Thursday, June 17, 2010

41. The Glory of Greenwich

I woke up in the exact same position I was in the morning before. Naked, facing the window, with Cayden’s heavy, warm arm across my back.
Tic Tacs.
And back to sleep with a smile on my face.
I could get used to this routine.
We finally pulled ourselves out of bed a little before noon. I pulled the curtain aside to see sunlight trying to peak through London’s dense clouds. I felt completely refreshed, as if I’d slept for three days straight. But my feet felt tender on his hardwood floor, and my lower back had a dull ache. A warm shower would fix that right up. I wanted to shower with Cayden, but his shower was literally the size of a coffin. Not one of those big luxury coffins either. I couldn’t even bend over to shave my legs. I had to balance on one leg and lift my other knee to my chest without bending at the waist to reach my ankle. Good thing I’m triple jointed and a contortionist. So we took our separate showers, and we set out for day two.
When I lived in New York and saw couples on the subway looking all cute and holding hands, it made me want to vomit. I secretly hoped a homeless man had peed in the seat they were cuddling in. Cruel? I know. I’ve just never been big on romance. It always made me dry heave. When I saw couples holding hands in the streets I just wanted to Red Rover their asses. But I realized sitting next to Cayden on the train, with one leg draped over his, talking and laughing and holding hands, we were that couple. I prayed I wasn’t sitting in homelessman urine.
We got off the train at Greenwich and I immediately fell in love. The buildings were adorable, the shops and cafes were adorable. I loved Greenwich. We grabbed some iced coffees and wandered around until we ended up in the middle of the Old Royal Naval College. The long, white buildings looked Greek with their towering columns. The courtyards were wide open and green. The on-campus eatery was called King William Restaurant.
The doors to the campus chapel were open and we stood in front of them, in awe of what we saw inside. It was beautiful. The stone stairs leading up to it, the dark, dark pews, the stark white tiled floor, and the bright sunlight flowing through the windows on the right and left walls. The ceiling had intricate gold patterns that reflected the sunlight, making it even brighter. It wasn’t even sunny outside, but the light coming from the chapel was blinding.
“Let’s go see,” Cayden suggested as he pulled me toward the stairs.
“You know we might burst into flames right?” I was thinking about our premarital bedroom activities that had taken place just hours before, and my cheeks grew hot.
“One way to find out.”
We stepped in and crept up the second set of stairs until we stood in the entrance.
“Wow,” I said as I soaked up the rays.
“Beautiful,” he said.
We stood there until a woman in a vest ran towards us telling us we had to leave, there was absolutely no food or drink allowed in the Chapel.
“Well, at least we didn’t burn!” I said as we walked away laughing.


Cayden knows I have a sweet tooth, but he didn’t know about my obsession for markets. When I lived in NYC I couldn’t walk past a street market without buying a handful of $3 rings and a dress I’d probably never have the balls to wear. So when we walked into Greenwich Market and Cayden said, “Here’s the Sweet Shop,” while trying to pull me toward an entrance on the right, I pulled him the other way and said, “Baby look!”
I ran my fingers across every piece of jewelry, and even stopped to look at old spoons in a glass case. That’s when I saw the dress I knew I was going to buy.
“I have to have that.”
It was dark green and brown and beautiful. It bunched up on the bottom and tied loosely around the neck of the hanger. That was going to be my one London purchase. (I couldn’t afford to buy anything else.) The price tag said “£25.”
I didn’t even care to do the math. I just had to have it. The designer showed me how you could untie a series of strings on the seams from the inside to make it longer or shorter. The ribbon in the middle of the chest could tie around your neck, around your chest, or around your waist. Better yet, you can even wear it as a skirt (at any length!).
“Wow! It’s like a Transformer dress!” Cayden exclaimed.
I made my purchase, forgot all about the Sweet Shop, and we headed off to a pub called the Kings Arms for lunch where I picked the most British thing I could find on the menu: Sausages over cheesy mash with peas served in a Yorkshire pudding crust. I don’t know what their obsession with peas is over there, but it made for a delicious lunch. I only ate half my meal and I felt like I needed a wheel barrel to get out of there. British food is too filling.
Then we walked to the peak of a hill of Greenwich park, where there was an observatory. Halfway up the hill we stopped for a “photo opp,” which was actually just my excuse to stop and catch my breath because I figured wheezing would be a turn off. But once we reached the top, the potential asthma attack was worth it.

With our stomachs full and our (my) feet throbbing, we picked an open patch of grass in the middle of the park and lied down on our backs. Everything around us was silent except for the birds chirping. I rested my head on his arm and closed my eyes. I wanted to freeze that moment in my mind forever.

1 comment:

  1. Transformer dress sounds like something the guy I'm seeing would say!