Perfect Day

Posted: 01/11/2010 in The Calculator
Tags: , , , , ,

6th April 2006 – Neal and I woke up uncharacteristically early. We had spent the previous night playing video games well into the early hours of the morning and ordinarily an unscheduled over-sleeping would follow. But not this morning. We were awake so figured why not get up? It was a beautifully sunny day. The kind of day that instantly raises a smile and makes you feel good. It was also the day of the college party and we needed to get our tickets.

The walk to college was chipper. It was less a walk and more a hop, skip and jump. There was definitely an air of good mood and excitement. I had been playing my Skindred album all morning and one particular track – ‘Pressure’ – had infested our minds. “Pressure”, we’d keep singing in louder tones and higher pitch at random intervals. We were in good spirits as we purchased our tickets for the party and we were buzzing on the long walk back to my house.

We didn’t have long to ponder what we were going to do with the rest of our day as Tom phoned me up and invited us to play football round the park. Sounded like a plan. A change of clothes was necessary so on went the shorts and football shirt. In anticipation of a slightly energetic affair I prepared a bottle of water to quench our inevitable thirst. We stepped out of the front door and Neal proceeded to walk down the garden path, out of the gate and onto the road. I had other ideas. The fence surrounding my house was so easy to jump. I’d plant my hands on the top and leap over before landing on my feet. Usually. On this particular occasion I had my hands full. I planted a few select fingers from each hand on the top of the fence while the remaining fingers gripped my mobile phone and the big bottle of water. It felt a little unsteady but I was confident it would still be a formality. I took the leap but instead of clearing the top of the fence I landed on top of the thin surface. Like a cat. Unlike a cat, though, my balance was far from perfect as I proceeded to, slowly but surely, fall forward towards the concrete below. Ouch. Consequently there was some grazing, a few drops of blood, a temporary limp and overwhelming embarrassment. At least Neal saw the funny side. We continued to Tom’s house.

We walked up Tom’s driveway before meeting Tom in his garden. He had his shirt off and was playing with himself. He was just doing keepie uppies with the football. The three of us strolled to the park. Tom had a joint, I had a cigarette, Neal didn’t smoke. When we arrived we marked our territory by one of the goalposts and began our kick-around. Tom stood on one side of the goal while I stood on the other and Neal was in the middle playing goalkeeper. Tom and I set about taking shots at Neal. This proved a little problematic for me as the trainers I had bought especially for playing football in were way too big. Every other shot I took, my footwear would go flying. I decided to take them off and play in my socks. It was all good fun and then I decided I was going to take a free kick. I probably announced I was taking it in the style of a world class footballer but I can’t remember which one. I placed the ball down with determination and set myself for the strike. I made eye contact with Neal. This free kick was going to be a belter. I began my run up – so far, so good – I lifted my right leg and proceeded to strike as sweet a ball as I possibly could have. CRACK. Incredible. Neal had made a literally phenomenal save. As the ball flew towards his top right-hand corner he reached out an arm and tipped it onto the crossbar. So close. But what a save! After a split second of shock and awe, Neal summoned me towards him with a cheeky grin on his face. “Come here a minute,” he said, everything seeming okay, “What?” I asked, “Just come here… Look at that…” He raised his hand to present to me the most disfigured finger I’ve ever seen in real life. “Do you think it’s broken?” I asked, “Uh, you think!” snapped Neal. I detected a hint of sarcasm in his reply. Tom was metaphorically laughing his tits off at this point and I can’t deny laughing ever so slightly uncontrollably. I think this kind of annoyed Neal. A trip to casualty beckoned but I needed a shower first.

I won’t lie, I don’t think Neal was particularly appreciative of my insistence of showering before getting his crooked finger looked at by a nurse. We had been playing football on a gorgeously sunny day and I was sweating like a bastard so there was no way I was going to venture into town and to the hospital whilst in that state. I had my shower a felt refreshed. Neal was still pretty sweaty and in quite a lot of pain but, like I say, I was refreshed. We carried on to get Neal’s “Quasimodo” finger looked at.

