I licked my thumb to turn the page of my book, glancing up for the first time in a while to enjoy my surroundings. Mount Kilimanjaro sat proudly in the backdrop of my hotel, dragonflies hovered over the swimming pool and periodically nosedived for a drink. The sun was moving in the sky, stealthily stealing the shadow over my lounger and getting alarmingly close to my chilled beer.
I leaned over to claim the five pence from the kerb, examining both sides respectively to check it was real. It was rare to find money at school, a shiny piece of treasure that had been overlooked, quite remarkably, by a pilgrimage of eagle eyed teenagers; on their way out of the school gates for lunch. We weren’t strictly permitted to leave the premises, but now we were year nines, the teachers seemed to turn a blind eye to the few groups of 14-somethings playing truant every day.
When I reached what looked like the centre of the bridge, I tentatively placed both my hands on the cold metal bar, leaning into it, to peer meekly over the edge. I’d been told by my tour guide, in his jovial Slovenian-English, that the drop was ‘only’ 10 metres. I was sceptical, it looked much higher. Much higher than a few minutes before when I’d eagerly raised my hand as volunteer to be the first to jump. Glancing back to the crowd standing on the embankment, I could see they were shouting something through the makeshift megaphones they had created with their hands. They could be words of encouragement or impatience I couldn’t tell, any sounds they were making had been stolen by the winds.
The change of scenery was very welcome I thought to myself, as I sat down to breakfast. A two day residential course at a beautiful and quintessentially English training site, with 30 foot ceilings, red velvet curtains and paintings of 18th century admirals and merchants framing the walls. I’d gone for the full English and midway through a Cumberland sausage I caught eyes with the most beautiful human I had ever seen.
I once confessed to a friend of mine that I felt slightly envious of her. Unlike her and the rest of our friend group I had never been given a plus one to a wedding, even when I had been in relationships with long term partners they had met and was serious with. Instead,… Read More »Confessions of the Singles Table