The seventies was a restless decade. My twenties. I flitted all over the country, touching down on every compass point in the search for myself, gaining university degrees, losing friends, trying on different jobs and fashions for size. Boyfriends came and went too. I was the first to admit that I was fickle, perhaps needing to be the one who left first, or perhaps just not able to resist the possibility of new romance.
Recently I heard from my old boyfriend from university days. Let’s call him Joe. I haven’t seen Joe for forty years. He lives in France now and keeps bees. Hippy type, but we’ve kept in touch, more off than on, over the years. Joe had ‘a confession’ to make to me, an unburdening of something that had been troubling him since 1973. It concerned someone called ‘Dawson’. Apparently this ‘Dawson’ had turned up on Joe’s doorstep in a terrible state, suicidal, and Joe felt he had to help him, even though he hardly knew the guy. So he sent him to me, never said, felt guilty about it ever since. I had no idea who or what he was talking about. I didn’t know anyone called Dawson and certainly had no memory of anyone in a terrible state (presumably of my making) coming to see me out of the blue. After a few more emails I worked out who he was. Joe had got his name wrong. ‘Dawson’ was someone I’d had a brief fling with after I left university while filling time in a dead-end job on the south coast. It all came to an abrupt end when he turned up one day without warning having shaved off his rather fine beard. The shock was great. I’d just about been able to forgive his passion for ‘Tubular Bells’, but decided that ‘Dawson’ clean-shaven was deeply unattractive and promptly ended the relationship. I hadn’t given him a second thought since. Did he come to see me as Joe suggested? Did he succumb to heartbreak? I don’t really care. Fickle – that’s me.
Submitted by Shiela Lockhart