July 15th, 1989
Birch Road, Surrey
Feeling slightly tipsy as I write this from my old room at Birch Road, in the tiny bed I occasionally used to share with Ben.
Mum woke me up this morning with a lovely cup of tea and she sat on the edge of my bed for ages while we chatted about all sorts. Dad was pottering around in the garden and every so often mum called down to him, asking him what he was doing. Whenever she did, I could hear dad laughing and I hope that if I ever get married, it’ll be just like that.
While I was in the hall, the phone rang and made me jump.
“Karen, it’s eh, Sean. From last night?”
“Oh, Sean,” I said, barely able to hide my surprise. “How are you?”
“Fine thanks. And you?”
“Very well, thanks.”
“Eh, I was ringing to see if you’re ehm, if you’re free tonight.”
“Sorry, I’m not.”
“Oh, ok then,” he said. His disappointed sounding tone prompted an explanation from me.
“I’m going to a party at the house I used to live in when I worked for Air Europe. They’re a mad bunch but I love them.”
His laugh sounded so melodic that for a split second I thought I might invite him.
“That sounds like fun,” he said.
“I’m sure it will be.”
He paused for a second before saying, “It was really nice to meet you last night.”
“It was nice to meet you as well. Sarah and Simon were in good form weren’t they? We did have a great laugh.”
“You know Sarah from school?”
“I do,” I said. “I met her on my first day at my new school after we moved here from Scotland.”
“My mum’s Scottish you know.”
“Och aye,” he said in a terrible Scottish accent that made me laugh. “Do you get back up there much?” he asked.
“Not as much as I’d like to but I’ll be going up to see my Nana and some of my cousins, hopefully sooner rather than later.”
“Where does your Nana live?”
“That’s where you’re from?” he asked.
“Excellent, great city.”
“Where do you live?” I asked.
“Oh, I thought you lived locally.”
“I did, that’s how I met Simon but I recently moved. Work and all that,” he said by way of explanation.
“The party I’m going to is in Surrey, sort of close to Sussex.”
“Are you kidding?” he asked.
“No, I’m not. It’s in East Croydon but I’ll actually be parking my car at Gatwick and taking the train.”
He laughed. “Isn’t that the long way around?”
“Yeah, it is but I hate driving in really congested areas and there’s never anywhere to park, so I just find it easier this way.”
“I live right beside Gatwick, in Crawley.”
“How did we not talk about this last night? That’s so funny, I used to work with lots of girls at Air Europe who lived in Crawley. I know it quite well.”
There was a slight pause again before he said, “Listen, if you’re going to Gatwick maybe we could meet up before you go to the party.”
“We could, couldn’t we?”
“I’d be happy to drive you to the party if you like.”
“That might work,” I said, laughing.
“Great,” he said, sounding much more confident. “Just give me a time and I’ll meet you at Gatwick.”
The party just wound down and last I looked it was close to four am. It’s been an amazing night with a barbeque, ridiculous amounts of dancing and ample amounts of booze.
I love being back here, there’s something very special about this house and it’s inhabitants. I think it’s because Simone (the best landlady ever!) is so kind and makes everyone feel really welcome. It might be the wine talking, but I wish I’d invited Sean.