Next Best Thing

11 Feb


It was perpetual summer, richly fragrant with potent mary jane and pungent patchouli.

I was sixteen.

She was two years older – so far out of my league that she should never have even noticed me.  And yet somehow I was there, amazed at my good fortune, hopelessly in love with her, and in complete awe of her friends. They were ultra-hip, achingly cool and comfortably rich.

Whereas I owned the Levi’s I stood up in, a couple of faded shirts, a borrowed guitar, and my notebook of spidery poems.

There was a gentle candle-lit dinner party in one of daddy’s spare houses.  The room was beamed and flagged and full of style and music. I was a pretty boy – an amusing novelty to wear like a trinket on her arm.  Although I never realised that at the time.

The conversation turned to views of what a perfect partner might be.  She waxed lyrical about what would excite her.  Intelligence, a sense of humour, a slim, slender physique, a writer, a revolutionary, a mass of golden curls, eyes that could both command and romance.  I swear she was looking at me. I thought she was talking about me.  I was young, proud and special.  I had smoked perhaps a little too much dope.

‘Thank you.’ I said, when she had finished.

There was a moment of stunned silence before the table erupted with mocking laughter.  She reached across and patted my hand.

‘Oh, darling boy.  Did you think I meant you?’

I lowered my eyes, blushing fiercely, almost tearful at my own stupidity.

‘Don’t worry,’ she consoled me. ‘you are the next best thing.’  There was more laughter.

It was an instructive and humbling moment that I promised myself I would never forget.

It still lives on, all these years later, in my e-mail address:




© the author writing as Romantic Dominant

I first posted this in 2012 writing about a memory of my teens that never faded. I suspect we have all had moments like these in our formative years

Photograph by Matt Eaton


Posted by on February 11, 2020 in Lovers Past, Still Life


Tags: , , , , , , , ,

11 responses to “Next Best Thing

  1. Dale

    February 11, 2020 at 6:26 pm

    This is definitely a memory that would stick! Call it a lesson learnt…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. ~M

    February 11, 2020 at 6:55 pm

    Some people just aren’t able to see anything beyond themselves.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Romantic Dominant

      February 11, 2020 at 6:55 pm

      Smiles. I am not sure I could in those days.

      Liked by 1 person

      • ~M

        February 11, 2020 at 7:00 pm

        I think these kinds of situations can often crush a young, innocent spirit. It sounds like you had a good sense of who you were and there’s nothing wrong with that.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. In mind and out

    February 12, 2020 at 7:43 am

    Clearly, she did not know what she was. missing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Romantic Dominant

      February 12, 2020 at 7:54 am

      Smiles. I glow at the compliment. Thank you. Yet I was gauche and naive then. Even more than I am now.

      Liked by 1 person

      • In mind and out

        February 12, 2020 at 8:06 am

        What to say? When do we ever feel we are not the next best thing…? Maybe that’s a reflection of my current mood but it is a test of character to not feel that way. To me, anyway. I’m glad you glow at the compliment. That was intentional.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. In mind and out

    February 12, 2020 at 8:27 am

    Now I’m smiling too. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person


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