June 12th, 1989
I woke up an hour ago and it’s three in the afternoon! Yes, last night was without a doubt, “One Of Those Nights.”
I sat with Frankie on the crew bus and she talked nonstop, which was perfect because the last thing I wanted to do was discuss recent events in my life. After we checked in, she said she’d see me at the room party.
By the time I reached my room, I felt tired and gloomy and after my suitcase got delivered, I took a shower and figured I’d skip the room party and stay in. I crawled into bed and turned on the tv but with so many ads I soon lost interest and shut it off. I got up and wandered around my room and thought about writing a letter to Ben, then thought better of it.
I jumped when the phone rang.
“Darling, where are you?” Frankie asked.
“Eh, in my room.”
She giggled. “When are you coming to Sally’s room?”
I was about to say, “I’m not,” but the thought of being alone in my room for the rest of the night suddenly felt a lot less appealing.
“I’ll be there in five minutes.”
The second I got to Sally’s room, Frankie appeared and handed me a huge glass of wine.
“Knock it back,” she said. “We’re all going out. And what took you so long? I’m so glad I rang you, otherwise you’d have missed going out and this is your first time here isn’t it? James already suggested we go to the place next door just to warm up then who knows where we’ll go after that but personally I’d like to take a cruise on the river, I think it’s a river, is it a river? Gosh, I’m not sure but it’s very pretty and I think it would be a lovely way for you to see the buildings. It’s your first time here, isn’t it?”
With no idea how to respond I guzzled the wine down and followed everyone outside the hotel, to the bar next door.
It was a sports bar and the interior and clientele were so American I felt like I was on a movie set. The giant tv’s mounted on the walls, were tuned to different channels, all showing various sports, not exactly my cup of tea but I did enjoy people watching around the bar. For about ten minutes.
Frankie was talking to a very nice looking guy wearing a baseball cap backwards and I sidled up to her and quietly asked, “Do you fancy going somewhere else?”
“Oh gosh, is that the time?” she said, looking at her bare wrist. “Sorry, it’s been lovely chatting to you Al, but I must go.”
“What was that all about?” I asked as we walked round to the other side of the bar.
“Bo-ring,” she said with a mock yawn.
I asked around the crew if anyone wanted to join us but with the “Sunday night special” on drinks and food there was no impetus for anyone to leave.
Out on the street, Frankie asked, “Do you have a boyfriend? I do, his name is Rutherford but everyone calls him Ruts and he’s rather clever, he works in financing in the city and…”
I stopped walking and Frankie followed suit. I turned to her. “Can you do me a favour?”
“Of course. What is it?” she asked with more than a hint of a slur.
“Can you ask just one question at a time?”
She smiled and mouthed, “Sorry.”
“It’s ok,” I mouthed back.
We continued walking and in a much slower tone, with the hint of a smile she asked, “Do you have a boyfriend?”
“I did but I don’t anymore.”
“Oh no, what happened?”
“It’s a really long story.”
“Can you make it short?” she asked. “There’s a lovely wine bar coming up in about two minutes.”
I laughed, “Probably.”
“Go on,” she urged.
“Let’s see. I just got back from the South of France…”
“Oh gosh, I love the South of France, isn’t it fab? Nice? Were you in Nice?”
“No,” I said shaking my head, “not this time.”
“Oh. Cannes?” she asked.
“Oh gosh, where else? Ah! St. Tropez?” she asked in the most atrocious sounding French accent that made me laugh.
“Do you want to hear this or not?”
“Gosh, yes, yes I do, sorry, sorry yes.”
“The short version is that I went to visit my boyfriend who’s working as a rep and he finished with me.
Her eyes widened and she let out a, “Noooooooooo.”
“Yeeeeessss,” I replied.
“Gosh, that’s awful. I’m so sorry.”
“Awful is an understatement. I can’t quite believe it’s over.”
“It appears we have work to do.”
“We do?” I asked.
“Oh gosh yes, lots of work to do.”
“We simply must get you back on the bike.”
I gave her a questioning look.
“Haven’t you heard?” she asked. “The sooner you get back on the bike the better.”
“The bike?” I asked.
“Yes, you know, the bike,” she said, with a wink.
“Oh, ok, I get it.”
Linking her arm with mine, she said, “Good. Now let’s go and find you a bike.”