Sitting in this dark room on the sofa cross-legged, staring at the wall for the past 2 hours has given me time to really think about my life and what I have done with it this past year. My fingers have now come to the realisation that the mug they are holding onto has now gone cold. As I get up to put on the kettle, my fleecy blanket that was once casually strewn across my body falls to the floor, causing the icy air that saturates my apartment to collide with my once warm skin. I quickly snatch my blanket and throw it over me as a shield against the cold and hurry into the kitchen to refill mug with hot tea so that I and my fingers can stop shaking.
Resting on the kitchen counter, hearing the water slowly come to a boil reminds me of the time I went to York on business and ran into Sam at the local pub. Haha. She had changed so much! I couldn't quite believe my eyes when I turned around to see who it was that had tapped my shoulder. I excused myself from the company of my colleagues whom I am sure were glad to see me go as that was at the early stages of their little sordid affair. It was so awkward feeling that much sexual tension between them in that small space we called our own in that packed pub. I would be lying if I said that it did not make me yearn to have someone permanent in my life that just so happens to find me just as attractive as they found each other. Anyway, Sam invited me round to her's that night, which was a stone's throw away from the pub, and we spent the whole night in her kitchen sitting on her huge central kitchen counter with mugs full of hot chocolate with more than a hint of Bailey's reminiscing about our stint in boarding school and catching up on what we have been up to since.
I make myself my fresh cup of tea and slink back to my spot on the sofa, my blanket in tow. I laugh at the crazy things we got up to at that all girls school. The boys who were snuck in. The girls who were snuck out. The teacher's chair that was "kindly" given a fresh lick of paint just before he arrived so that when he sat down his trousers reflected the generosity of the painter. Those were the days! When it was my turn to answer the big question- 'So, what have you been up to missy? The last time I saw you was during our 2nd year of uni'- I fumbled and mumbled a few incoherent strings of phrases as my brain desperately tried to piece together what I had done since we left that was interesting enough to rival her stories. Seeing her face fall in what I took to be pity made my all too familiar tear glands spring into action and give their Oscar-worthy performance.
It dawned on me that in the 6 years since I last saw her I have done nothing but work. When Sam was meeting the love of her life I was planning on how to throttle my partner because he was not pulling his weight and I could not afford to fail that year's project. When Sam was studying abroad in Germany I was crying over the fact that my boyfriend at the time chose Australia over me. I was a selfsih cow. Sue me. When Sam was volunteering in Kenya one summer I was struggling to figure out which company I wanted to work for as I had offers coming out of my ears which was both a blessing and a curse. When Sam was truly living life I was basically wasting mine behind a desk for 4 years punching numbers and giving presentations and falling into a pathetic cycle that made me feel so alone.
That fateful night was the night my life changed. Sam and I created my first ever bucket list. And with the help of her fit fella, the ridiculous number of holidays I had accrued at work and my rather large savings account they handed me my itinerary for the next 6 months. I was to embark on my very own Euro trip by myself. To which I said, 'Hell no!' and Sam, being the pretty well known travel journalist and travel junkie that she is decided to accompany me for the 1st few trips to ease me into it. I finally came round and we did the cheesy clinking of our mugs and passed out in Sam's living room from all the excitement.
That was the night my adventure began.
I down the last dregs of my tea and listen to the howls of the wind outside as it whips round the B&B I am in with great gusto causing the windows to rattle and the wind chimes outside to play a most violent tune. I make a mental note to thank my mother again for getting me the tartan microfleece pajamas I have on as they are amazingly great at aiding to keep my body temperature at a decent level. Today is the day I turn 27 and it also happens to be the last day of my 6 month adventure. Looking back at all I have achieved in this year alone threatens to set my Oscar nominated tear glands off for a grand finale. I can't quite believe I managed to juggle both work and a colourful social life.
