Max and I were watching Blue is the warmest colour on netflix, on my laptop. Suddenly there was a little ping and a tiny rectangle slid into view in the top right hand corner of the screen. It was a message from Lars – Just got back from Belgium. Feeling frisky xxLxX. Just as well I believed in an honest and open relationship or it could have been an awkward moment. Max took it with remarkable sangfroid. The next day I replied to L’s message and suggested that I might be able to see him midweek, but that it might have to be another midnight tryst.
Suddenly though a previously arranged date was cancelled as R bailed on me at the last minute pleading a head cold. It was fairly timely just as Lars had put out his feelers to meet up. I told him about the change in plans and he offered to cook for me again. I went round with a bottle of Sancerre as he was making the finishing touches to a Flemish dish involving white asparagus. Mm one of my favourite vegetables. He served it with mash and we talked mainly about the upcoming election. He said he couldn’t imagine living in a borough which might return a Tory candidate. Not being British he did not have the right to vote but it was clear where his politics lay.
Lars lived in an unpretentious flat in an ex council house block built in the 70s. It was all concrete and grey angularity. Inside though he had decorated it with African masks and artwork by friends. There was a red hued almost life size portrait of a woman with her back to the viewer, her face half turned in profile. It was soft and drew you in with her demure glance. It hung in his small square dining room which opened out onto a bleak balcony with a view of a car park. In the next room Lars had his modular bed like sofa against a picture window with the same aspect as the balcony. Next to this window was an inky sketch of a fairly monstrous figure, the head bound in a misshapen head gear and triangular flaps at its arms hiding the hands. When Lars told me it was by the same painter responsible for the soft figure in red I couldn’t believe it at all.
After the meal he brought out an inhaling device which he filled with ganja. We talked about his travel plans and his encouraging his partner who was moving abroad, to find someone else there. They would continue to see each other but obviously, with the distance, the regularity would be reduced. When I told him about Max reading his text message he said something similar had happened when he received a message from me two weekends ago and he had been with his partner. We both congratulated each other on our openness but I did feel slightly embarrassed that his partner had read my message. We had moved to the sofa by then and the inevitable happened. Later, at past midnight I kissed him goodbye and drove home. In a few hours the polling stations would be open. And I will be going to Max’s later in the evening where he was holding a small party with his friends to receive some of the results.