ANOTHER SUITCASE IN ANOTHER HALL (PART 9)

March 3, 2018

 

I stayed a few more nights at Lisa’s house. Not just because I didn’t want to be alone, but incase Andy called the next night or the night after. Something must have happened to prevent him from calling. Surely I was at the forefront of his thoughts and something major had happened to prevent him finding a phone. How stupidly naïve I was.

 

      Of course, he did end up calling, a week later and I wasn’t at Lisa’s at the time. I was so jealous that she got to speak to him and wanted to know every single word he’d said. Every single word and how he said it.

 

      ‘He said that the karaoke gigs are going great and they’ve met heaps of ace people.’ She paused, ‘He reckons they’ve got heaps of room at the apartment and that we should go visit.’ Music to my ears.. I literally would have jumped on the plane there and then.

     ‘Did he ask how I was doing?’ I asked, hopeful.

     ‘Yeah.’ Lisa said, and even though I knew it was a lie, I kidded myself it wasn’t.

     ‘So should we go?’ I said.

     ‘If Mum and Dad let me.’ She replied.

 

       It took some convincing, but Sheila and Bob finally gave into Lisa’s pleas, on the proviso that I looked after her. They trusted me. Although to be honest, I think most of the time it was her looking after me. The sixteen year old and the nineteen year old.

 

      I don’t remember the flight over or how we got to the airport. I have a vague recollection of Andy and Nick picking us up from Ibiza airport in a car they’d hired to be able to drive the karaoke equipment around to the different hotels where they had bookings.

 

       The apartment where we stayed is about the clearest memory I have. It was a white washed building on the side of the hill. It had three stories, they were tiered, like big steps into the landscape and each apartment had a big undercover balcony that overlooked Portinax beach.

 

       It was so hot in the apartment, so we decided to pull all the beds out onto the balcony. Five single beds all in a row with a small gap between each one. My bed was the closest to the open side of the balcony, poll position in terms of view, but three beds away from Andy’s. I distinctly remember the order in which we slept. Nick’s bed was up against the furthest wall, Andy next to him, Rosa in the middle, then Lisa, then me.

 

      Rosa? Ahhh yes! Rosa…who is this new person who hasn’t been mentioned before you ask? My thoughts exactly!!!

 

      Two days after we arrived, we welcomed a new and unexpected house-guest. When I say ‘unexpected’, I mean I didn’t expect it! Everyone except me seemed to have got the memo. I fucking hated her at first sight. Not because she was a horrible person, but because she wasn’t. She was Ruby Rose type-stunning. She was from Antwerp, Belgium and spoke a zillion languages, had an all-over Mediterranean tan, smoked cigarettes with a smooth elegance and had the perfect bust to hip ratio body. Andy’s mystery friend from Belguim was street-smart and sassy and on some whim had decided to join us in Ibiza to ‘catch-up’ with him for something to do.

 

      Where the fuckedy-fuck, had she materialized from? How come I knew nothing of this Rosa before? And how come I had no idea she was going to be crashing our party and muscling in on MY turf. All the while I was planning voodoo moves on her, I also thought she was the most fascinating creature I’d ever met. I hated myself for totally wanting to be her.

 

     To this day, I’m still not entirely clear how Andy knew her, some exchange program or something. I didn’t give a fuck…I just wanted her to disappear. Not only from Ibiza…from the whole planet entirely. Andy wouldn’t look twice at me while she was around.

 

      It’s hard to believe that only a few weeks earlier, I was carrying the seed of a child that Andy and I had unwittingly created, and now here I was in Ibiza suffering the indignity of being just another friend at the party.

 

      It’s true we block traumatic moments of our lives away in some dark corner of our memory. That fortnight in Ibiza must be one of them.  Until now, I’ve never tried to recount it or to work out how I managed to remain emotionally intact throughout it.

 

      There was so much going on, but I internalised it all. It was hard to control my moods and sometimes I didn’t. I’d go quiet and sullen hoping somehow Andy would read my body language or the telepathic pleas that were a constant dialogue in my head like some movie voiceover guy narrating every thought and action. I was the star of my own romantic drama series.

 

      All the words I wanted to say, all the hurt I wanted him to know I was feeling. But instead I kept telling myself to get over it, move on, show him how resilient I was.  Never wanting to give him anything to hate or resent me for.

 

     With so much going on in my head and my heart battered and bruised, I barely took in anything of that trip.

‘What’s Ibiza like?’ People ask, expecting stories of high grade drugs and world class raves but I experienced none of ‘that’ Ibiza.

