Sometimes the most passionate of all love is the unobtainable version. Women
flock to sell-out tours of boy-bands around the world, and jump onto live
train-rails when their idols get married. Guys dream about one day accidentally
bumping into Christina Aguilera and delivering the perfect chat-up line that gets
her interested in them. When you crave after someone and think of them
constantly and you’re young, you need a resilient heart to survive the trauma of
actually getting that person..and losing them. Sometimes the person isn’t even
a celebrity. Sometimes it’s your best-friends girlfriend.
Everybody remembers their first love, and the often-accompanying first heartbreak. I sure do, and whilst I wont say I suffered more than the average Joe, I certainly felt at the time like I did. The events in this story mark what was a certain turning point in my life regarding the transformation of being what was definitely an extremely gawky teenager into a confident, and not unattractive young man. Let Uncle Kris elaborate for ya...
This is 1995, and with the Beatles pumping through my Walkman, and the sun of a new summer beating down on my face as I walked, I was what Taratino’s scripts might classify as “one young, hip, happening, happy ass mutherf*cker”..
I’d spent countless summers as a youth hanging around on the beach, chasing girls, getting drunk, and since every summer there was an infusion of Scandinavian’s arriving for short two week English courses in my town, it was like Bag-em-and-Shag-em city, with guys falling over themselves to make out with all the stunning Swedes and Norwegians milling around the seafront. It was often quite amusing to watch English girls trying to stop their ‘men’ for deviating to the more-often-than-not prettier and more feminine Scandinavian chicks, who were just looking for a bit of fun and a few memories to take home with them (their virginity would remain forever in England, though J). Those were fantastic and hectic days, full of adventure and passion, and, more often than not, fierce heartbreak as the girl you’d just fallen in love with waved good-bye tearfully through the window of the taxi on her way to the airport. All in all, I cherished those days of my youth, which left me with adoration for Scandinavian babes that was only to become second to Japanese chicks in the future. However, enough of that shit, it’s irrelevant to the tale I’m going to tell, this story is about one girl, the one girl I think we can all relate to. The first love.
“Hey Kris you c*nt, are you coming down the pier tonight for a piss up??”, screamed a drunken voice of one of my friends. It was Chubs, down the phone through the merry singing of what sounded like more than one of my regular summer drinking buddies. Mum was near and I cringed as she looked at me with disdain, overhearing his loud voice. Guys who hang out rarely refer to each other as ‘friend’ in England, often preferring to use rather more vulgar yet playful words to address their closest pals. Yeah, you know you’re definitely one of the dudes when they embrace you with ‘bitch’, ‘Monkey man’,’whoar’ or even the affectionate ‘faggot’.
It was already 7:30 and they were all drunk. Actually, so was I but I’d been doing my loner thing during the day. At 18 and on the dole, there was nothing better to do, either look for a job when there wasn’t any, or hang around on a sunny beach all day philosophising about shit or going home to an irate mother who, having just banged out a stressful day of work, was more than happy to unload her grief none-too-politely to her, ‘parasitic, worthless, lazy sod for a son’. I’d just come back for ten minutes and had already received an earful of it - 10 minutes more and I think Id’ve definitely cracked a chair over the old girls head, so you can imagine my relief when the phone rang and Chubs gave me a good excuse to get the hell out of there. Grabbing my jacket and a cold can of cider from the fridge, I dashed off with my mums curses still ringing in my ear, and an hour later I was sniffing glue with my buddies in a public toilet somewhere along the seafront. Drinking cocktails of whisky and Bacardi in nowhere near a safe enough moderation was better than sex for me (not that I’d had any by that age).
I was still wondering who the hell the people were around me – I guess we were just lost boys who hardly knew each other, and yet, were united by one the common cause, to get laid before the end of the summer. These guys were like ghosts I never saw after winter had crawled in - back to their dull jobs or education no doubt – who’d return every summer, same time, same place, same purpose. In fact, Chubs was the only guy I’d regularly hung-out with. Not that we had that much in common, but he lived close, liked to drink, and was an uglier than me, so that was good enough. Our whole relationship was based on competitiveness; who could smoke more dope; who could drink the most; who was better at video-games, and who could get the prettiest girl. I have to hand it to him..on the last point, Chubs won hands down. We spotted her as we were smoking some ganja on a bench on the pedestrian walking zone along the seafront. Well, I spotted her, everyone else’s attention was focused on the rolling of the next spliff, but as I glanced over my shoulder to see if anybody was near, I saw a Hawain-esque beauty come towards me, with wind-blown soft brown hair emanating like lambent flame through the sunlight, and I could hardly move my eyes away. I felt drawn to her. Like an idiot, I let her pass me by, but was that a smile I saw from her lips?. The only love of my life at that time was the cans of cider I constantly drank from..I was a lonely guy..
