Needless to say, the excitement the very night I arrived, when a very talkative Chinese guy asked me to go clubbing. I could just imagine myself sitting in a loud, darkened room, sipping a gin and tonic while wearily nodding along to an endless, and completely one-sided, conversation. Very entertaining prospect. Out of curiosity, I did end up challenging the guy to stay quiet for five full minutes…He lasted three. Anyway, that did mark the beginning of a very interesting week-and-something. I quickly fell into a pattern of lazy mornings, early afternoons spent at the local Starbucks for free internet -my cousin hadn’t got it or TV yet, oh, the amount of money I spent on coffee…- and then the rest of the time out on the town with my cuz and her flatmates.
Well, Halloween was coming up, and, just like Cinderella, I hadn’t a thing to wear. I had already decided to go as a fairy, but sadly, the local shops were rather lacking in such costumes and so I was forced to take my own, more…creative routes. Finding a spicy green tunic at a tiny little corner of a small shopping center, I immediately took it home, got out my scissors and thread, cut it up, stitched, re-aligned and agonized over it until I had created a costume that was not only unique, but also, due to my fantastic lack of measuring skills, had the shortest skirt I had ever worn. And although a pair of shorts did set me somewhat to rights, I couldn’t help shivering while waiting in line for a club from which both loud music and ghoulishly dressed revelers streamed. Despite the long, cold wait, neither my friends nor I suffered from complete boredom as we chattered amongst ourselves, took pictures with the various creepy characters wandering around and laughed at an enthusiastically drunk young man whose Italian accent only became thicker as he charmed every lady within his reach.
Once in the club, I couldn’t help but stare. My astonishment had little to do with the giant spiders and cobwebs strewn artistically about rather, it was the sheer mass of people that crowded the small dance floor and two bars. Everywhere I turned sexy zombie schoolgirls bumped and grinded with their ghoulish boyfriends. A few male nuns were chatting up a witch while a vampire eyed a voluptuous pink fairy from across the room. Feeling very “faery” myself in my bright green, belly-baring top, mini-skirt and a formidable set of de-feathered angel wings, though, sadly, minus a wand, I was ready to hit the bar, take on the dance floor and flirt outrageously with every remotely good-looking guy sporting fake blood, makeup, or false teeth.
As it happens, I had ample opportunity to do all three and couldn’t help but feel a certain confidence of my own abilities. Being a people-watcher, I found it even more interesting to observe those around me, particularly the creepers who preferred to stare at the girls through dark glasses, waiting for one of them to send that invitation to “come hither and dance”. As if. Of course, some were not content to watch and I slapped the hands of several guys who tried to snake their way around me, hoping to “get lucky”. Finally, amidst the crowd, I noticed another observer. Leaning over a rail, he watched the gyrating crowd with a slight scowl on his face. With a dark shirt open at the collar, hair gelled in the front and brown eyes, I decided he was, all in all, quite good-looking, though my type tended more toward the Peter Pan look of messy blonde hair and sky-blue eyes. Seeing his annoyed expression and frequent glances at his phone, I felt a strong urge to walk up to him and say, “I don’t think she’s going to come. Why don’t you have some fun?” Not necessarily with me, of course!
I had just made up my mind to take the plunge…when he stood slowly, swept the room with another bored glance and walked away. Shoot. I felt cheated out of what had promised to be an interesting and dramatic moment. I had had it all planned out, right down to his open-mouthed expression as the mystery girl turns on her heel and fades into the crowd. There must be another way…”I’m going to get some air,” I told my friends and made my way towards the door, searching all around me as I…ha! Found him! Before I could lose my courage, I walked straight up to him. “She’s not coming,” I told him, catching his eye, “you should dance!” Walking away, I smiled. Perfect. Silently congratulating myself, I didn’t hear the footsteps behind me and was therefore startled when a gorgeous, but slightly out of breath, British accent spoke in my ear, “You know, you can’t just walk away from a guy like that without expecting him to follow you!” “Well,” I replied demurely, “Maybe I was!” and walked coolly on. He grinned and continued to follow, finally introducing himself. An hour later, I left with a number on my hand and a date for coffee the next morning, and the rest, as they say, is history!
I did meet him several times after that day, but whether this chance, or in my case, rather contrived, encounter became no more than some happy memories and a story to take home-or developed into something else entirely, is something for me to know and you to probably never find out! I will say though, that I have been invited back to stay before the end of my travels, both by my dear, tolerant cuz…and my new friend. Of course, I accepted, for who, under such pressure, could do otherwise?