyfriend.’
There I said it.
Fife was silent. I tried reading his face, but it was blank. Completely blank. I tried to explain. I told him that I met Pete while travelling, after Greece. That he just turned up in the UK. I thought it would work between us, but it was a holiday romance. He should have never come to Dundee, and Pete and I have really been over since before Fife and I hooked up. I explained that I hadn’t broken it off with Pete, because he’s jobless, penniless, visa-less, and really has no where to go. And we aren’t sleeping together.
‘You haven’t broken it off with him then?’ Fife asked.
‘No,’ I explained. ‘Because he has no where to go. It would be cruel.
I could now read Fife’s expression and it was not good. First, he said that if I was that worried for Pete’s welfare, then I could have broken-up with him, but let him continue to live in the flat. That it was worse to lead Pete on than to tell him the truth. Then Fife asked where Pete was sleeping.
I said that he’s still sleeps in the bed with me, but nothing happens. Ever. And half the time he falls asleep in the lounge, and I don’t bother to move him. I added that even though Pete and I haven’t split up, we’re living platonically. Truly we were.
‘So, you still share a bed with your boyfriend, not even your ex-boyfriend, and I’m the bad guy. I am still living with my ex because we have children. Children that I love. Children that need me to be with them. Yet, somehow, when you found out that I’m still sharing a house with their mother, not a bed, or even a bedroom, you refused to talk to me. I cannot believe this!’
He’d stood up and was pacing. Suddenly Fife looked his entire 6 foot 3 stature. He kicked the rubbish bin and yelled, ‘I cannot believe this. What the fuck!’
I tried to explain to Fife that I hadn’t responded to his calls, not because I was mad about his situation, but because it just highlighted my own situation. And I had to think about everything. I wanted to just mull things over. Plus, I couldn’t break up with Pete before his birthday; I was going to do it tomorrow. I swear.
‘Suddenly, he’s got a place to live other than with you. Yesterday he had no where to go. But, tomorrow it’s okay to kick him out, but not yesterday, or last week, or the second after you and I slept together?’ Fifewas really angry, and I couldn’t blame him. I had really fucked this up.
‘I’m sorry,’ I yelled. ‘I didn’t know what to do. But you didn’t tell me straight away that you weren’t divorced. You waited. You kept it from me.’
He stopped his pacing and argued that he only waited because he wanted to see where he and I were going. There was no point in bringing it up until he knew we were serious. I argued back that I was doing the same thing.
Not the right thing to say.
‘So, you were only going to break up with your boyfriend if you and I got serious. You planned on stringing both of us long while you made up your mind?’ He said.
That was so not what I meant. I meant that I wasn’t going to tell Fife about Pete until things got serious between us. That I needed to break up with Pete either way. Pete and I had been over for ages. But I didn’t want to tell Fife about it, because…well…I didn’t want to confuse things. And ‘I didn’t want you to think I was a bad person.’ I paused and then added, ‘Isn’t that what you were doing?’
Fife stopped pacing and said, ‘What are we going to do?’
I didn’t know what he meant. Did he want to finish with me after all? I wouldn’t have blamed him if he did.
‘My situation is not going to change anytime soon. I will continue to live with my children in that house. Whether or not [Helen] decides to stay is out of my control. You’ve got to understand that. But I can’t be with someone who’s got a boyfriend. I won’t be a mistress,’ he said.
‘A mistress?’ I questioned him.
‘A mister? I don’t know. What do you call the other man?’ he asked.
‘I guess he’s just called the other man?’ and with this he started to laugh.
He sat back down on the wall. I agreed that it was time to cut Pete loose. For everyone’s sake. He added that he’s been talking to his solicitor about divorce, but it wasn’t going to happen over night. I just needed to be patient, and a bit more understanding.
Right then, I wanted to bring him upstairs to the party. Show him off and introduce him to everyone. But no, not on Pete’s birthday. That would be so not cool. Fife and I agreed that tonight’s not the right time to take action. However, I promised – completely swore – that I’d break up with Pete tomorrow.
‘You are the best thing that’s happened to me in a long time. I know we’re moving quite fast but I’m okay with that. But neither one of us should be putting up with dishonesty. So, from now on, it’s the truth no matter what,’ he said.
I agreed, and he then said that I had to break it off with Pete, because he couldn’t be with someone who was sneaking around. To this added, ‘Good. Because I refuse to be a mister.’ He kissed me on the cheek and said that he’d talk to me tomorrow. I said that I have a lunch scheduled with my boss tomorrow, but I’d deal with Pete that evening.
Fife left, and I went back upstairs. CoolTrous asked who I was arguing with in the street. He could see me from the window. I said it was just a neighbour complaining about the noise. But not to worry, I sorted it.
I drank copious amounts again last night, and fell into bed as the birds were singing. When I got up this late this morning, I was in bed alone. Pete was on the bedtress with S, and as I said stoned and drunken bodies lie everywhere.
Tonight, when I get home, I’ve got to finally have ‘the talk’. I keep replaying Fifeand I sitting outside the flat over and over again in my head. When I wrote it down just now for the post, I’m amazed at how much of our conversation I remember verbatim. But I guess it just proves how important that conversation was. I need to break it off with Pete. For the sake of Fife and I’s relationship, for the sake of Pete, and for my own sanity.