“Want to go to Disneyland Paris for New Year?” he asked one evening.
“Why not – it’ll be fun” I replied
I was mid 20s, and still sore from a major relationship breakup. Or breakdown. He was a colleague from Middlesbrough that I’d only ever spoken to on the phone. And now on MSN messenger (remember that kids?) we were planning a trip to Europe together. Like you do.
Of course it was only sensible to meet up beforehand. You know, to make sure he/I wasn’t a serial killer with a Disney fetish. He came down to Birmingham, hoping for the start of a beautiful friendship. Or more. Only, I wasn’t attracted to him in the slightest. In fact, he had no redeeming features at all. Even his flirty, charming personality had all been a facade. But I still wanted to go to Disneyland.
Which is why I find myself on the train up to York on the 29th December. Because our embarkation point is in Middlesbrough. For £150 each, who would complain? There’s an awkward evening in the pub, and then an awkward night spent in the single bed in the bedroom of a mid-20s man who still lives with his parents. Said man does not share the bed, or indeed the room.
Have you ever been on a coach from Middlesbrough to Dover? 7 hours of hell. And then the ferry. And then another 4 hours of coach hell. By the time we arrive in our hotel room just outside Paris it is bedtime. There are two twin beds pushed together. I build a wall of pillows and wish my date bon nuit.
There are very few things I remember clearly about my day at Disney. I remember that we went on every ride we could. I remember that he tried to hold my hand and I would pretend to point at something in the distance, or pretend that something behind him had caught my attention. I remember that wearing a flimsy t-shirt and denim jacket is not suitable attire for a winter’s day in France. I remember letting him hold my hand, just so I could warm the hand that was turning blue with cold. I remember ooohing and aaahing at the fairy-tale castle. I remember ooohing and aaahing at the midnight New Year fireworks, and I remember wishing that I was sharing that moment with someone special.
After another night on the edge of a bed, with a fortress of pillows behind me, it’s time for another 12 hours of coach misery. This time I do the only sensible thing and fake a headache all the way home so that I don’t have to speak to my date. I only open my eyes to take sips from the bottle of water that my concerned and far-too-kind date offers me on a frequent basis.
Another awkward night in the pub, another awkward night spent in the single bed in the bedroom of a mid-20s man who still lives with his parents. Despite our forced sleeping arrangements over the previous 48 hours, my date does not share the bed, or indeed the room.
The next morning, after more awkwardness at breakfast, it is time to return to York, to catch the train back home to Birmingham. It has been an interesting New Year, and has created a memory which will last forever. Our relationship/friendship however didn’t. We would occasionally speak for work purposes but we never referred to that trip again.
What is the most spontaneous thing you’ve ever done for romance? And have you ever had a more cringeworthy first date? Have you ever been stuck in a situation that you can’t get out of without feigning illness? Let me know in the comments!
I have tenuously linked this to the September #TravelLinkUp as the best things I take away from travel are the amazing memories and stories that are created.
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