A carboy is a big glass bottle containing perhaps 20 litres of liquid, but mine had two legs.
It was Friday night and I was winding down in the Winding Hole pub with two ex-boyfriends. The boys at the next table stopped talking about cars and stared at me. They are always there, always without girls, always talking about cars, I call them the carpool.
It was good to enjoy a quiet drink, I just wanted to chat, but the two exes had other ideas. Suddenly one stood up and yanked the other one to his feet.
Great idea, I don't think. They were going out of the pub to the street to fight – the winner wins me. I stood up and went to the other door on the canal side and there he was – right in front of me – the quietest one from the carpool – returning from the Gents.
I grabbed his hand. “Come with me!” Why did I do that? We stepped outside to the canal basin. He looked at me with his mouth open. He certainly didn't look like the boys I usually have. He spoke, he spoke in complete sentences, he spoke without pausing.
He told me all about the canal basin, the narrow boats, the warehouses, the coal and the timber and the grain. He told me about the boatyard, the wharf and the winding hole.
We crossed over a footbridge to the other side. “I live up there.” he said. “It's a converted warehouse.” We entered the building and passed several cars. “It's Jeff's workshop.” We climbed the stairs and entered his apartment.
I expected to see bits of car, oily pieces of engine, but “Oh, I had a girlfriend who showed me how to keep the place tidy and nice. I had to keep the place looking good for her, maybe not good enough, she didn't stay long, couple of months and she was... But I should not be telling you this.”
“It's OK.” I told him. “You're still in love with her, aren't you? No, don't answer that.”
I told him about my two stupid ex-boyfriends, I did not tell him that we had joked together that his real name was carboy. He was not who I expected him to be, I would have to think again.
“Would you like something to eat? I could make a spag bog or a chicken salad.”
No, never ever had a boy offered to cook for me. She had obviously taught him to cook.
I put my arm around him and we watched TV. I watch adverts, it's part of my job.
“What do I do? What ever I can. I repair car engines for Jeff and boat engines for John. John has a narrow boat with seats for the tourists, a half an hour boat ride to the next lock and back. I don't do that; I take them, that's the tourists, around the canal basin by foot and tell them about everything. Sorry, you got part of my spiel, I did not know what else to say.”
We saw a lot of each other in the next couple of months – he was different – but then it went wrong. I can talk about anything with anybody, just not about cars and not about sport.
John's boat engine blew up and guess who had to repair it. I did not see him for three weeks and no, I didn't want to know how many engines he had repaired, and no, I didn't want to know about the latest modification to the engine of his car.
It was Friday night or rather early Saturday morning when I finally got him where I wanted him to be. It was good until he told me about the latest modification, or tuning as he called it, to his car. He wouldn't stop – I went to the bathroom and out the front door.
I don't talk about cars, I don't own a car, but I use them when I need them. I hired a car, I phoned my sister, yes she wanted, I drove us for two hours into the countryside to stay the weekend with my mother.