Belgrade wasn’t anywhere to be seen on the arrivals board. I called Liz. ‘I think he made up and forwarded me some fake flight details,’ I said. ‘He didn’t forward the flight confirmation booking. Only the actual flight times were on the email.’
‘I’m sure the flight has simply changed since he booked. Go to the KLM desk,’ Liz reassured me.
When we first met, the boy from Belgrade had rushed straight from meetings to bid me farewell at the airport (the gate had opened by the time he arrived); six weeks later and I was expecting a no-show. This was because three weeks after meeting the messages slowed and his suggested holiday still hadn’t been booked. I texted him a few days before his expected arrival, ‘I have another invite for the weekend so it really doesn’t matter if you can’t make it.’ He confirmed he would be on the flight and had merely been busy.
While I spoke to the staff at the KLM travel desk, Plan B’s warning, ‘look at your history with flash guys’ rang in my ears.
But Liz was correct and following a delay, the boy from Belgrade finally arrived bearing gifts; a beautiful buttersoft leather handbag and two very good bottles of wine. Our weekend was full of enjoyable things except one; he avoided mentioning anything about us meeting up in the future. It was clear he had no intention of seeing me again. ‘Good luck with the new job,’ he said, as we parted.
‘That’s next month,’ I replied.
‘We’ll stay in touch,’ he said, turning away.
‘A young, good-looking, successful guy wouldn’t fly out to see you just for a weekend,’ Liz assured me. This time she wasn’t correct.
I don’t think he was expecting me to call him out on his intentions. ‘You are being blunt and direct like the Dutch,’ he began. And there followed a long message about his former fiancée struggling to find opportunities in Belgrade, how much he had wanted to see me again after Belgrade, how he was trying to do the right thing, a list of compliments and finally, the rejection.
I don’t think he was expecting the polite English girl to tell him that his actions had been calculating and that he should have been honest before the visit and given me the option to decide whether I wanted him to visit for the weekend. Like the other stand-up guys, he defended himself; alternating between back-tracking and blaming me.
Perhaps I need to take Trustafarian’s advice and date older rather than younger men. After a couple of tearful days, the Politician I’d met a few weeks ago called me with an invite to a society event. And this morning, as I stepped into the lift to my office, a lady said, ‘What a beautiful handbag.’
‘Thank you,’ I smiled.