My mum makes me wear the stupid donkey hat all the way to the check in point at the airport. It’s my own fault I suppose because I have made them get up at 6am to take me to the airport as my car died on me the night before (the exhaust fell off halfway down my road, leaving my new neighbours wondering what exactly had moved in around the corner from them).
I must look stupid. A woman in her thirties, wearing a straw hat, which has a donkey on it, dragging a pink suitcase with a dodgy wheel, at 7.30am. My mum and dad are hugging me now and dad is saying louder than he perhaps ‘If you can’t be good be safe’ which I cringe at slightly. I say slightly, I go bright pink like my suitcase and cover my face with the hat.
So I am off to Spain. I am off to see Alice, my best friend and I can’t really wait. I need a holiday. Strangely I had been thinking about just that prior to the tickets arriving, even more strange was the fact that I spent twenty minutes looking at a ‘singles holiday’ to France. I’m not looking for a new bloke, not yet, but I really do need to meet some new people, right now my mum is my go to friend for shopping and that’s just not where I want to be as I enter my 33rd year.
Anyway, I check in and the young guy on the desk looks at me. He smiles and talks to me in a voice so camp that to say anything about him working as a check in guy for an airline would be dangerously close to being a lazy stereotype.
“Late for a hen do, sweetie?” he says.
“Erm, yes, should have flow yesterday, couldn’t, car problem”.
“Oh, poor you. You need a bit of a pampering then”. And he upgraded me. What a superstar. That is the first time that has ever happened to me. What upgraded means on this flight is sitting in front of the curtain instead of behind it with slightly more leg room, no free champagne or oysters.
At the airport, I am met outside departures by Alice, she is wearing a pair of the biggest sunglasses and a hat that matches mine, which I quickly put back on again after seeing she is wearing hers. It is nine thirty am.
We hug and scream and shout and then she drags me outside for ‘A Surprise’, where we are met by ‘Alphonse’ – who is tall, dark, handsome, muscular and wearing a chaffeurs hat and uniform. I kid you not. Alice has hired a limo, or rather, it transpires, she has borrowed a limo. Alice works in ‘event management’ she manages a couple of clubs in the town and knows everyone. Absolutely everyone.
We go back to Alice’s new apartment and it is fabulous, of course it is, it overlooks the sea, it’s cool, it’s brilliantly decorated, it looks like something from a film. We spend the next three hours just sitting around and gossiping. She tells me about her love life, which for those interested, is not that much more active than mine.
“There are a lot of chancers out here” she tells me, a few months back she had a brief fling with a guy called ‘Malky’ who is a Liverpudlian guy who works in one of the clubs. She looks quite upset when she reveals that one morning in his bathroom she was looking for some toilet roll and found a couple of thousand ecstasy tablets instead and I’ll refer you back to the paragraph about lazy stereotyping.
“So that didn’t last” she says with a grin. “I’m too busy for all that” she laughs.
I’ll be honest here, she is stunning. Of course she is. I’m not just being nice because she is my best friend. She is beautiful and could take her pick. I’ve seen her stop conversations in a crowded room just by looking at someone.
I update her with what’s going on in my life which didn’t take long to be fair. Although she laughs like a drain when I tell her about mum confronting the ‘other woman’ in Bristol. She gives me a cross look when I tell her I haven’t messaged Kris yet.
“I would have been on him quicker than a ferret at the rabbit farm” was her actual response, which makes me laugh so much I drop my drink all over the tiled floor.
Eventually we go out into the sun, we have lunch, and we walk along the beach and we stare at the sun burnt Brits on holiday.
It’s around 5pm when Alice says to me back at her place that we are going out to see a band that night. They are playing at one of the places that she is involved with and we have backstage passes. I have never been backstage anywhere, not even at school when I was Juliet in the production of Romeo and Juliet. I am very excited although I am also exhausted. The band a called Delorean and they are from Spain but at just about to go ‘International’
I have never heard of them of course, Alice was always the one who found the bands, even as kids, she would turn up in my bedroom with a new CD or tape of a band and stick it on and they would be ‘our new favourite thing’. She puts their CD on when we get changed and its really good.
Now, I’m going to do that swirly thing that happens in movies here and drag you back to the present time and in fact, the office kitchen. When I was discussing this bit of writing with SWC and Badger I gave them a list of the records that I wanted to include – I mean the music is kind of secondary to be honest – they are just records that are attached to a story or a period of my life. SWC called it ‘safeguarding’ I think by this he was making sure I was a silly girl writing about how much I loved Shania Twain or something that would seriously damage his credibility. On seeing this bands name he looked at me and said “Interesting…” to this day he is the only person I know who has this CD other than me and Alice (and its bloody ace, SWC).
Back we go to Spain – The band were amazing live, and after the gig I drank Corona with them and Alice and a few others. It was one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to, maybe it was the time, the place, the location, but it was. I wake up the next morning at 9am the sun bursting through the curtains, I sit up and then I realise that I still have one shoe on. It must have been a great night.