Laura and her French-north African boyfriend Larry were revelations. I really gained an even greater if possible positive appreciation of Emma through her associates, and took their warm welcome of me as a good sign. Sadly, I found out from her at the end of the night that her friends’ almost decade-long relationship had not been without one particularly unhappy challenge. They were still a charming duo, even if probably due to that sad fact Emma later confided in me they were, while we sat later on as a foursome at a nightclub, arguing a little. I was experiencing a different problem with my momentary partner: I’d suddenly become shy. Under normal circumstances it would have been an appropriate time to kiss her, but I was discouraged by the whole “cold sore” thing you’d understand if you’ve read my blog posts on New York. I was kind of hoping she’d initiate something to that effect. And if you think that makes me less of a man, I politely encourage you to go back to the ‘50s with Tony Abbott where you belong. No, no kiss. Instead she slid across my lap – which wasn’t the worst thing a chick’s ever done to me for at least one reason – and began talking to Laura. Larry and I conversed but, God love the guy whom I still remember fondly, I could barely understand him due to a combination of the loud music and his quite good but a little drunken English. It was ok though. I’m a good listener. Even if on this occasion I was largely only reacting based on his facial expressions. Emma, meanwhile, was figuratively slipping further away from me. I made the mistake of, by clinking his drink, taking Larry’s side in the argument he’d had and I’d not overheard with his partner – at least just for the sake of backing up a brother. Laura would have forgiven me and I still hope Emma at least respected my ignorance. I was forced to buy her a drink at that nightclub because she had already shouted me two, but I did so while she was quite humorously counting a mountain of coins with which she intended to buy the drink herself. Then in response to her apparent but probably playful disgust at my having paid for her drink, I responded with shifty eyes. I can’t now remember what her drink was, but I believe I at least got it right. The kicker is that despite the pile of coins on the bar, she had said she was going to pay by card. A little shocked by her revelation to me of Laura and Larry’s private pain, I again baulked at kissing when we’d stopped walking side-by-side a short distance away at a cab rank. Where after kissing me on the cheek she ran across the road, jumped into a cab; and I never saw her little British bum again.
As with my previous night in London, I woke up about 3am again – probably from nightmares about balding hotel reception dudes stealing my money. Out of courtesy for my less insomniac roommates, I charged my phone and read (Youth in Revolt) in the hall outside my room. I was also Facebooking Emma too often but not aggressively. I will only further state in regard to my future messages to her that indeed I sent them too often and must have seemed to her a little in mental turmoil – both of which facts I blamed on the nightly sleep deprivation I suffered until heading back to London after about a week. Once the sun had risen to brightly bless beautiful Brighton (too much alliteration?) I left the hostel to wander the town’s lanes and laines; “laines” being footpaths between pub and shopfronts only wide enough to accommodate people walking single file. While the “lanes” were, y’know, the size you’d normally expect of them and wider than their letter “i” bearing cousins. It felt as if I’d stumbled into a fantasy novel loosely based on 15th century Britain. After the lanes and laines and roads and buses and coffee and cigarettes I took my first walk on the award winning pebbled beach that Brighton’s was. Still early, and on a weekday, this humble unemployed writer felt like he had one of the most wonderful places in the world he’d seen all to his self. There were however no waves. Couldn’t help noticing that. But as I knew there were often swells further west toward and off the coast of Wales, I was able to indulge in the dream and realistic prospect of hiring a car, surfboard, wetsuit – not to mention gloves, booties and probably another wetsuit – and heading west in search of Atlantic Ocean swell. I never did, but hey; I’ll be damned if it wasn’t nice to think about. From the beach I wandered past the Brighton Wheel (huge, white, enclosed carriage Ferris wheel) to the most working class cafe in existence. Full of large men and one woman wearing high-visibility clothing and offering only instant coffee, it was. But I didn’t mind, which I stated to that one woman after she apologised for their loud conversation in heavy regional accents I could barely understand. Actually I wish I had, respectfully, made more of an effort to talk with them and find out just what a lower or perhaps lower-middle class person living in a town like Brighton thought, but I was too immersed in my book. I walked from the cafe into the swiftly brightening sunshine and returned to the hostel just in time for its adequate free brekky that finished at “half-nine” each day. “I must ask what time it starts,” I scribbled. Where on earth did my philosophical introspections go? Oh yeah, they’re further back in the notepad. I’ll re-introduce some of them in the next post. Looking forward to having you read me at Brighton part five 🙂 Looks as if there’s going to be 10 parts. Nope, nine. . . .