Saturday, October 01, 2005

Last Weeks in Brighton - Dr Brighton's

This post can be read on its own or can be read as a follow on to Last Weeks in Brighton - Sunday Sundae.

Dr Brighton's was very full when I walked in at about 9pm. It's a very mixed pub but the crowd used to (still does?) get younger on Saturdays. It isn't really a pre-club venue but there's a DJ on Saturday evenings and the place can get really loud.

I got myself a pint of John Smiths (I don't drink it anymore) and squeezing my way through the crowds, moved towards the back. My eyes were taking in the faces, seeing whom I could recognise and checking out what was on offer. I saw the Canadian almost immediately. He was sitting at one of the high tables in the middle of the room with the same woman I'd seen him with the week before. Our eyes locked. We held each other's gaze but he showed no flicker of recognition. My mind went into over-drive: Does he remember me? He doesn't remember me. He remembers me but wishes he didn't. Should I carry on looking at him? Should I move out of his eyesight? He doesn't fancy me. He does remember me, he's pretending not to.

I moved away and stood near the cigarette machine where I wasn't within his immediate vicinity but was still able to see him. Each time I looked, I found him looking at me. I could also tell that he was talking to his friend about me. Fuck, I felt awkward. And stupid! By the time I'd finished my second pint, I was ready to go, ready to scuttle off into the night. As I went to place my glass on the bar, his friend came up to me.

'Hey, are you going? My friend fancies you.'

'Um, what? Me? Whose your friend?'

She pointed at the Canadian who was looking back. He was smiling at me in a shy sort of way. That same brilliant smile that I'd seen the week before.

'I fancy him too.'

'Cool, come join us,' she said, grabbing my arm as she made her way back to the table.

His name was P. It was very loud in there but he didn't sound Canadian. R, his friend, definitely did. Well, American, actually - my ear can't detect a Canadian from an American. In the space of a few minutes, I'd discovered quite a lot about him.

    He didn't remember talking to me (too many pills) but remembers having seen me somewhere before. I felt a whole lot better.

    He wasn't Canadian, he's from Middlesborough. I'd never heard of the place so he explained, 'A shit-hole in the North east, near Newcastle.'

    R is his best friend and she's Canadian. 'She rocks, she's a skater chick.' A what? Never mind.

    I don't sound South African, I sound 'posh'.

    He's psychic. 'Seriously, I am,' he said, noticing my obvious scepticism. R agreed with him. I chose not to delve into the subject.

The three of us sat there shouting at each other over the music until last orders. P and I really hit it off and I could tell that R was getting bored. Outside Revenge, we had a little debate on where to go. P wasn't keen on going there as he was short of money so we decided to go to the Zanzibar instead. R was probably pleased to see the back of us. 'Have fun, boys,' she called out as we left her in the queue to get in. We walked towards St James's street.

I wasn't pissed but, following him down the steep stairs into Zanzibar, I almost tripped and fell on him. I hardly knew him but he'd managed to press all the right buttons - being in his presence made me feel drunk.

We drank far too much but we danced little. We talked instead. It was crowded and loud and again we had to shout at each other, heads close together. We discovered how different we were and how much we had in common. Although we touched often while leaning over to make ourselves heard, it wasn't overtly sexual even though sexual tension enveloped us like a blanket. At 2am, closing time, we left.

Palace Pier, BrightonI was living towards the end of Kemptown so it wasn't that far to walk. For my first few weeks in Brighton, I'd stayed in a hotel before moving into a flat in Brunswick Square. After 6 months, I moved to house-sit a beautiful house while the owners were abroad. The Palace Pier, that monument to English seaside tackiness, fell more-or-less half way between the two places.

It was a beautiful night and I felt great. Alcohol and lust were coursing through my veins, a potent, heady cocktail. We ran, walked and staggerred our way back, laughing and chatting, our arms around each other for most of the way. We were like two kids, play-punching and jumping on each other. At one point we stopped, looked at each other, drew up closer then kissed. One of those kisses that seem to last forever, where nothing else matters let alone exists.

The house occupied 4 floors. Downstairs you only had the kitchen and dining room, the main sitting room was on the first floor. My bedroom was on the third floor. We only made it as far as the sitting room before we had each other naked. The sex was intense, hard, raw and urgent. But, while it couldn't be called love-making, it ended tenderly. It was just what both of us needed. Later, when we got to the bedroom, we made love.

As we did again the next morning. All morning and into the early afternoon.

P suggested we go eat something at one of the restaurants along St James's street. We found a quiet place that he knew and we both ordered bangers and mash with onion gravy. I suppose you could call it our first date.

He went home afterwards but he returned later that night.

It was my last week in Kemptown and I saw him every day until I moved into the Old Ship Hotel, the place I stayed at before returning to South Africa. In that first week, I pulled a 3-day 'sickie' so that I could be with him and we could lie in bed late together. I went with him to the hospital when he was worried about his 'twisted testicle'. I sat drinking at the pub he worked at while waiting for him to finish. We spent several sunny afternoons on a bench overlooking the sea, me seated, him lying down with his head in my lap.

I was in love.

(to be continued)


Blogger Bill said...

PS/ I've 'tagged' you for a photo of your PC or laptop, if you can find the time.


11:16 am  
Anonymous Buni said...

Love eh? HMmmmmm . . .note to self to come back for next installment.

12:25 pm  
Blogger Reluctant Nomad said...

Is that Buni of Nottingham? It must be. I hope to have the next installment out by today or tomorrow.

12:53 pm  

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