I have often mentioned her in this blog, either by her full name
, by A. or Al
. Now, my dear Alicia is leaving London, leaving it for good. When the decision first became final – last May- it seemed there was plenty of time for the perspective of a London without her to sink in. But now a few hours away before I wave goodbye at (e)Stansted airport, it still hasn't. shit and fuck
We had bid farewell to each other once again, 8 years ago, after a period of sharing a flat in the north of Spain. Even though that farewell could have well been the last time we saw each other (we didn’t know if we would meet again, we were barely 20 yrs old embarking on totally different things) and despite the fact that both of us were emotional at the airport (was she? I know I cried my eyes out during the whole flight to Madrid), it wasn’t as hard as it is now that we know we'll be seeing each other soon, definitely before Christmas.
In her last month in the city she was born in, we got an urge to do all pending stuff and repeat all time faves. We visited all the restaurants we like, I cooked her favourite dish, we got really wasted, she came to see my office,
I saw hers
and we saw half a dozen films. Every weekend we made a point of visiting sth different – stupid tourists in our own city … Borough Market, Greenwich, Highgate cemetery, suburbs. One of these excursions was to Thorpe Park
. I wasn't very sure about it at first but in the end, I conceded to the idea against my better judgment. Upon arrival, she suggested we tried one of the scariest rides first. Apparently, that would “boost the adrenaline”. Plus we would “have a tough one out of the way”. I cannot fathom why but this seemed a good idea at the time. Being on it though was a quite different story: for the first time in my life, I was not just frightened, I was .... pffff, “scared out of my wits” doesn't even begin to describe it. Too scared to even feel fear. Instead I felt nothing. Was it because I thought I was going to die? I don’t think so. I only know I felt numb. I was aware of all things happening around me but in a metaphysical kind of way. I couldn't move any of my face muscles, I couldn’t even scream, there was an absolute vacuum. The odd picture they take while you are hanging on your head proved it. I looked absolutely calm, eyes closed, serious and pale. Like a person at a funeral, or better yet the dead body in the coffin. At the end of the ride I was laughing for a whole min. Alicia thought it was because I had such a great time but I just laughed out of relief. I didn't know what I was relieved of... In the next one which was even worse (name of the ride: Nemesis Inferno
… I rest my case) I decided to follow a different strategy and told myself: make sure you smile, keep your eyes open and scream your heart out. And it worked! I had a blast. I now think that perhaps this is a good recipe for life in general… and it is all thanks to her.
She then made me go to a simple, kids’ ride involving a boat where in a crowd of hundreds, I was the only one to get soaked from head to toe. She then lent me a dry cardigan, bought me a raincoat, dragged me to another water ride where again I miraculously got soaked from head to toe. I can’t really explain it. Then we did a really kids’ roller coaster and this one I really loved! However, she thought it was embarrassing to ride it for a 2nd time. I didn’t understand why, the queue was really short. To shut me up, she bought me an ice cream. I did shut up about it. It felt nice to be a 10yr old in a way I have never been in my life.But back to her
. If I had to think fast, what is it that I keep from her?
- Our weekdays. Meeting at 6.15 on Charing X corner with Oxford Str. to go to Soho. They usually look like that:
- We have only fought once and that over the stupid central heating. I was right! (ha!)
- Usual things she says to me:
“M, u should really try to think less” (despairing on me)
)...", (at the beginning of a sentence)
"Will that be another arty-farty picture of yours?" (when she sees me holding a camera , i.e. all the time)
“Aliciaaaaaaaa” (greek drawl – when I want to ask sth),
“What you WANT to do is…” (when I take the piss of sb she loves)
“Hey, babe” (when I want to piss her off)
- Overall, her favourite expressions are:
Whoopy fucking do! (ironically when she disapproves)
Cool bananas (ironically when she approves)
FRO (ironically when she is mad)
…like there is no tomorrow (e.g. this woman chats like there is no tomorrow)
- The fancy hotel we stayed for a night in Sevilla last February. Comparing to the last hostel we shared (holes in the sheets) we realised that we have either grown really old or we are much more loaded than we used to be. None of which is true.
- She is obsessed with formula 1. She is obsessed. Obsessed. She woke up at 5.30 to watch the Japan stage two weekends ago... As a result I know everything Alonso said to the English newspapers. What he said to the Spanish newspapers too. Who is behind the scam of Ferrari's confidential documents. Why Hamilton is a prick. How she is going to email all her ex-colleagues to piss them off when Alonso wins the tournament (he won't)
- She can cook no matter what she says. What I’m gonna miss most is her Ensaladilla russa
- She is exactly a week older than me. That has never stopped me from taking the piss out of her for being older. We once threw a party together. We had to blow the candles twice, cause sb forgot to press the camera’s on button. It was embarrassing. At the big party I threw 2 yrs ago she complained that she wasn't sure abt coming ’cause she didn't like dancing. She danced until 4 o’clock in the morning.
- If I were to put a song here for her, it would have to be Red Hot Chilli Peppers. Or Radiohead. But I cannot find an appropriate Radiohead song. And it is still really difficult for me after 8 years to listen to this bloody californication cd without getting nausea. So there goes sth cheesy: it reminds me of a sunny September afternoon 4 yrs ago on the road back from Salamanca.
In this harsh month, full of losing friends, Alicia’s going is another blow. I blabbered on for so long in this post just to say that I love her. I love her so much that I forgive her for making me ride Colossus
, the roller coaster that made me realise that when u stand before death, you don’t see your life passing before your eyes like a film. No, no, no. You are just scared shitless.
Ok, now I have to take her to the airport.