So after four weeks his reply pings onto my phone at a most inopportune moment.  I was surrounded by cameras and people, who seeing my reaction were dying to know what had happened.  I raised my hand and mouthing give me a minute I went across the road to have some privacy.

The message started with a profuse apology for the late reply and then the rest of it made not much sense at all. It was as if only part of it had arrived. Either way contact had been made and with the trip to Ireland the following weekend there was now possibilities. Yay! 

The Jolly girls outing ended as always, in drunken revelry and a good time was had by one and all. I didn’t reply to his text for a couple of days expecting some more of it to arrive. When it didn’t I simply said that we were flying out on Friday so the opportunity to meet had not been missed. As expected I got nothing back !

We flew into Belfast in high spirits and set about having a wild time.  My phone remained silent and after discussing it with Amanda I sent a text saying we had arrived and did he fancy a drink ? Still I got nothing back!  By Sunday and despite meeting another lovely Irishman with the most amazing turquoise eyes I was annoyed.  I mean how hard is it just to send a reply saying no or can’t or out already !  Any bloody thing would be better than this wall of silence. So I did the unthinkable I drunk texted him..and even used an emoji Jesus! I must have desperate stamped on my forehead in great big bloody letters!

 The reply was immediate and if it were possible he was even more sorry for the late reply than before…texts flew back and forth followed by a phone call.  We arranged to meet that evening.  Amanda and I had planned to head to the Christmas markets and then meet our friends Gavin and Brendon for drinks. It was a cold day and Amanda was not feeling too well and by the time the sun went down she decided she needed to head back to the apartment. 

I stayed to meet the guys who being Belfast natives knew all the pubs and bars. They took me to a cosy and very old Irish pub called Whites Tavern!  which was hidden away down a little cobblestone street. Talking at nineteen to the dozen we got settled in the warm and got the drinking going.  Irish phoned to say he was on in his way and I explained that I was with friends. “No problem” he replied.  

When he walked through the door half an hour later my mouth dropped open. The clean shaven short haired smartly dressed apparition that had appeared last December was gone! He was back to his old self.  His hair was the longest I had ever seen it!  (I do like hair) he had a full beard and was sporting a beany hat ( always guaranteed to take years off any man! as if he needed any help!)  He was wearing baggy jeans and a big jumper. He kissed me briefly as I introduce him to the others and three became four.

We slipped into easy conversation and somewhere during the evening the barmaid asked us to move because they were setting up for the cinema. I was a bit confused cinema? She went on to explain that they have an  ‘Alleyway cinema’ there on a Sunday . I was still puzzled. Alleyway ?  I then peered outside to see little rows of chairs and tables had been set up outside within this tiny little courtyard all facing the pub wall. Apparently they dropped a screen down across the windows and voila! A drive through ..well a walk through anyway!.  What a novel idea ..only in Belfast!

Gavin and Brendon decided to leave discreetly in order to give us some alone time. As always the conversation flowed. As people began to get settled outside in the cold for the film I suggested that we watched it too. Seemed a shame not to take advantage of a chance to have another new experience.

We found two chairs at the back and Irish got us some blankets that were provided. It really was very cold and we snuggled down underneath them legs touching and giggling like small children. The film was…wait for it…Gremlins! Just right for Christmas and certainly easy watching. With a lantern burning on our table our drinks and cigarettes it was the perfect evening. The pub provided free popcorn and then bought us out boxes of hot chicken wings! There was no sign of an ice-cream lady though! 🙂 

It was surreal but the most fun I’ve had in an alleyway for a very long time. Gradually as we relaxed our hands became entwined under the blankets and apart from trips to the bar we sat in comfortable silence intently watching the film and laughing in all the appropriate places.  As usual it was as if we had seen each other yesterday. 

I had briefly touched on the subject of the girlfriend he had been seeing last time we met .Gone apparently! “Anyone else?”  I asked dreading the answer. He mumbled erm sort of but not really now. Hmm ok then!  best leave it there I say firmly to my inner self.

Once the film had finished we walked back to the apartment arm in arm!  Just like the last time I thought!  But then, and for the first time in our six year history we didn’t make it to the bedroom, much to my frustration!  As we waited for the lift in silence I began to wonder if delicious sex was back on the menu tonight. As usual when he was around my hormones were firing on all cylinders. The lift arrived and up we went! Through the front door! And straight to bed! The wondering was over and it looked like my hormones would be dancing all night!

In the morning we went for breakfast and then to a pub and Amanda being the good friend,  left us alone at regular interviews. He stayed with us until the car pulled up to take us to the airport. We wandered off on our own and said an affectionate goodbye down by the River Langan. Reluctantly, I climbed into the cab. He stood watching a few feet away,  still in the bloody beany hat which was doing nothing to control his unruly hair that was sticking out at all angles. 

Calling to the driver to wait and unable not to! I leapt back out of the cab and ran to him giving him another kiss and and hugged him like my life depended on it.

 He watched and waved as the cab pulled out of sight! God! Why does life have to be so hard? ..



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