Anyway, later on, hours after the alcohol had gone dry; I was starting to get sober, which was never a good thing. The bouncers at the International Student Disco had grown wise that we were all actually English lads, despite our pathetic attempts to procure foreign accents - well, actually it was the others that hashed it up, my Gerard Depardieu was pretty good – so we couldn’t gain entry anymore, so we were screwed and decided to lash it up again in the pier pub. The dangerous cocktails of hinder were starting to take effect, and I was feeling like I could spew at any moment. Chubs however was keen to carry on checking out the birds hanging outside the front of the pier, so I suggested he go alone, and I’d join him once my stomach had settled. What a mistake. I’d almost given up on waiting for him to come back, and was just about to call it a night, when he came back into the pub with a big grin on his fat bastard face. Apparently he’d just got off with some girl he’d met outside, and was thrilled to bits, as she was so beautiful. Now usually, when Chubs says a girl is beautiful, they’re the kind of girls that could audition for a remake of the Elephant Man. So a week later, when I was preparing to meet Chubs and his new ‘girlfriend’ I was dubious to say the least. As I entered the pub we’d agreed to meet at I saw the outline of Chubs and the girl, and a mild shock equivelant to that of a truck hitting me ran up my spine. When I walked round to face him, I realised my fears were true. The babe from the seafront!! Oh man!! And she was even foxier than I’d thought she was before. With Chubs?? That chunky butt waster? I couldn’t believe it.. I smiled at the happy looking couple, but inside my heart was bleeding. I had a major attack of the green-eyed monster. Chubs didn’t know what love was, he was, in a manner of speaking...a grunt. The kind of guy who spent his life in the pub, and chased anything with a c*nt and a heartbeat, and with the charm of pond-life. A girl was simply a trophy for him, to be displayed in front of admirers. He never dreamed of finding that perfect girl, who could love him and treat him well, and vice versa, he was totally a “I don’t care if you’ve got a head-ache, you’re shagging tonight or you’re walking home alone” kind of guy..It never bothered me before that he’d been with girls and I hadn’t, as the kind of girls he’d gone with were the kind that everybody goes with. But this girl…this beauty….I could tell she was special before she even opened her mouth..A bum like Chubs was simply unworthy. There’s just no other way to describe it.
“Kris, this is Vivian”
So, her name was Vivian. Well, that wasn't her real name, but the one I'm giving you. Actually when years later I asked her mother why she had given her daughter that particular unique name that was her real name, she said it meant 'Princess' in Chinese and was the first name that had come into her head as the child was born. and if ever there were ever a girl that fit the description of a princess, Vivian was it.
So you guys think I only chase women from the Orient because of their ease to get into bed and not just their looks? Nope. This girl was actually born and raised in England – a product of a Taiwanese mother and a British ex-soldier, who would return from Taiwan with a pregnant wife he would later beat to the brink of death, until she finally gathered to courage to leave him. To raise two kids in a foreign land when you hardly speak the language is no menial task. Vivian was exquisite. By some grace of nature she seemed to harbour the ideal characteristics of the two nations that she was derived from, both mentally and physically. On the British side, she had a long, curvaceous body with ample cleavge, yet with a petite waist only found in women from the Far East, or in cartoon characters. She had mystical brown eyes, but they shone with humour and sunshine – in no way comparable to those of the sceptical, untrusting Chinese. She was everything I found attractive in English and Asian women rolled into one perfect Barbie Doll package. I joke you not, often English women to me seem to be as aggressive as female Klingons you see on Star Trek, but Vivian, although basically English, had been raised singly by her Taiwanese mother, and as a by-product to that, was very feminine and gracious. I luxuriated in her company and felt an attraction to her which was hard to hide. I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect girlfriend. But she wasn’t mine. Hideous fate had destined it never to be.
Winter came and went. As Autumn approached my feelings for Vivian grew and grew. I’d hoped that the spell she had on me would eventually wear off, but the more I saw her, the more I grew fond of her. We became a close circle of three, me, Vivian, and Chubs, and although Vivian often tried to pair me off with friends of hers, she gradually came to the realisation that I was completely and utterly in love with her, a rumour which had spread through the crowd we hung out with by my brother, who was probably sick of my constant chatter about how she was my dream girl, and how I wished that I’d beaten Chubs to her. It was the big secret in the group, and Chubs may have cottoned on, but nobody knew if so, and he never confronted me about it, instead relishing in the pleasure that this time, he truly had one over me. I had to figure a way to prove to Vivian that I was a better guy. F*ck it..I knew it was immature at the time, but I wanted her so badly I was unable to sleep.
