We diverted away from the tree talk, but I could tell that I would like Q. Anyone who can play along with my somewhat odd bits is okay in my books. I also liked that he asked me a lot of questions, not like in a job interview way, but with genuine interest. It felt like we were very much having a proper conversation, rather than him just wanting to talk about himself.
There was a moment in our conversation that made me do an eye roll, when he asked me where I was from. This sounds innocent enough, but when you are Not White™, these questions get very tired very quickly. It’s a very visceral reaction for me, like when I see the head tilt people do when they read my last name.
I tried to quickly breeze past it. “I’m from Brighton and currently live in Surrey, you?”
“I’m from near Leeds and living in Croydon at the moment,” he said, “but don’t let either of those put you off!”
“Oh cool – I went to uni in Sheffield but still haven’t been to Leeds.”
Luckily, he didn’t pry any further about where I’m ‘from from.’ And I don’t know, maybe it was just an innocent question with no hidden meaning, but it’s hard not to read into these things when you’re mixed race and have dealt with being ‘othered’ all of your life.
After a couple more days of chat, Q said, “Ella… can I ask you a question?”
“How ominous,” I replied, “ask away.”
“Might sound weird, but have you ever tried a prune?”
“That was… not a question I was expecting,” I said, accompanying it with the cry laughing emoji, “But I have tried a prune.”
“How about a date?”
Probably THE CHEESIEST way I have ever been asked out, but it did make me laugh. “What a journey we just went on,” I said, “A date sounds great.”
“Perfect!” he replied, “Fingers crossed you’re not just enthusiastic about fruit.”
We swapped numbers and moved the conversation to iMessage, brainstorming where we could go out for a drink. We both worked around Victoria and Westminster, and since I was still pretty new to the area, I went to my good friend Google Maps to find some nice bars. I ended up finding a place called Clarendon Cocktail Bar, which had some pretty good reviews, so I floated the idea to Q, and a date was set.
I arrived there first, and let me tell you, it was COOL AS HELL. It was in the basement of this place called Cambridge Kitchen, which looked cute as hell too. But the bar looked like a speakeasy, and the staff there were kind of dressed like something out of the 1920s. The bartender brought over a menu that was printed on a bunch of coasters, and all the cocktails were names after iconic films – The Titanic, Kill Bill, Driving Miss Daisy, etc.
Q arrived, and when I stood up to hug him, I noticed that he was SO TALL. Like, maybe a clear foot taller than me, and I’m not a sort woman by any means. He was dressed pretty dapper too, all suited and booted, which indicated that he had a fancy job.
Q and I got on really well. There were no awkward silences and we bounced off each other pretty well. He had a silly, yet slightly dark, and self-deprecating sense of humour. When we were talking about our families, he mentioned that he had two older siblings and a younger sibling, and so “I’m just happy to be alive.” This made me laugh quite a lot, as it is typical middle child behaviour, and ‘just happy to be alive’ became our catch phrase of the night.
We even spoke about astrology! Well, I mostly did, and he seemed genuinely interested in it (or was just very good at humouring me). I told him all about my sun, moon and rising (Leo, Virgo, Virgo, in case y’all were wondering), and while he didn’t know his other big two, he knew his sun was in Aquarius, and asked me whether that was ‘good’ in terms of our comparability.
Now, any astrology-head will know that the best planet to look at romantic compatibility is your Venus sign, but we didn’t have his (I know one’s asked but mine’s in Gemini, FYI, which explains A LOT about me and why I’m doing this crazy project). However, in terms of sun signs, Leo and Aquarius are sister signs, on the opposite side of the zodiac to one another. This generally has an ‘opposites attract’ vibe, meaning that what one sign lacks, the other can make up for. I’m still very new to astrology so all of my knowledge is quite basic, but it was nice to be able to chat to someone about it without feeling shamed about having interest in this ‘pseudo science’.
We kept drinking, and I got very tipsy. Bearing in mind that it was a school night, I suggested that we go get some food before parting ways, because there was no way that I was dealing with a hangover at work. He agreed, and of all places to go to soak up the alcohol, we chose Leon.
There we were, standing in front of the counters of Leon, he looks down at me, and I up at him, and he says, “Our first kiss isn’t gonna be at Leon,” and then he winks at me. Now, I’m not usually into people who wink. But, it’s a very different story when someone you fancy winks at you. I’m pretty sure I blushed.
We sat at a table after we ordered. I think I had the vegan burger. Honestly, the end of the night gets kind of fuzzy for me because of all the cocktails. But I do remember walking to Victoria station afterwards, and having a snog with him before we headed to our seperate platforms.
But what has happened since then? I guess you’ll just have to wait and find out!