|Darby & Joan are the quintessential middle-aged British couple, characterised by knitwear, hours of scrabble, and a penchant for staying in on Saturday nights. Darby and Joan are, in fact, @calummcswiggan and me.|
They say the thing about love (like there's only the one thing with that motherfucker of a slippery eel) (God I love that over time we’ve become as cynical as each other) (this blog just started and already I’m doing tangents, aren’t I?) (oh, fuck it, I’m not going start punctuating paragraphs NOW) is that one doesn’t simply fall in love and have done with it.
They say- whoever they are- that falling in love happens again and again when you are with the right person. That just when you think you can’t fall harder, or deeper, or more completely, BAM. Somebody goes on ahead to show yet another shade of awesome, and then it is game over: the one doing the falling ends up vomiting up all the love. The one being fell for continues to be simultaneously awesome and totally unaware of what is happening.
I'm talking about you and me, dude.
We’d been doing that all day. Walking down the Riviera past MaxMara noting, Not in Derby now, are we? And then laughing, because there wasn’t a Primark in sight.
Floating on our backs, eyes crinkled against the Italian sun as our faces turned up to look at the coastline, just like a postcard I’d send my mum, you said. We both laughed as we reflected on our luck. We’re not in Derby anymore.
That evening, as we ventured up the windy, bendy roads to Baiardo, our tiny little secret hilltop village with France on one side and the sea to infinity on the other, we did it again. We’re not in Derby anymore.
And I threw up my dinner because I missed you even though you hadn't had to leave yet, because we were both not in Derby any more, and because when I saw you in San Remo something had changed.
We were different.
We weren’t in Derby anymore.
Suddenly I was hit by how much you mean to me. So I threw up.
The night before you came I didn’t sleep. At 6 am I finally got out of bed, and my friend who I was sleeping beside mumbled, Are you okay? I had to tell her that I was so excited that I couldn’t rest. ‘What’s the first thing you’ll say to him?’ she asked me, and I wondered about the answer to that question all the way to the station where I was supposed to meet you in less than three hours.
I knew exactly what I wanted to say.
But then, my new friend Fun Bobby was also at the station! On the platform opposite where I was waiting for you! And I wasn’t expecting to see him, and he was on his way to the airport to fly home after the most amazing summer of his life, he said, and so I didn’t even notice your train pull up! AND, AND, AND!
Then I had to run to grab you from behind, and I knew it was two minutes until Fun Bobby’s train left, and so instead of welcoming you with open arms and golden words I just sort of screamed an approximation of PICK UP THAT SUITCASE AND RUN! YOU NEED TO MEET FUN BOBBY AND HE LEAVES RIGHT NOW THIS VERY SECOND!
To your credit, you totally did as instructed. You ran like the motherfucking WIND.
God, it was weird. He was crying because he didn’t want to leave, and I was teary because my friend was doing exactly that- leaving- and my other friend had just arrived, and the jogging had really made my chest hurt so the tears were also kind of for that, too. You just stood there looking more bewildered then I have ever seen you look in your life, as if to say, WHAT. THE. FUCK. LAURA. WHY COULDN’T YOU JUST HAVE HUGGED ME AND SAID ‘NICE TO SEE YOU!’ LIKE A NORMAL?
It wasn’t really the welcome I had anticipated for you. But it was perfect.
My favourite bit of our 36 hours was realising that since we are both currently residing wherever our backpacks live, we were both living at the beach in Sanremo. NEITHER OF US HAS AN ADDRESS SO LET'S MAKE THIS OUR ADDRESS, we said. And we were in the sea when we had this conversation, bobbing around avoiding jellyfish- you, and your European adventures, and me and my colors and DREAMERSchool- and we decided that if we had to fill out a form for a job we’d have to list our residence as beside the ladder into the sea, next to the good restaurant, Italy.
And baby boy, I’ve never been less scared about what’s coming next for me than I was as we laughed about that.
We’re not in Derby anymore. Most of the time, we’re not even in the same city anymore.
But that isn't important. Four years in and nobody makes me want to throw up more than you do, regardless of where we are.