So like any sly bastard who can’t convince a girl he’s the right guy for her, I tried to convince her family of it instead.
I’d managed to get invite to Vivian’s 3 bedroom flat she shared with her mum and her sister by ‘accidentally’ bumping into the whole family in Sainsbury’s and acting curious as to what Vivian’s place looked like. That I’d never tried Taiwanese food before. Without further ado, her mother declared she would cook me a whole banquet of Taiwanese food that very night, and dressed in my best, I turned up at the door quarter of an hour before I was supposed to, with a box of chocolates for the family. Vivian opened the door and she was radiant as usual. I saw her cobalt painted toenails and couldn’t believe how much something like that could turn me on. Shit, even this chicks feet got me going, I remember thinking as I walked in and gave the present to her mum, who was not your typical Asian woman, and gave me a huge hug for doing so. I was so aroused and excited by being surrounded by beautiful exotic women for the first time in my life, with the smell of perfume lingering in the air, and that feeling still sticks in my mind to this day.
Having left what I knew to be a good impression before I left that night, and I could almost imagine Vivian’s mum questioning Vivian as to why she hadn’t chosen me instead of Chubs as a boyfriend. I slept with a smile on my face that night.
That was the start of many a secret rendezvous between Vivian and I. We’d been to the cinema together, the pubs, the beach, and one night we just decided that sitting outside her house watching the moon in the sky under cover of a street-bunker was good enough. It was one of those rare humid nights that just simply never happen in the UK, and previously we’d been walking around, both now exhausted from the sun. The moon was bright, and all I could hear was the soft baying of the sea waves creeping up onto the pebbles. It was a romantic situation that affected both Vivian and I. Tired, I lay down, with my head on her lap, and she softly stroked my hair. I’d never felt that relaxed with another person up until that point in my life. Her perfume dazed me and set my mind to wander, and, closing my eyes but just intending to rest a little, I ended up falling asleep. When I woke up, she was also lying on her side beside me on the bench. It was one of those unique intimate moments in your life that you always remember. My face was inches from hers, and she was staring into my eyes. She’d been watching me sleep. All I could see was the shadows of her face, and the specular highlights of her eyes reflecting from the moon. There was a tense moment, but as my eyes fell to the moisture on her lips, I moved in for the kill. That was my first kiss. I mean, real kiss. One that meant something. It lasted a full 10 minutes, but finally, she had to go. I watched up walk up the steps to her house and give me one final smile as she closed the door.
Like any love-sick guy I tried to get in touch with her over the next few weeks, but I couldn’t. It would probably be obvious to others that she was trying to avoid me, but in my hopeful mind she had a genuine reason for not getting in touch. Of course, seeing Chubs made me feel guilty, but at least he wouldn’t be able to smile at me like a smug bastard anymore when we had conversations about Vivian, hinting that he had something I would never have.
It was a painful lesson to learn, but eventually I realised that Vivian wasn’t going to leave Chubs for me. She was after all, raised in a way that encouraged non-confrontation, and she would’ve found it difficult to tell me. Fact is, she was a homely girl who would basically settle with any guy who treated her nice, without deviating. That was another thing I liked about her. It just made me want to fight harder for her.
It became more and more obvious that Vivian and I had got up to something amongst our circle of friends. And we were still attracted to each-other despite the fact that she was still with her boyfriend and wouldn’t leave him. For me it was a constant source of anxiety and depression waiting to see if she was going to make the break and go for me, and I tried to manipulate situations were we could be together, but all to no avail. The basic attraction was still there though and our eyes met on more than one occasion across the room, noticeable by everyone. It was hard not to give the game away. And there was a tangible animosity in the air between me and Chubs, ticking away like a bomb. Then one day the secret was out, “Vivian told Chubs what had happened between you two” my bro informed me on a Friday evening. I had no idea what Chubs would do the next time I saw him, and actually, if he was gonna start a fight with me, I wasn’t so sure that I would bother fighting back, or at least I would let him get in the first few punches, as I was, in theory, the bad guy here. Call that honour gleamed from watching too many Kung Fu movies or some shit, but I just felt that I didn’t want steal a guys girlfriend ‘and’ beat the shit out of him at the same time.