For the past 8 trips on, I have explored the various cities myself and I am super proud of that. Sam and I started off in France and work our way round Europe. It was amazing! Expensive... but amazing. I was then given the big task of finishing off my adventure by getting to know the UK. I can't say I am a big fan of the south as I'm a Northern girl through and through but I can see why people love it. I started my UK trip there and worked my way back up north. I am now currently in Scotland. Have been for 4 days now but it was only yesterday when I arrived in Edinburgh. It has been years since I have been here it is almost criminal. Scotland is such a lovely place despite the unbearably cold weather.
I close my eyes and convince myself that I will look like an idiot if I go to The Peartree dressed in my pajamas with my hair tucked away in a hairnet. I bravely throw my blanket off me and rush into the bathroom to get ready. I hear a knock on my door not 10 mins later which startles me as I am not expecting anything to be brought to my room.
'Just hang on a second!' I yell. 'Won't be a minute!'
I yank on my unnaturally tight Dorothy Perkins jeans over my hideously fat arse and pull my Zara jumper over my head, shoving my arms through the wonderfully soft sleeves. Ruffling my hair a bit and swiping on a lit of lipgloss over my lips I open the door to find a giant in front of me. I let a rather indescribable noise out from my mouth as I watch it take steps towards me. I instinctively back away into my room as I try to process what is happening as quickly as I can.
'Sarah, ok I know what you must be thinking. Would you quit walking away from me? You'll head out the window if you back away any further', it says in a deep familiar voice.
A voice that I was once so anxious to hear over the phone every night throughout my first two years at uni. A voice that quickly became the little voice in my head that steers me away from wrong and urges me to trust my gut. A voice that belonged to a man who won my heart with the wink of an eye, a flash of the sexiest grin I've ever seen and a night in eating homemade lasagna as we watched Lord of The Rings. A voice that was replaced by an unbearable silence and an ache in my heart since the day it joined its owner to fly half way across the world.
It is funny how one day you could be at in a pub in York going through the motions, catching the weighted looks your present company are throwing at each other and not really realising how much time you have wasted. And then boom! You are in a cute B&B up in Edinburgh about to head to a very popular pub to meet up with your mate Sam and her now fiancé when suddenly, at quite literally the eleventh hour the man who once clawed his way into your personal fortress barges his way back into your life, with the help of your so-called best mate and her fiancé, and still has the audacity to take your breath away.
After a rather loud and long exchange of words between us which most consisted of me biting his head off for assuming that I would still be in love with him, working with Sam to get me to end my adventure here... in the B&B his parents OWN and for not believing that we could have made it work- Oh yeah! He dumped me because he didn't believe in long distance relationships. The twat!- he grabs my hand and drags me to his car. He drives a very angry me to The Peartree to meet up with my now ex-best friend and her soon-to-be-dead fiancé to celebrate New Years together. Did I mention that The Giant is Sam's soon-to-be brother-in-law? Just one big happy family this is. Urgh!!
Anyways, Sam hands me a pint of larger with an apologetic smile that I take begrudgingly and I look around at everyone enjoying themselves as the barman has signaled that it is the last minute of 2013. I take a sneaky look at The Giant that turned out to not be so sneaky as he was already watching me.
'I'm sorry', he mouths as he hands me a note.
30 seconds left.
I study the battered piece of paper. I can't believe he kept it. The bastard! Just when I convinced myself that this was a justified situation to rub my nose to spite my face he goes and does this?! I look into his eyes and watch as his body quickly shifts and appears barely an inch away from me.
Ten. Nine. Eight.
Do I leave him in 2013?
Seven. Six. Five.
Three. Two. One.
I close my eyes and trust the little voice in my head. I don't hear the supposedly loud cheer or the see the fireworks or feel the beer that was mistakenly pour over my tarted Ugg boots. All I feel right now- with his big arms around me and his lips stuck to mine and my good old tear glands warming up as Sam and her fit fella scream with delight- is home.
Because home is where the heart is right?
* * * * * Happy New Year * * * * *