* 200 articles. Two years. Whelk. The best of Upsideclown. Might be reprinted.

Stupid Mistake

19 May 2003
Jamie's supposed to be learning his lesson

Shut up, Gates. Not only are you a gappy-toothed dickhead with no personality, you are in no way qualified to talk about the consequences of one stupid mistake. Even if it did involve shagging Jordan.

I can see where you're coming from though. When I was around your age I guess I felt pretty much the same - I'd cheat on a girl, get caught, feel like it was the biggest outrage in the world and why the hell was she blowing it out of all proportion? But now I've got a lot more perspective on things, mind you I'm paying for it in a big way.

Let me set the scene. I'm twenty one, as good as engaged to this girl I've been seeing for some time, and it's one of these up-and-down type things. I wouldn't say we'd had any great times, but she's a pretty girl and my mum likes her, and we've been through a lot (early pregnancy scare, which really put the wind up me), so I kind of feel like I owe her something, you know? Anyway, this one evening we were in the pub having a quiet drink, and some stupid argument started between us. Can't even remember what it was, but we started rowing there and then so I says 'Come on, we're going home', just ready to write the evening off as a bad one and go straight to bed.

But she's having none of it. As soon as we get through the door she's at it again, having a go at me for this and that. Should have let it drop and said we'd speak in the morning, but instead I lose my rag and tell her I'm going back to the pub and she can sort herself out. Slam the door so she knows I mean business and head right out.

I sit at the bar with a pint of export and it must be obvious to everyone in sight that I'm still fuming. Most of them saw us arguing and saw us leave anyway, so god knows what they make of me being back. So I drink real quick to block it all out, block out the stares and the gossip, and after half an hour I'm almost back to normal.

That's when I see her. Black girl, really pretty, slim, small build, and I look at her and feel a sort of connection straight away. A combination of the drink and a residual buzz from earlier gives me a drive, a sort of confidence I guess, so I head over, buy her a drink and start making stupid conversation. Even more surprisingly, she starts to laugh with me, and before I know it it's a half hour to closing time and I'm sitting even closer to her, our thighs touching. She asks me what I'm doing here, I tell her I guess I'm really trying to make my girlfriend jealous.

'That's funny,' she says. 'I'm doing the same with my man.'

'So,', I says. 'How jealous do you want to make him?' She smiles.

As we're walking out I see her glance over at a group in the corner, but we bundle out the door pretty fast and I lead her over towards the park. I take her hand and turn her body towards me, and that's when I notice the change in her expression. When I grab her and try to kiss her, she pushes me away pretty forcefully, and I start to lose my rag.

I don't want to go into too much depth about what happened next. It's something I'm being encouraged to talk about more and more, to realise exactly what it is I've done, but I do have trouble recalling it. What I will say is, I do remember everything - it's not like I'm claiming I blacked out, or it wasn't me doing it, or like I was watching myself from outside. Of course I wasn't really thinking as such, but each blow was a decision I made. Me. No excuses.

It's when you come to your senses that it really, really hits you. That sick feeling you get when you've done something and wish you could just turn the clock back five minutes - multiply that by about a million. Get this - I was sitting there, on an upturned log, head in hands, thinking 'this can't be happening to me': how selfish can you get? Not thinking about that poor girl, about her family, about how it's going to affect my folks as well, all these people who'd done nothing wrong and whose lives are going to be turned upside down. That's something I've realised since I've been inside. I was a really selfish, self-centred kid back then.

There's a lot said about upbringing in our therapy sessions. People talk about broken homes, fathers that used to beat them and their mothers, drugs in the home, but to me it's just an excuse. I'm learning that when you stop making excuses and blaming other people, you can really start to rebuild yourself and think about the future. I started off blaming my girlfriend, blaming the girl for leading me on when all she was doing was letting the message get back to her man that she'd disappeared off with some strange guy she'd been chatting to all night, blaming the drink. I thought fair enough, I've never done anything like this in my life, why should I lose my whole life for one stupid mistake? But that's not all it is. I have to face up to the fact that I took a life, I have to live with it. OK I'm paying for it, but it's not as much as her family would have wanted and it's not going to bring her back.

