Roam to Reykjavik - Part 3
After a shower I managed to schlep it 6 blocks to the AirBNB in De Pijp that Lex had booked us in to. When I say 'us' I mean Alexis and I, not Ant and I. He's a stunning man-myth but we're just mates. When discussing our glorious reunion, Lex had insisted on making a convoluted, stop-over-heavy route through Stockholm to arrive in Amsterdam on the same day as me, as opposed to arriving on a direct flight the next day... She's just cool like that.
I had a few short hours before she would arrive.
I got to the AirBNB, buzzed the door and was escorted up the excitingly narrow (first taste of European architecture) staircase to our studio apartment. Jip, the host, was brief and preoccupied, running me over the finer points of the unit before manoeuvring his 186cm-ish frame through the compact doorway. I didn't play house, finding only the WiFi code and directions to the nearest LIDL supermarket to get all of the things Lex and I would need for the next 24 hours. After gathering a basket of melk and fruit I proceeded to the checkout... blip... blip... "something dutch 7euro"...
I felt instantly comfortable in Amsterdam. I normally need a few days to adjust, but this place had a calming air about it. Most of you will jump straight to a passive herbal consumption innuendo here... Pish Posh to you nay sayers... Amsterdam is truly a place with a fantastic, old and nurturing energy.
I stole a piece of white A4 card from the studio guest book, it was a one-sided poster for a cycle rental company (sorry Jip). I used it and a red marker to design a name placard so Lex could find me on her arrival... just in case she had forgotten what I looked like since our last FaceTime chat 16 hours earlier. There was a bottle of wine ready with two glasses and the apartment was cosy warm. With that, I left for the airport.
I knew her.
I'd not long before got down on one knee and asked her to spend the rest of her life being my best buddy, but my heart and bowels were pounding. I grabbed a big, fat red rose from the florist at the airport and made my way to the arrivals gate. At this point I didn't need to be anywhere else, I had nothing to do, and I had no purpose but to stand patiently and wait for her...
It honestly felt like I watched every single loved-one exit the airport through the single automatic door except mine. Slowly the crowd dispersed and I got to know the "puh-fwoossssshhh" sound of the door VERY well. Then, she was. I'm pretty sure that was the point where we both became blindingly conscious of ourselves... We could see each other, with only metres of real, measurable space between us and the gap was closing. Our completely digital relationship for the last four months was now in three dimensions. I'd played this moment out in my head so many times, but there I stood, so frazzled and befuddled I could barely react. We power-walked towards each other and to my delight, my Lexie grabbed me and smooched me without saying a word... IT WAS WIERD! Not unlike a spontaneous nightclub kiss in the way is felt. I can only liken it to cooking from a cookbook for the first time: you want to eat the meal, you know the recipe, you have bought the ingredients and you are in the kitchen, but it is still so hard to feel confident... With glassy eyes and big smiles we agreed it was straight up bizarro to kiss someone after 4 months of facial celibacy.
We probably made every commuter within 50m of us a bit bilious on the way back in to the city.
Sorry. Not sorry.