June 6th, 1989
South of France
The excursion to the School House finally wrapped up at three this morning on a nearby beach, after which we all stumbled merrily back to the campsite.
Ben crawled into bed the minute we got back, said he was absolutely knackered and promptly fell asleep. I got into bed beside him but when I lay down, my head started spinning from too much sangria and wine. My thoughts felt jumbled and confused about what will happen after I leave in a couple of days so I laid my hand on Ben’s chest, hoping the rise and fall of his breathing would calm me down.
All of a sudden I heard raised voices that sounded close by and a clattering noise that made me jump. I expected the commotion to wake Ben, but he didn’t even stir. I crept out of bed, threw some clothes on and went outside to investigate.
The first thing I saw was a girl about my age lying on the ground outside the caravan next door. I was even more surprised to see another girl sitting at the table with a beer bottle in her hand.
“Is everything alright?” I asked.
They both stared at me. The dark haired girl on the ground shouted, “Who’re you?” in a thick Glaswegian accent.
“I should be asking you that,” I said, sounding bolder than I felt.
“Where did you come fae?” the blonde one slurred in an even thicker accent.
“Next door,” I said, pointing to Ben’s caravan. “What’s all the racket about?”
“Racket? Did you say we’re making a racket?” the dark haired one asked as she attempted to stand. She was doing ok until she stumbled against the plastic table, fell forward and landed back on the ground.
The two of them burst into a fit of giggles and the blonde was laughing so much that she slid off the plastic chair and, with the beer bottle still intact, she landed on top of her friend. They shrieked their joy at being reunited and from a nearby caravan, a male voice with a cockney accent boomed, “Keep it down!”
The dark haired girl managed to roll out from underneath blondie and I put my hand out to help her up.
“Wit’s yer name?” she asked, looking up at me.
“Karen. What’s yours?”
“Am wee ish a bell,” she slurred, as I pulled her up.
“There you go Isobel. Easy does it,” I said, helping her into the seat.
I turned to help blondie but she was already on her feet. “Who are ye here wi?” she asked.
“My boyfriend. He’s one of the reps here. I’m just visiting.”
“Aw, that’s awfy nice sure it is ish a bell?”
“Aye, brilliant,” Isobel groaned, bobbing her head from side to side.
“Can I give you a hand taking those inside?” I asked, pointing to two pink overstuffed suitcases.
“Naw, that’s awright,” blondie said with an exaggerated hand flourish. “We’ll sort them oot the morra.”
“Ok, well I’m going back inside. Maybe I’ll see you girls tomorrow.” Hopefully not, I thought.
With half her tiny frame dangling over the side of the chair, Isobel looked up and mumbled, “A like you Kathy.”
I smiled and didn’t bother to correct her. “Can you do me a favour girls and try and keep the noise down? Ben, my boyfriend, has to be up early for work in the morning.”
“Och, that’s the wee rat’s name Michael Jackson sung that song aboot.” Isobel attempted to point her index finger at me but it was more of a swaying motion. “D’ye remember that wee song Kathy?”
“I do, yeah.”
With her finger still pointing in my general direction, she sang, “And you my friend will see, you’ve got a friend in me.”
“Ish a bell, you’re talkin pish noo,” blondie said. “C’mon, it’s time fur yer bed.”
“Night girls,” I whispered, hoping they’d get the message.
“Cheerio Kathy,” they roared.