So what's this? An apology in the original sense of the word, I guess - not saying sorry because that's no good, not a self-defence, just my statement. I hope you can get some encouragement from the fact that there's guys like me in here, that in some way the system does work. I'm worried about going out - having to tell prospective employers what I've done and seeing the look on their face - because I've seen what people do. They're a fish out of water, like Crocodile Dundee or Mork, only without the laughs - so make that Crocodile Dundee 3. You're the best survivor on the inside, no one messes with you, then you get out and you find you can't make it. I'm trying to better myself, to guard against that. But I'm not going to take offence at people judging me on what I did, because nowadays no one's harsher on me than me.


This is the fucking archive

Current clown:

18 December 2003. George writes: This List

Most recent ten:

15 December 2003. Jamie writes: Seven Songs
11 December 2003. Dan writes: Spinning Jenny
8 December 2003. Victor writes: Rock Opera
4 December 2003. Matt writes: The Mirrored Spheres of Patagonia
1 December 2003. George writes: Charm
27 November 2003. James writes: On Boxing
24 November 2003. Jamie writes: El Matador del Amor; Or, the Man who Killed Love
20 November 2003. Dan writes: Rights Management
17 November 2003. Victor writes: Walking on Yellow
13 November 2003. Matt writes: Disintermediation
(And alas we lost Neil, who last wrote Cockfosters)

Also by this clown:

15 December 2003. Jamie writes: Seven Songs
24 November 2003. Jamie writes: El Matador del Amor; Or, the Man who Killed Love
13 October 2003. Jamie writes: The Persistence of Memory
22 September 2003. Jamie writes: The Email Eunuch
1 September 2003. Jamie writes: Credo
11 August 2003. Jamie writes: Brad and Jennifer and Me
21 July 2003. Jamie writes: Interruption
30 June 2003. Jamie writes: Do you remember the first time?
12 June 2003. Jamie writes: Forthcoming Attractions
19 May 2003. Jamie writes: Stupid Mistake
28 April 2003. Jamie writes: Hoping and Praying
7 April 2003. Jamie writes: Strangers on a Plane
17 March 2003. Jamie writes: Q&A
24 February 2003. Jamie writes: Altered States
3 February 2003. Jamie writes: How to say goodbye
13 January 2003. Jamie writes: In A League Of Their Own
23 December 2002. Jamie writes: What's in a name?
2 December 2002. Jamie writes: Lies, Damned Lies and Spastics
11 November 2002. Jamie writes: Memoirs of a Gaysian: A Preface
21 October 2002. Jamie writes: Love is blindness
30 September 2002. Jamie writes: Time for bed
9 September 2002. Jamie writes: Angry Exchanges Can Be Puzzling [10]
19 August 2002. Jamie writes: High Speed
29 July 2002. Jamie writes: Firkin Hell
8 July 2002. Jamie writes: Do you, er... haiku?
13 June 2002. Jamie writes: Unnatural Porn Thrillers
20 May 2002. Jamie writes: The Triumphant Return of the Septic Fiveskins
25 April 2002. Jamie writes: Meeting People is Easy
4 April 2002. Jamie writes: I Want I Want I Want
7 March 2002. Jamie writes: The Player of Games
11 February 2002. Jamie writes: Fat Man Walking
17 January 2002. Jamie writes: Passive/Aggressive
3 January 2002. Jamie writes: Love (classified)
29 November 2001. Jamie writes: A Lil' Nite Muzak
5 November 2001. Jamie writes: Natural born liar
11 October 2001. Jamie writes: All I need
17 September 2001. Jamie writes: Postcards From The Edge (of the pool)
23 August 2001. Jamie writes: Class act
30 July 2001. Jamie writes: Ritchie Neville is dead
5 July 2001. Jamie writes: A Letter from God
11 June 2001. Jamie writes: "If it's in French, it must be deep"
17 May 2001. Jamie writes: Reportage
23 April 2001. Jamie writes: Show me the Logos
29 March 2001. Jamie writes: Sobering Thoughts
8 March 2001. Jamie writes: Stupid, Stupid, Stupid
8 February 2001. Jamie writes: Spent
15 January 2001. Jamie writes: Full to the brim
21 December 2000. Jamie writes: fuck xmas
27 November 2000. Jamie writes: Eye Candy
2 November 2000. Jamie writes: World-wide-web?
9 October 2000. Jamie writes: Kids' stuff
14 September 2000. Jamie writes: Scatological Warfare
21 August 2000. Jamie writes: I can't stand up (for falling clowns)
10 July 2000. Jamie writes: The Etymology of Greatness

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