How Lucky to Have These People in the Periphery of my Life.

Names have been changed.

I used to live with a guy, let’s call him Tim, who was always a few sandwiches short of a picnic. Sweet enough, but not quite all there. I met him through mutual friends while he was still living with his Mum and when a room became available in my flat he moved in. We were both in our mid-twenties. Throughout the year or so that I lived with Tim, his oddness became very apparent both to me, and to my flatmate Alicia. I found it all very amusing. Alicia not so much. I think for her it was the apparent selfishness of Tim that bugged her the most. But what she saw as selfishness, I just saw as genuine dimwittedness. Selfishness implies the kind of premeditation I just don’t think Tim’s brain was capable of.

Poor Tim could really be taken for a ride too. For a time he was dating the mother of one of the children he looked after at the kindergarten. Saying that makes it sound like Tim was dating an older woman, when really Katherine was the same age as Tim, and had just had her daughter at an early age. During their relationship, it seemed to me and Alicia that Tim’s primary purpose in the relationship was that of babysitter. We were appalled to find out that throughout their entire 9 month (how it lasted that long is anyone’s guess) relationship, she had never once gone down on Tim. And Tim had never once complained.

Eventually I left the flat to travel through Europe, eventually settling in London. During the two years I was exclusively living in the UK, I heard from Tim twice. Both time asking me how I was enjoying traveling. Both times I reminded him that I wasn’t in fact traveling, but living overseas. Easy mistake I suppose. He left the flat at some point as well, and returned to his mother’s house.

While overseas a good friend told me that she had heard, through the tiny grapevine that spreads from our hometown, that Tim had lost his license in the most comical of ways. One night while driving home from a house party, Tim was pulled over by the police. Rather than following the Police instructions, and pulling over to the side of the road, Tim thought it would be a good idea to try outrun the Police car. As it turns out Tim had been drinking. So begins a car chase through the quiet suburban streets as Tim, in his Mazda Familia tries to lose the Police, who remain hot on his tail. Eventually, and unsurprisingly, the Police catch up to Tim and succeed in forcing his car to a halt. Needless to say they were not impressed, Tim failed a breath test, and the incident resulted in him losing his licence for 12 months. Not terribly convenient when you’re back living with your Mother in a house 10km away from the daycare centre you work at. I later heard that in Tim’s version of the story, he was really high and thought he was playing Grand Theft Auto. Well, not so much playing the game as he was actually in the game. Drugs.

But the best story (so far anyway) about Tim’s recent escapades were told to me by our mutual friend Sarah within days of my returning to my hometown after living abroad for two years. For context it’s important to know that Sarah’s (now) husband Paul has been best friends with Tim for around 7 or 8 years at this point. Sarah, Paul, and Tim are all a part of the same group of friends, and have been for around 5 or 6 years.

Here is the story as it was told to me.

Tim started dating Natalia about two years ago, Sarah reckons. I forgot to ask exactly how they met but I know it was online. And solely online. She lives in Italy. They have never once met in person. I asked Sarah if they Skype and she assumes they do but nothing is certain. Natalia is 40. Divorced, with two children. Unsurprisingly.

The story started out as one of Sarah and Paul’s wedding. Paul had asked Tim to be his best man. They hadn’t really been in contact much in recent months but out of a sense of loyalty Paul asked Tim to do the honours as his oldest friend. Tim was flattered. As the day of the wedding drew closer, Paul tried to lock Tim in for a time to try on suits at Hallensteins but Tim had started getting cold feet. He had started to worry that he wouldn’t actually be in the country for the wedding because he had some rough plans to move to Italy to be with his online girlfriend, 40 year old, divorced, two child Natalia. Understandably Paul grew frustrated at Tim’s lack of commitment so in the end he thought fuck it, I’ll just have to get someone else. Tim went to the wedding. He probably put on his suit at his Mum’s house, where he is still living.

Prior to this, Natalia’s controlling nature had started to rear its ugly head in a pretty public way. Tim went to visit Sarah and Paul at their house and had, I’m assuming, been forced to give Natalia their address. I doubt he saw anything odd in that request. So while they’re having a nice catch up, undoubtedly smoking a few joints, Natalia sends Tim a message that contained a satellite image of Sarah and Paul’s house obtained through Google Street View. “I know where you are” was the accompanying message. No alarm bells were reported to have been heard going off in Tim’s head.

Natalia also posted a pretty weird and awkward message underneath a group picture from Sarah and Paul’s wedding. Something to the effect of (and I’m paraphrasing) “I know this day isn’t supposed to be about him but it actually is … look how handsome the love of my life looks at his best friends wedding”. Weirdo. Again, no signs of alarms bells have yet to be reported.

The plot thickens.

Somewhere during the last two years of this blossoming romance, Tim also started dating a real life girl from his church (church?). She seemed nice. Sarah and Paul tried to encourage the relationship because well, she was a real, tangible person, and it seemed as though Tim was beginning to snap out of his Italian fling.

But this is where Carl Rivers comes in.

Carl Rivers who at one time was one of Paul and Tim’s best friends, and for whatever reason needs to constantly meddle in Tim’s life, called Tim’s Jesus loving lady and told her that he had also been seeing a woman online – I guess seeing is probably the wrong word to use here – ‘dating’; sending dirty messages to, and pledging an undying love for. The relationship ended. Carl Rivers went back to Melbourne.

Carl Rivers. What a gem. He can never let Tim be happy. How lucky am I to have these men in the periphery of my life?

I don’t know where the relationship currently stands but I plan on getting in touch with Tim and slowly rebuilding a friendship so that I can find out. This is the Christmas of great stories.

At the end of the day I sincerely hope Tim is getting uber catfished but you never know, this could be the great love story of the 21st Century.

As an aside, Tim got his drivers license back a couple of weeks ago.


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