Now all the boys down at Smokey's Bar they could easily understand
How Judy left without a word, but not without a man
That old routine that she had going was like the sun so sure
That by surprise just may not rise but it always has before
And I still remember what was on the jukebox as she turned:
The dobro part out of Cheating Heart. She never has returned
I cannot hear Nic Jones' version of Jeff Deitchman's ballad, "The Jukebox as she turned" without my thoughts turning to A and remembering how she held that pub entranced but left with me. By chance it was on the car stereo this morning and then I saw the Wicked Wednesday prompt of "Mental Health" and knew what I had to do.
It wasn't her pub, but she started coming in with one of the regulars she was seeing. When she arrived early and took her seat at the bar there wasn't a man in that pub, and some of the women too, that didn't look for a reason to start a conversation with her. It wasn't just her looks though when she walked across the room in those tight Capri pants the wiggle took your breath away, it was the way she took control of the room without even trying.
Now the boyfriend was gone but she kept coming. That winter I had a new girlfriend, G, and things were going well. She had started wearing high heels and stockings and had not only agreed to try anal sex but now positively enjoyed it. I was still working through the implications of my split with the long term partner the previous year and trying to understand why men in general and me in particular behave so badly.
Then came the night A chose to sit down at my table uninvited. I was there for a quick drink after work and G was off somewhere putting the world to rights. We chatted about her work with children and my work with the public's money and maintained eye contact for what felt like hours. I knew how this worked so I offered some common ground and said we could share information and if we exchanged numbers.
When I called next day she came straight to the point - was I still seeing G? "That's history" I lied but by the time she walked into the pub that night it was true. I treated G appallingly and still regret it but it wasn't the first time I behaved like a shit and it wouldn't be the last. I probably deserved what happened over the next six months.
Sex with A started brilliantly and then got better. After 3 weeks she and her cat moved into my flat. One day she found a riding crop belonging to my ex from her riding days and brought it into the bedroom. I asked her if she had ever been whipped and she just smiled, turned around and lifted her skirt. This was new to me and I knew no better than to give her six hard stokes without any warm up. She made barely a sound but after the sixth stroke turned back to me with tears rolling down her face and said "You hurt me - now you have to fuck me". I had barely entered her when she came with a force I'd never seen before. Over the following weeks I came to understand that for A pain was foreplay.
Its impossible to think about A without remembering her vagina. Women's vaginas are beautiful and as distinctive as their faces but A's was simply quite, quite beautiful. Her inner labia were long and thin and dangled a good inch below the outer lips. I could play with them for hours and years later still wonder if she ever did get round to having them pierced.
A and I spent almost all our time together when we weren't working and I began to take her to meet my closest friends and without exception they fell under her spell. I realised that I was falling in love with this woman who was both beautiful and the best fuck of my life. Then I had to go away on family business for a few days and left A behind in the city.
The phone rang just after 11 pm at my parent's house. It was A - she sounded down and said she was missing me. I promised to be back early on Sunday evening and told her to be waiting, naked and holding the whip which seemed to cheer her up.. I think it's merely hindsight that lets me think that the call left me uneasy but 15 further calls in the next 36 hours most certainly set the alarm bells ringing.
Once I was back things returned to the way they were I thought. When we were alone together we behaved like a couple in the first throes of love who just couldn't get enough sex with each other. When we were at work things were fine and in company A was effervescent, the centre of attention yet utterly lovable.
But when we were apart, and both family and work did take me away at times, things went badly and A started to have sudden mood changes even when we were together while her behaviour grew more unpredictable.
Back then I knew little about Mental Health. I knew I had been depressed for a while after the big split up but I had managed to "pull myself together" and since had been enjoying life to the full. Things got so bad I took A to see my GP but I didn't sit in. He referred her to a walk-in clinic and eventually she followed that advice. I now realise she probably had "Borderline Personality Disorder" and may have been on meds but had stopped taking them because we were so bloody happy together!
I simply had no idea how to cope or how to help her and inevitably she walked out one day taking the cat with her. Being back in her own flat seemed to help stabilise things and we kept in touch. I went back to playing the field and visiting Soho now and again. Our sexual attraction was undiminished but the grimness of the way our relationship had ended loomed large. I also had my once and future life partner whispering negatively in my ear despite now being in a new same sex relationship herself.
Its rare that I can date precisely when I had sex but I know that the last time A and I fucked was 15 July 1986. How I know may not show me in the best light but its one of the rare occasions I managed to combine my two passions of sex and football. That day Belgium played the Soviet Union in a World Cup round of 16 game that ended 4-3 after extra time and was one of the greatest games of all time.
A wasn't a huge sports fan but always took an interest in the big events. In fact one of our most memorable dates was on the night that Steve Davies and Dennis Taylor were battling to win the World Snooker Championship. They were still at it when the pub shut at 10.30 which they did back then. A simply found another customer who lived nearby and we adjourned to this stranger's house to watch the finish. I suspect he still remembers the night a stunningly beautiful woman invited herself into his home!
We had sex, watched the game in bed, then fucked again - we very probably fucked at half time too. At times it felt like we were making love but it was merely an after image of what we had once shared or perhaps a glimpse of a future that would never be. Gradually we lost touch until our paths crossed briefly on Social Media decades later. For a few years she drifted in and out of relationships before becoming involved with a man who turned out to be a genuine sadist. He took advantage of her pain kink to physically hurt her quite badly. The upside was she went for therapy in the aftermath and eventually met and married a widower whose family she took on and found genuine happiness.
I learned a lot from the time I spent with A about about myself and how you need to understand someone's mental health if you are really going to build something lasting. I loved A but then lost her. Of course I missed having the best sex I ever had for free but what I missed then and sometimes still do 30 years later is being the centre of the circle of warmth she created around her when she was healthy and being adorable as only she could.
An old man called Mike remembers sex in London before the internet, rants about the hypocrisy of today's society and shares some links to the best companions around today......