Sitting and waiting in the hospital was interminable. There was no one in the waiting area and yet we still must have waited for half an hour before anyone came and looked at Neal’s finger. Eventually he was summoned. They poked, prodded and asked stupid questions before deciding he should have an x-ray. More tedious waiting. Finally Neal got his result – multiple fractures in his finger – and we went back to mine to get ready for the party.

Getting ready was a standard affair. The usual pricking about in front of the mirror, pissing about with our hair and spraying way too much deodorant on our bodies. This was all done to the same Skindred soundtrack we’d had in the morning. We had a few beers and were buzzing like bumble bees on crack. Tonight was going to be a good night.

We did the usual. A few beers in Wetherspoons before heading to the Palace Nightclub which was the venue for all the college parties. We were having a good night drinking and conversing with numerous people.  Neal’s ex-girlfriend made an appearance at one point and the pair disappeared for a while leaving me a bit stranded. I made my way to the upstairs bar and took solace on the sofas sectioned off at the top. It wasn’t too long before Neal joined me. We sat there and chatted for a bit before I noticed a girl sat on her own on the opposite sofa on the other side of the room. She was beautiful. She had long, dark hair and the most incredible brown eyes I’ve ever seen. A little distance away from her was a much messier girl swapping saliva with an equally messy guy. I assumed maybe the pretty one was playing gooseberry. I leaned over to Neal and pointed out the girl sat opposite and asked him what he thought of her. He thought she was alright. I suggested maybe I should go over and talk to her. Neal concurred. I then pointed out the fact that was never going to happen because I never had the courage to do that sort of thing. Neal said if I went over he’d come with me. Safety in numbers I thought. I agreed that under those conditions I would go over and talk to her. I stood up from my seat and Neal stood up from his and we proceeded to walk slowly towards her. Halfway across the room I nervously went to check with Neal to seek reassurance that this was a good idea. Neal wasn’t there. Neal was sat back down on the sofa laughing at me. The cunt. What the hell was I to do? I couldn’t just turn around and sit back down like a little girl. Fuck it. In for a penny, in for a pound. I continued to approach this thing of beauty and asked politely if I could sit next to her. She accepted. I asked her about her night and she said it was okay and that the girl eating the face off the guy over there is indeed her friend who has left her. Cue conversation. We talked for ages. Someone came over and asked me for a cigarette. I had my packet of cigarettes in my pocket but I hadn’t been smoking long and wasn’t confident enough to admit to being a  smoker in front of this girl I really wanted to see again. I made up some bullshit excuse about holding them for a friend but I’m sure she didn’t believe me.

It came to that point in the night where the bouncers arrive to usher you downstairs and out of the building. I wanted her telephone number. I needed her telephone number. I wanted so badly to ask if she wanted to exchange numbers but no words were coming out of my mouth. At the very last minute, I said it. I asked if she wanted to swap phone numbers. And she did. She actually did. We went our separate ways.

Neal and I went to the nearest kebab shop to get some food. We then decided to get a taxi. It would have taken ten minutes to walk home but Neal’s finger was hurting and we all know that seriously affects one’s walking abilities.  We went to the taxi station and who should be there but the beautiful girl and her messy friend. A genuinely pleasant coincidence. It was also a tiny bit awkward. After doing the whole departing ritual this was like an unplanned encore. It’s okay, it didn’t last long and me and Neal got our taxi home.

Back at home I stuck the kettle on and made us a lovely cup of tea. I make an awesome cup of tea. We sat and reflected on the night. All I could think about was the beautiful brunette with the amazing eyes. I had to text her but that sort of thing was never my strong point. I had to do it perfectly. Neal and I deliberated for ages structuring the perfect text. Interested and forward but not hassling and invasive. We did it and I sent it. She replied a positive reply and we were going to meet up for a drink in a few days.

I won’t go into what happened next… but it turned out she was the love of my life.


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