Continued from my last post…
Six years ago, I flew home from that same European adventure. But of all the trips I’ve taken to Europe this is the one I remember best and most fondly. When last we spoke, I’d just met Pablo in a gay bar in London.
He had left his friend across the bar and approached me. As he walked across the bar I smiled that knowing smile. He introduced himself and we shook hands. We began to talk. He spoke with a very thick Spanish accent. Turns out he was born in Madrid and now lived in London, where he was going to school, studying Economics. We stood in the bar and chatted for a very long time. Eventually his friend came over and said that he was leaving. They hugged and his friend left. It was now just the two of us.
It was early in the evening so I asked him if he would like to get dinner. He said he would love to. And so we wandered out of the bar in search of food. I don’t remember what part of town we were in but there were many restaurants to choose from. Since he lived in London I asked him if there was a place that he liked to go. He thought for a moment and then led the way. We ended up in a little dive place that he swore had the best burgers in London. We sat down and ordered beers, and burgers with fries. He told me one of the reasons he liked the restaurant was because they served American size servings. He was not joking, when the food came, the plate was over flowing.
And so we ate. And talked. And got to know each other. I sometimes had difficulty understanding him, but he told me he was used to it. He had a very dry sense of humor and made me laugh a lot. He told me what it was like growing up in Spain. I shared what it was like growing up in the States. He told me of his family, school, and his adventures in London. I shared with him, things about my own education, and more importantly my adventures in New York. He loved that I was from New York, and shared his great desire to live here one day.
Finally the meal came to an end. We paid the tab and wandered outside. We began walking, and I told him that I needed to head back to my hotel because I had to work the next morning. He asked if he could walk me there. And so we strolled down the street toward my hotel. It probably doesn’t surprise any of you that when we got there I asked him to come up. He was very impressed with the room (the new hotel was very nice), but I didn’t let him think about the room for long. Without going into the details, one thing lead to another and the next thing I knew we were turning out the lights to go to sleep. I slept that night curled around the beautiful Pablo.
The next morning, I woke early enough to order room service for breakfast. Our first morning together, we ate breakfast in bed. We laughed and giggled and enjoyed the morning. As we walked out of the hotel, me to go to work, him to go home, he slipped his telephone number into my hand and asked me to call him later. He explained that he had to work in the evening but just to leave a message and he would call me back. I rode the tube floating on cloud 9 that morning.
I got to work that first day, and was in rare form. I was in the best mood possible. I got settled and got my computer hooked up to their Internet and I began to work. I had barely gotten started when Mike, a co-worker, pulled me aside and asked me if he could talk to me. I said sure. He then laid out what was going on. Seems everyone in the London office had already been told that their days were numbered with the company and that the new company was going to put their own people on the European business. But that they were changing their business model and that none of my work would mean anything in two weeks. So with that he gave me the rest of the day off. And just so I don’t have to come back to this strain of the story. For the next two weeks I would go to the office for a couple of hours, check email, and send out enough responses so that people thought I was working. And then I had the day to myself.
And so I left the office that first day without a care in the world and with an entire day in front of me to spend in the city. In all honesty I don’t remember what I did that day. Over the two weeks I went to a lot of museums, and historical places, and walked a lot. But mostly I thought about Pablo. So although there are parts of the trip that I’ll never forget there are a lot of details that are lost. I do know that I thought it was too early to call him and so I set out.
Around 4:00 I called him. He answered. Turns out he didn’t have to be at work until 5:00. I shared with him what had happened at work. And that I’d have a lot more free time. Unfortunately he did not, with school and work. But he told me he could see me after work that night. He gave me the address of the store that he worked at and told me to come by around 9:30. We hung up and although I don’t remember the rest of the day, I certainly remember that night.
Pablo worked at a very upscale London clothing store based in Spain. When I got there, the store was closed so I waited outside. Eventually, the store lights were turned out and out walked Pablo. In a suit. If he was delicious last night, he was even prettier in his suit. He walked up and hugged and kissed me and asked if I had eaten dinner yet. I told him that I had not because I was hoping that we could eat together. Off we went to find dinner. And after dinner we walked back to my hotel, where once again I asked him up. And once again he spent the night. And once again we ordered room service the next morning.
And thus began my two week romance with Pablo. I went to work every morning, and sight seeing every afternoon. Often I would go see shows in the evening, and then, Pablo and I would meet in the evening. He took me to all of his favorite restaurants, and local hangouts. And then we would end up back at my hotel where every night I would fall asleep in his arms.
It was one of the best two weeks I’ve ever had.
But eventually it came to an end. My time in London was up. I was meeting my boss/friend ML and we were taking the train to Paris. ML waited outside the store while Pablo and I said our good-byes. I didn’t cry, but I was very close. How wonderful it had been to meet someone so sweet and endearing.
And with that, I boarded the train and left for Paris.
Tune in tomorrow and I’ll finish the story of Pablo…