When your New Year’s Eve goes off with a bang…
Cor! I’m taking you back fifteen years to the New Year’s Eve of 2003. A time when I’d just turned 20 and I’d been dumped by the, then, love of my life. I thought we were going to be together forever. Oh, the naivety of youth.
I was still customer service manager for Budgens Supermarket back in those days. Good old Budgens. You rarely see them around on the high street these days.
A few weeks before my boyfriend had dumped me, I’d bought him a brand new mobile phone worth £150! Now, that was a lot of money back in those days. God, I’m starting to sound like me Nan. God rest her soul.
I can remember the moment of my realization as vividly as if it were yesterday. He still had his bloody mitts on the £150 phone. I was having none of it. There was no way he was keeping it. So I marched down to the hairdressers where he worked. It was two doors down from Budgens.
As I barged my way through the doors, I was greeted by a salon full of ladies having their blow drys, all getting ready to look glamorous to celebrate the New Year. But I didn’t care. I was still heartbroken and acting irrationally. Only five minutes before, I’d been in tears down the fruit and veg aisle as ‘All I want for Christmas’ played over the tannoy.
I bellowed to make myself heard over the hair dryers and as I did, I saw the salon manager making her way towards me.
“I WANT THE PHONE BACK!” I barked as I held my hand out. You could see the client’s eyes all lighting up as the hairdresser’s scorned ex made a scene. It was giving them all a juicy bit of gossip that they could share over a glass of champagne that evening.
“Mark! This is not the time or the place!”
“Just hand over the phone and I’ll leave!”
Back in the safety of my office, I had itchy fingers as I clutched the phone. I was battling with my conscience. Should I read his messages or not? The devil on my shoulder won the battle.
As I clicked open on the inbox, my eyebrows raised. Yes, I can promise you they did. It was the days before I started having botox. And my jaw dropped to the desk.
I witnessed many explicit messages between my ex and another man. All dating back to when we were still together! Part of me wished I’d never looked and the other part of me was glad I had. Although they do say ignorance is bliss.
I slammed the phone down on the desk as steam erupted from my ears. I looked up at the clock. 6pm. The salon would be closing. I decided I had to have it out with my ex. How dare he be sexting and seeing another man when we were still together. Bastard. I was so angry, I could have crushed a grape.
I peeped my head out of Budgens’ front door and I could see the salon was already in darkness. I knew he’d be waiting at the bus stop. I simply had to have it out with him. There was no way I was going into 2004 without dealing with this.
“JANE!” I screamed as I saw her filling up the shelves with Hovis loaves. She jumped to attention. Jane, bless her, and for her sins, was one of my best friends from my Budgens’ days. There was an incident once where she threw some Hovis loaves at me during an argument we were having. But I’ll save that story for another day.
“Please drive me to the bus stop!” I pleaded with her. She grabbed her car keys and we made a swift exit out of the supermarket doors. She screeched to a halt at the bus stop and I saw my ex gulp as I slammed the door shut and walk towards him.
In the meantime, Jane could sense I was about to start a cat-fight so she jumped out of the car as quickly as she could. But in her haste, her foot got caught in her seat belt and she went face first into the gutter.
As she scrambled back onto her feet, I had my hand raised ready to make my first move on my cheating ex. I slapped his face, a la Pat Butcher and Peggy Mitchell style. I took a deep breath and I started to make my way back towards the car. In my mind, a slap had bought the matter to a close.
But clearly my ex had different ideas, and before I knew it, I felt a foot up my backside and I went down to the pavement like a sack of shit. Onto my knees I fell as he kicked me up the derriere.
Too many years of watching Dynasty had prepared me for my next move in the inevitable cat-fight that was about to ensue.
I leapt from my knees like a pouncing tiger and jumped onto his back. We both hit the pavement like a sack of spuds and started to roll around, limp wrists clawing at each other, with no decorum whatsoever.
As we took it in turns to be on top (a first time for everything as he was always very selfish when it came to that normally), I saw out the corner of my eye that quite a crowd was beginning to gather around us.
“Look at Krystle and Alexis!” I heard a bystander call out. Being such a Dynasty fan, I oozed with pride. And hoped I was Alexis. Well, I prayed actually.
When Jane could see that there was going to be no outright winner of the cat-fight, she dragged us apart screaming.
“ENOUGH!” For anyone who doesn’t know Jane, let me tell you, she’s rather scary. She would be very good in the cast of Wentworth Prison. So me and the ex jumped to attention and got back onto our feet rather quickly.
Doing her best headmistress impression, Jane had a good grip on my arm. I assume it was to make sure I didn’t make a break for it and dish out another slap. She opened the car door and practically threw me into the passenger seat.
I couldn’t bear not to have the last word so as Jane started the engine, I wound down my window and stuck my head out into the cold winter air.
“HAPPY NEW YEAR!” I bellowed towards my ex. Jane sped off quicker than her usual speed.
Mark David Woollard graduated from Brunel University, West London in 2009 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Creative Writing and Journalism. Since then, he has written for many publications as a freelance writer. He has been ‘The Undateable Gay’ for The Gay UK magazine since 2015 where he documents his unsuccessful dating life. He wrote an opinion column for the national Student Times, discussing LGBT issues.
He also writes educational pieces for ‘Massage World’ magazine, giving advice to Reflexologists about treating certain ailments. He authored a novella in 2013 entitled ‘The Fun and Frolics of FIFI a L’Orange’, the crazy adventures of a drag queen.
And is currently working on a series of LGBT books for children and a collection of flash fiction.
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