My romantic life pre-Budleigh Salterton was a disaster. There was some serious talent at work. With a radar-like instinct, I would home in on the most needy lame-dog bad-for-me bloke possible and fall in love with him. Badly. It took a very long time for me to break this habit.
My relationship with the Pianist was typical. He was ridiculously talented. A post graduate at Warwick who looked like a rather sexy Flemish saint who seduced me by reading Samuel Beckett aloud. Just remembering how pretentious we must both have been is deeply embarrassing.
|Rogier van der Weyden's Reading Man. Bears a resemblance to ex love of my life.|
We spent hours and hours in pubs talking mainly about him and his problems. These were many, varied and required serious medical treatment. Naturally I was going to save him. My friends thought he was a dangerous weirdo, which should have been enough of a warning. Inevitably, I made all the excuses one makes at these times "Oh, he's quite different with me" after he'd been brutally rude yet again.
The Pianist spent quite a bit of time in and out of the local psychiatric hospital and I found it wildly romantic to visit him there. We would walk the grounds together, reciting gloomy poetry and on rainy days he would play Liszt on the piano. It was all very Byronic and I'm cringing as I write this.
The end was less Byronic and more Marx Brothers. The Pianist was duly discharged and we went on holiday to Padstow with his psychiatrist. As bizarre a menage as you can imagine. A week later, he ran away with her and was not seen again.
My mother did not even bother to hide her relief. "I thought you might marry him just because you're so stubborn" she admitted a year or so later when I'd stopped tramping around clutching my broken heart.
There's nothing like a 19 year old innocent for being a total idiot.