October 13th, 1989
Stephen’s flat, Brighton, East Sussex
Whoever said, “Life is strange,” certainly wasn’t kidding!
Because of our late night, I didn’t wake up ‘til noon, at which time I thought about going home but quickly decided I wasn’t in the mood for the long trek. Made tea and read for a bit but soon got bored so I went to wake Stephen up.
“Whoever you are, go away,” he croaked, after I knocked on his bedroom door.
“Get up!” I shouted, striding into his room, where, with a flourish, I drew the curtains open.
“That’s really bright,” he groaned.
“And you, my dear, are a sight,” I said in a sing-song voice.
“How you feeling?” I asked, perching on the edge of his bed.
“I think somebody must have slipped me a dirty ice cube last night.”
I laughed. “Obviously. I mean it couldn’t possibly be anything to do with the amount of tequila you drowned in.”
“Not even,” he laughed.
“Get up, get dressed and we’ll go for a nice, brisk walk!”
“I hate you,” he shouted as I headed out of his bedroom.
The brisk walk was more of a saunter that ended at one of the benches facing the beach. Stephen and I were laughing about some of last night’s antics when I heard, “McGarr! McGarr!”
I spun my head around and there, in his car, was Jon!
“What are you doing so far from home?” I yelled, making my way towards him.
“I’ve been at a conference at The Grand this week, we finished early.”
“This is mental,” I laughed, bending into the car to kiss his cheek.
“And what are you doing so far away from home?”
“I’m with my friend Stephen,” I said, pointing to the bench, from where Stephen sat, smiling and waving as if he was in a parade.
“Come and join us,” I said, excitedly.
“Are you sure?”
“Of course, but good luck finding a parking spot.”
Stephen was all smiles when I joined him back on the bench.
“Well, well, well,” he smirked. “I guess this means bye bye cobwebs.”
“He’s just a friend,” I stated.
“That’s what they all say darling.”
A few minutes later, Jon and Stephen shook hands and made small talk as I sat, sandwiched between them. Stephen said he was feeling, “worse for wear” and that he was, “going home to take a nap.”
“I’ll be back in a little while,” I said, as Stephen got up and walked behind Jon, where he made rude gestures with his tongue!
Jon and I chatted as we made our down the Palace Pier, where we bought chips that we ate, sitting on the deck chairs.
“What’s up with you McGarr?”
“Why do you ask?”
“You don’t seem quite yourself.”
“It’s a long story,” I sighed.
“This is a big bag of chips,” he laughed. “And we can always get more.”
I don’t know what compelled me to tell Jon about Ben and my mixed feelings over seeing him again, but once I started, I couldn’t seem to stop. When I was done, I thought I’d possibly shared much more than I should have, so I waited for Jon to speak.
“I think you’re worrying about it all far too much, McGarr,” he said, with ease. “Just wait and see how you feel when you see him again. Once you do, you’ll know.”
“Do you think so?”
“I know so,” he smiled.
It was starting to cool down and Jon seemed in no hurry to leave, so I asked if he’d like to come to Stephen’s with me.
“Do you think he’d mind?”
I shook my head no. “Not at all, especially if we show up with a few bottles of wine.”
An hour later Stephen’s flat was filled with an array of characters aka his amazing mix of eclectic friends. I could tell Jon was really enjoying himself.
“Why don’t you stay a bit longer and come out with us?” I suggested.
“That’d be ok?”
Absolutely,” I said, looking to where Stephen and his old pal Charlie were standing, smoking, out the window. “Stephen,” I called, but he didn’t hear me. “Stephen!”
“Jon is thinking of coming out with us.”
“If that’s alright with…” Jon started.
“You’re in the mix now, honey,” Charlie chirped. “We won’t let you leave, even if you want to,” he said, with a wink.
By the time we stepped out of the flat, onto the teeming street, we were all pretty tipsy.
“It’s Friday the thirteenth,” Jon remarked.
“Look around,” I giggled, “it most certainly is.”
“Where are we going, McGarr?”
We walked a few paces behind the others and talked nonstop as we made our way down towards the seafront. When we reached The Zap, there was a queue to get in but Charlie waved for us to go straight to the door.
Once we were inside, I watched as Jon scanned the crowd.
“There’s not too many girls in here.”
“How very observant,” I laughed, pulling him in the direction of the dance floor, where
we danced for ages to some of the best acid house I’ve heard in a club in a long time.
“Isn’t this fun?” I shouted.
“Brilliant,” Jon beamed. “Just don’t leave me alone.”
“Don’t worry,” I laughed. “I won’t.”
Stephen joined us on the dance floor and with a hand on each of our shoulders, he slurred, “Do you know what?”
“What?” I asked.
“You two really suit each other.”
I crossed my arms and jokingly glared at him.
“Do you know she used to be my girlfriend?” Jon shouted over the music.
“Oh yes, darling, I know it all,” Stephen said, swaying ever so slightly.
I looked at Jon and shook my head, laughing. “What do you know, Stephen?” I asked.
“I know that whether you’re gay, straight or whatever, love is a bitch.”
He has a point.