Roam to Reykjavik - Part 3
After a shower I managed to convince myself to schlep it 6 blocks to the AirBNB Lex 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. After discussing our glorious reunion, Lex insisted on a convoluted, stop-over-heavy route through Stockholm to get to Amsterdam the same day as me, as opposed to arriving on a direct flight the next day... She's just cool like that.
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 manoevering 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 dutch-labelled items I proceeded to the checkout... blip... blip... "something dutch 7euro"...
After switching the conversation politely to English, I requested that the cashier check his calculations... surely he had missed 70% of the items as they passed over the scanner? "7 euro... yes this is right" I offered him cash with a politely enunciated "OK if you are certain". The transaction ended with me trying to exit as quickly as possible, only to be beckoned back by the check-out-dude... "You forgot this" he offered me my yoghurt tub.
I felt instantly comfortable in Amsterdam. I normally need a few days to adjust, but this place had a calming air about it. I know most readers 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 guest book, it was a one-sided poster for a cycle rental company, sorry Jip. I used it and a red marker I found 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. I made sure there was a bottle of wine ready with two glasses, and the apartment was warm and 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.