85. Being given a ride on a bike; equivalently, being closer to Hugo's rear end than I had ever imagined I would be.
They are athletic, they ride bikes. I am girly, I wear skirts. These are facts that don't go quite well together, when we want to get to the same place. So here I am, sitting sideways on the back of Hugo's bike, my right hand clutching his waist for dear life, praying fervently as cars zoom pass us on both sides. Zoe has bravely volunteered to bike and protect us from behind, but that is only one out of four possible directions. I don't dare to look to the left, where my legs are dangling, because my look might somehow be like the last drop of water, overfilling the glass, or in this case, tipping me off the bike. Neither can I bring myself to look to the right, because it doesn't seem appropriate to be looking at the opposite direction of where my legs are risking their lives. So I am looking directly ahead, alternating between the view of Hugo's backpack and that of Hugo's rear end, trying to pick up clues about my surroundings from the vroooooom sounds and Zoe's commentary. At one point, the bike goes considerably faster.
"Brake!" says Zoe, ever helpful.
"The brake doesn't react as it used to..."
86. "Oh yeah, I had it on so I could listen through my headphones. It was difficult because I tried to work at the same time, but yeah, I watched the whole preacher's sermon," French-Canadian tells us. Zoe and I smile. He's the first guy we've met today who openly admits to watching and loving the royal wedding. I am not a fan, but having watched it for twenty minutes, even if in a foreign language, I might as well have a discussion out of it to make the whole experience worthwhile. "Did you see the kiss?" French-Canadian asks. "Yes, apparently there were two," I say. "Wait, what did my girlfriend write...," he checks his iPhone. "This is the only time they are allowed to kiss in public." "Why were there two?" "Because after the first one, the crowd went Kiss! Kiss! and then they kissed the second time," Zoe explains, being the only one who actually watched the balcony scene.
We went on exchanging notes. Didn't Prince Charles look uncomfortable? Weren't the trees out of place? My God those trees. The Danish wedding was more emotional, of course. The Danish guy cried twice. Yes but my dad said that guy cried all the time. "The Australian girl's dress looked better," I chime in, having watched that wedding for a grand total of about five minutes. "You think?" questions Zoe. "Yes, because, well, because her dress was more puffy, more weddingy, you know..." French-Canadian looks at us. "This is crossing the line for me..."
87. Kitchen. Side by side, we are leaning against the radiator. I'm staring at my feet, she's looking at what I don't know because I'm busy staring at my feet. Outside in the living room, people are continuing the nice party, where she's been a perfect host, preparing lovely seafood salad, creamy tuna eggs, prosciutto-wrapped melon and plenty of other delicious food enough to serve an entire army. We've been in the kitchen for a while. It's hard to say exactly how long, but long enough, I know, for me to have missed that last tram. I could have left earlier, I suppose, but I would rather walk for an hour after midnight than missing this moment, the moment when I talk to her freely, like I always used to. It was usually without the whole feet-staring thing, though.