We were happy, well-fed, and slightly tired though none the worse for wear. Our trip was quickly reaching the end of it's happy little life. Lesley and I packed our bags in the early morning and joined Sue and her family for our last breakfast in Fife. Hugs were traded and we all agreed that another trip was in order, and that perhaps next time they would come to the US and I could show them around.
Our bags were stowed in the van and we began the trip back to the airport in Edinburgh. I drank in the countryside and did my very best to commit it to memory, knowing that no camera could capture the feelings the views invoked. Our hearts felt a bit heavy, though the time together had been non-stop smiles. We were leaving Sue in Scotland while we were heading back to Liverpool.
The flight was uneventful and left Lesley and I plenty of time to chat, giggle, and make plans for our final night of holiday. We made our way from the airport to the apartment and immediately began preparations for our evening on the town. It is important to understand that single moms (which we both were) don't usually have loads of party money to spare. We scrimp and save where we can and put those dollars to the best use possible. We had decided it would be better spent on ourselves than on cab fare. We managed to convince Lee, a friend of Lesley's oldest son, Rob, to drive us to where the action was happening.
With Lee at the helm and Rob in the passenger seat, Lesley and I headed toward Mathew Street. Mathew Street seems more like a party to my way of thinking. It's almost like Fremont Street Experience in Vegas without the laser light shows, cheap beer, and crappy $5 t-shirts. My eyes lit up, and you'd have been able to see it too if it hadn't been for that "cigarette" Rob bought me before we took off.
The night had begun and so had the rain. Aside from a few sprinkles in Scotland we had been blissfully sun drenched, but this night was a wet one! The boys dropped us off at the top of the street and we began what would be a night of pinball-esque bouncing from one side of the street to the other. We dodged raindrops and dried off with beers at each stop.
We drank, danced, and flirted shamelessly with every attractive man we saw. The music was loud and the history was palpable. We visited the Cavern Club, the Cavern Pub, and Flanagan's plus a variety of pubs I can't begin to remember the names of. As the wee hours of the morning approached, we made our way outside in hopes of hailing a cab to take our tired behinds back to Lesley's so I could catch a couple hours of sleep before I headed to the airport and gave up my life as an international traveler.
As we waited for a cab the good times continued outside. The rain had stopped and a fog had settled over the city giving everything near a neon light as movie set quality glow. I can only assume that this would be the point of the evening where people would couple up and decide whose flat would be the location of the walk of shame when the sun came up.
I'm not sure whether I saw him first or he saw me first, but the attraction was immediate. He was leaning against a railing smiling in my direction. When we wandered closer I was painfully aware that he was actually looking at me. Typically, I don't consider myself an easy mark, but this man could have robbed me blind and I wouldn't have minded a bit. Lesley encouraged me to strike up a conversation with him, but I hung back and just continued to smile back like a simpleton. Eventually our path led us directly past him, and I felt a hand reach out for mine.
Had there been a visible arc of electricity between us I'd have not been surprised. Avoiding conversation was now impossible. We introduced ourselves and discussed (obviously) what a nice girl like me was doing standing outside the Liverpool pubs at approximately 2 AM. He was from London and in Liverpool playing a gig at one of the pubs we somehow missed on our way.
Remember when I said you can see a kiss coming a mile away? This time I had my eyes open. Lesley had moved on to talk with a small group of people she'd met earlier, leaving the two of us there to get acquainted. We'd been talking for what must have been
Just then another hand grabbed mine. Lesley, being far less susceptible to the accent and the sparkling eyes, stepped in and saved me from certain death. In reality he would have likely chopped me up into tiny pieces and thrown me in the Mersey. She pulled me toward the cab she'd hailed, told me to say goodnight, and that was that. He was no more and I disappeared into the night... limbs intact.
Morning light broke mere hours after we arrived back at the apartment and I loaded my bags for the airport. Lesley's friend Ian drove us to the airport in Manchester, saving me the trouble of finding a train in the early morning hours. Les and I hugged and promised to connect on IM as soon as I arrived home. When I settled into my seat on the plane, I slipped into a deep sleep and stayed there for the better part of the flight from England to Chicago, dreaming of a beautiful stranger, with a dazzling smile, on a foggy Liverpool street.