I was sitting down with the same group of friends on the Saturday as usual when we heard the intercom. It was Chubs, he was coming up to the flat. My heart stopped. This was it. Everybody looked at me, to see if I was gonna run and hide, or stay and fight. We heard the door open, and I watched him come into the room, say some greetings, and sit opposite me. Vivian was behind him and quietly sat down on the couch next to my brother, not even a whisper or a glance in my direction, her eyes locked onto the TV. Chubs was glaring at me. Something snapped inside of me, some inner monologue screaming “Are you a pussy Kris?”.
“Hello Chubs” I said, my eyes burning into him. “I can take you, you fat fucker” they said. This cunt wasn’t gonna lay a finger on me unless he wants it broken. I could see he was thinking. Everyone else was playing on the Playstation, pretending as though they knew nothing, but they all had their ears pricked. He pulled a bottle of vodka out of a carrier bag, and placed it on the table. “Do you want a drink?” he said in an unemotional voice. Fuck it, was that a smile I saw curl ever so slightly on his face?
What the hell is that? Is that it? “Do you want a drink?”. Here I was half expecting to dodge a right hook, and counter with a head-butt, and he calmly acts as though I hadn’t had my tongue down his girlfriends throat two weeks prior to the day. My mind was racing. Was he going to get me drunk so that he could kick me in easier? Was he stalling? Was he just gonna play it cool, and then crack the bottle over my head when I wasn’t expecting it?.
I played along with his game, and we started drinking. We didn’t talk, and it was obvious to every single person in that room, that he knew the score, and I knew the score, the tension was mounting. I didn’t let Chubs out of my peripheral vision for a full 2 hours.
But nothing happened that night, he left a little drunkenly with his girlfriend, and I was left with a puzzled look on my face. That was the last time I ever saw Chubs.
“What a pussy!!!” one of my friends said laughing. Of course that was what
they all assumed. Perhaps that was the truth, maybe he’d simply bottled it,
knowing that he wasn’t gonna kick my ass without getting a few good licks
himself. Or else he’d just planned to give me the guilt-trip treatment from Chubs
and it had worked 100%. I felt like a true cunt, and more remote to the idea of
breaking up Chubs and Vivian than ever before.
Chubs had fooled the lot of us. What in fact was true, I found out months later, was that Chubs actually didn’t give a shit about Vivian. He didn’t even fancy her, he just knew how good-looking she was, and the popularity it would give him having a girlfriend like that All along, she was just a way that he could get at me, getting his kick from watching the pained expression on my face as he told me tales of how he’d screwed her brains out on a regular basis. He’d never loved her, and left her for a woman with 3 kids shortly after. Last thing I heard he’s blown 15 grand of his grandparents will on cocaine, and was a full-time drug dealer in Tunbridge Wells.
After that night I’d decided to, well, grow up. I didn’t ever want to be in the
same situation as that again, and even though Vivian was my dream girl, I just
decided she wasn’t worth it in the end. I was gonna change. Stop being a
bloody dreamer and a wisher all the time. I was gonna become stronger,
mentally and physically. I was going to make women lust after me, instead of
the other way round as always. I was in a sense going to become the kind of
man women read about in romance novels. Vivian was just torturing me, and I
came to the conclusion that I’d have to cut her off out of my life, and naturally,
Chubs too. I ripped up Vivian’s telephone number, hid myself in my room, and
dejected, began to spend more and more time alone, waiting for the black cloud
to pass over my mind. As I raked my hands through my hair night after night in
distress, I wondered how long it would take for the Vivian Withdrawal Symptoms
to wear off.
When does love die? When the heart dies I concluded. All the loves in my life are still dear to me, and even though we go our own ways, they will be forever in my memory. ichi go, ichi e - one meeting, one meaning..
Vivian dated a bunch of loser guys for about a year after that until she finally
ended up with another friend of mine, who knows how to treat a woman with
respect and is in love with her I hear. Although I still wonder if I ever could
have ended up with Vivian, in many ways I’m glad it was never to be, as I
probably would never have gone to Japan if we had become a couple.
I even stopped hanging around my dope-head friends, although I’d see them down the video arcade occasionally. I took up Judo and entered college. Judo was a perfect medium to vent my rage in, and it soon became a passion of mine. Being the fit guy I was at the time, I decided to start to use gym weight-lifting equipment to supplement my martial arts training, and one day nearly dropped a weight on my foot when a stunning young Japanese women with thick black wavy hair walked in one day, and knocked me for six with her smile. Little did I know she would be the main catalyst for one of the greatest adventures in my life. And the rest, they say, is Young Dudes history.
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