 

     My Ibiza was one where I’d sit precariously on the edge of that balcony and stare out to the Mediterranean sea, the beautiful bay where we swam each day. The first beach I ever got my boobs out on (only because Rosa did). In hindsight, her perky B-cups felt natural among the other bronzed Europeans, while my sizable fleshy white mounds screamed ‘Try-hard wannabe British tourist’. And I wasn’t even British!

 

      Two stories below my dangling feet, the hipsters and beach babes made their way to the bars and beaches to laze on sunbeds, topping up their tans, smoking Winfield Gold cigarettes from paper packets and sculling foreign beer in green bottles coated in beads of icy condensation. Raybands on, sun-kissed boobs and sculptured bods out.

 

      I wanted to be like them. Uber cool, not a care in the world. Draped across my boyfriend, knowing I belonged. I was an Aussie, living in England, holidaying in Spain, breaking my heart over a guy that would never love me no matter how much I wanted him to. If only I’d been sassier and sexier like Rosa, maybe things would have been different. But that heart on my sleeve has always been my curse. It might as well be lit up with neon lights, like a lighthouse guiding wayward sailors away from the danger, instead of guiding them into to the safe harbor of my arms. Its glow has always been too blinding for the men it shone for.

 

      That holiday wasn’t all doom and gloom, although you’d be right in thinking it was from the picture I’m painting. But there was good times, hilarious moments. Like the time we went to the supermarket in the nearest town to buy supplies. As we were staying in a self-contained apartment, we cooked for ourselves, mainly living on a diet of beer, crisps and toasted sandwiches.

 

       On the day that Rosa arrived, we decided to cook up a big feast. We bought minced beef, onions, spaghetti and tomato paste with the intention of cooking up a big Bolognese. The height of our culinary expertise at that time.

       

        It looked and smelt amazing and we celebrated our ‘adulting’ with wine as we sat down at the table in the centre of the apartment to eat it.

We all tucked in, relishing a proper meal that didn’t consist of dry bread and cheese. But as we did, one after the other, we were plucking grisly bits of meat from our mouths and sitting them on the side of the plate. Everyone was being polite, attempting a few more mouthfuls.

      ‘This meat is really crunchy.’ Lisa said.

      ‘Yeah, mine full of gristle, is yours?’ Andy asked.

      ‘What sort of meat is it?’ Rosa asked in her perfect English, which made her sound more like she was from Birmingham than Antwerp.

      Nick left the table and retrieved the the packaging that the slab of mince had come in from the bin and handed it to Rosa. Being multi-lingual, she read the label that was in Spanish and began to laugh.

       ‘What? What is it?’ We cried in unison.

       ‘This is dog food.’ She giggled.

       We all abruptly spat out our mouthfuls, sculling the wine and running to the kitchen tap for water to wash the taste from our mouths.

 

      Bless Nick, he kept eating it. ‘Tastes okay to me.’

      I think even he was struck by the Rosa bug and decided to be the cool ‘who cares’ guy. Everyone else scraped our plates into the bin and wacked on a round of toasted sandwiches again.

 

      Most nights we spent at Club Portinax. It wasn’t a club per say, but the big hotel resort on the opposite side of the bay from where our apartment was. This was where Andy and Nick hosted the karaoke every other night. Lisa and I were used as the plants to get up first to sing, so it would encourage all the other holidaymakers to have a crack.  We loved our starring roles in the show.

 

       We felt like part of the staff there, the inner circle and again I had the unpleasant pleasure of watching all the pretty female entertainment staff flirt and fawn over the charismatic Andy. He knew how to charm the ladies. In his defense, he never acted on any of their advances in my presence. Nor did I ever see him do anything untoward with Rosa. Even if the urge was there for him, Rosa treated him like a good mate. She was that cool type that had guy friends and girl friends and treated them equally. Plus it didn’t take a clinical psychologist to pick up on the transparent tension between him and I, no matter how desperately I tried to hide it.

 

      To this day, I can still picture Rosa in my mind. She will never know the profound effect she had on me. I’ve strived to be a little more ‘Rosa-cool’ ever since.

 

       Lisa and I returned to England with a summer glow and a heightened air of respect from our friends at YOG. Nick and Andy stayed on in Ibiza for the rest of the summer holiday season, so we didn’t see them again for a few months.

 

       Looking back, Lisa and I must have seemed like the coolest kids in town; swanning off to Spain’s party island with boys, while all our other friends were still going to the English seaside with their parents.

 

       Life went on and my love for Andy gradually waned. Perhaps I’d learnt something from that trip. Perhaps the reality of him never being mine was finally sinking in. Out of sight, and slowly drifting out of mind. 

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