Sunday, June 20, 2010

44. Pause

Tic Tac in mouth and slightly sweating from an early-morning romp session, Cayden pulled me closer to his too-warm body.
"Mmm-hmmm?" I was too relaxed and satisfied to form full words.
"I didn't forget what I asked you last night."
I smiled, knowing what was coming.
"I'm completely sober, so I'll ask you again. Will you be my girlfriend?"
Hearing him say girlfriend with his adorable accent almost caused another orgasm. My heart started beating a little faster. I looked up at him and kissed him softly on the lips.
"I'd love to be your girlfriend."
A smile was frozen to my face. That's it. It was official: Cayden was no longer my glorified pen-pal. He was now my long-distance boyfriend. My Prince Charming.
"I knew I was going to ask you on Thursday, but I decided to wait until after you met my sister and my mates," he said.
"Well, just for the record, that's totally not fair that I said yes before my friends and family got to meet you. If they don't like you, I'm dropping your ass, just FYI."
He knew I was serious.
Before I made my trip out to London, Cayden asked if there was anything specific I wanted to do. I said, "I don't care what we do, as long as we find time to go to Notting Hill." I fell in love with the movie the first time I saw it. I was drawn to the town in the movie with the different colored flats and open-air markets. And who can forget the travel bookstore and the secret gardens? I knew most of it was probably filmed on a set in LA or NYC, but I just had to see if for myself. Sunday was my last full day in London, so we pulled ourselves out of bed and hopped on the train to Notting Hill. I was more excited to see Notting Hill than I was to see any palace or castle.
We stepped off the train, grabbed iced coffees, and followed the signs to Portabello Market.
Notting Hill was just as beautiful as it was in the movie. Down one street the apartments were pastel colors, light yellow, pale green, baby blue.

Around another corner they were bold and bright, some covered with ivy from top to bottom.

I pictured the scene in the movie where they go to Will's sister's house for her birthday dinner. That could have happened on any one of these streets.
Portobello Market is my heaven. It's like a never-ending street full of vendors selling anything from old clocks and rotary phones to lockets and beautiful silk scarves.
"Cayden, look!" I said as I pointed to an awning to our left.
"It's Hummingbird Bakery! Someone told us we had to try this!"
We gawked at the delicious-looking cupcakes in the window and our stomachs growled.
"Lunch first, then we'll treat ourselves to a cupcake."

We stopped at a pub called Duke of Wellington and grabbed a table outside on the corner. The seats were big, dark brown, and leathery. A man was sitting on a chair playing his guitar across the street. His music floated toward our table. Cayden left and came back with two frosty Leffes. I took a big gulp and let the honey-like aftertaste roll around on my tongue. We held hands. Suddenly it hit me. I was sitting in the middle of Notting Hill holding hands with my adorable British boyfriend drinking my favorite beer in the world while a talented musician strummed his guitar across the street. How did I get here? If someone would have pushed pause right before my foot made contact with his ass that night at the bar and said, "A year from now you'll be in London, hand-in-hand with this man, who will be your boyfriend," I would have laughed my ass off. I've had revelations like this before. One time I was sitting in my East Village apartment in NYC thinking if someone would have told me five years ago that I'd graduate from college and move to New York City to work for a national magazine, I would have thought they were out of their damn minds. I like to think realistically. So I don't usually think about these situations.
Once again we ate too much at lunch, and didn't leave enough room for a cupcake. I promised I'd come back one day, simply to get a cupcake at Hummingbird Bakery.
"Look," Cayden said as he pointed to a blue-framed storefront that said "Notting Hill" on the front. "That's where the bookstore was in the movie."
He was right. That's exactly where it was located, only it was shoe store.

"The actual bookstore is just around the corner. Here, follow me," Cayden said, and I followed.
We turned down a street and he pointed to another blue-framed storefront, only this one was called The Travel Bookstore. I was so excited, you'd think I'd just seen Prince William get pantsed or something.

After we (reluctantly) left Notting Hill, we made our way to Buckingham Palace. We stopped off in Saint James Park to lie down and enjoy the perfect weather. I had completely lucked out. Although it was supposed to rain almost every day I was there, it hadn't rained once. The sun was somewhat out, and everywhere I looked people were sprawled out in the grass, lying in the arms of their loved ones or gathered in a group of friends.
Lying there in his arms I hoped someone would come hit pause and tell me what my life was going to be like 10 years from then, because I couldn't see how it could get any better.
Cayden had booked us a hotel for my last night in town. He wanted us to be able to sleep in and enjoy our morning instead of rushing to the airport from his place. So he chose a hotel near the airport. He borrowed his sister's car, loaded my bags, and we hit the road. Let me just tell you, there's no way to prepare yourself for what it feels like to drive on the other side of the road. I felt like I was in the driver's seat, going the wrong way on a one way. I nearly shit my pants and slammed on my imaginary break at least five times. He pointed out buildings while he drove, but for the most part, my eyes were shut.

The bed was big, bouncy, and comfortable, and we took full advantage of it, if you catch my drift. Hey, it was my last night with my Prince Charming. You would have done the same.

As I dozed off that night, warm and secure in Cayden's arms, I felt 100 percent happy. Overwhelmingly happy. If someone had hit pause at this point and told me that I'd wake up the next morning in hysterical tears, I would have told them they were shitting me.


  1. Awww yay and sad at the same time! But more yay!

  2. i'm worried there is going to be an unhappy ending. (sigh)