If someone had asked me a few months ago what I planned to be doing on Friday 24th October, I would have said I was going to a gig in Brixton with my girlfriend. I would not have expected to hear that I’d in fact be single, drunk and discussing with a girl I’ve just met whether we should have dinner in a graveyard.
Sadly, you can’t predict these kinds of things.
But let's retrace. Months ago I had booked tickets for my girlfriend and me to see The Cat Empire, a loud, energetic Australian ska band that she loves. Sadly, we have since broken up. I sold the tickets, partly because I wasn’t that keen on the band myself, and partly because to go with anyone else would make me miss my ex. The night probably would have ended with me staring into my plastic glass of Red Stripe moaning about life whilst my friend tells me to shut up and watch the band.
So I jumped at the chance of a party that night. Admittedly I only knew the host but this wasn't a problem - when it's a toss up between talking to people or looking like the twat in the corner who's eating all the kettle chips, introducing yourself to people becomes a lot easier.
Somewhere down the line, at the point of the night where everyone at parties has stained red wine teeth and have stopped stuffing themselves with cheese, I was in conversation with a slightly odd but interesting girl from London. Due to random twists in the conversation, I was currently listing off facts about Charles Dickens (always good with the chat up lines, me) and mentioned how the writer used to like dining on top of a gravestone.
'Wow. that's so cool! I'd like to have dinner in a graveyard!' she said.
I am sad to say that it it isn't the first time I've told a girl this particular fact about Dickens but this was certainly the most unique and unexpected response I have ever heard. Weirdly, this made the girl all the more attractive.
I can't remember who suggested the idea first but it had soon been decided that the two of us should have dinner in a graveyard, on Halloween. 'What cemetery shall we go to?' she asked.
'Well, where do you live?' I replied in a way that suggested someone merely had to say an area of London and I would respond with the perfect graveyard dining spot.
'South London, near Catford Bridge.'
Bugger. “Well, Highgate cemetery is probably the best place”, I said, not mentioning that to get there from her house would take at least an hour and a half.
'Cool! You know I feel like we've met in a previous life. I was a widowed bride and you were the undertaker who had to bury my husband but then I seduced you and we had an affair.'
It was like talking to a sexy version of Luna Lovegood.
At about 6am anyone still left at the party were finding places to sleep around the house. I was vaguely conscious of the fact I was meant to be meeting my family at 10am tomorrow so we could all drive to Wales for a weekend holiday; yet I was still talking away to this girl. She had found a sofa to sleep on. 'Are you staying here for the night?' she asked me.
'Well, I have to meet my family to go to Wales tomorrow at 10am, so I'll set my alarm for half an hour's time and just snooze for half an hour before getting the first tube.'
Ok, so I'd be lying if I said I wasn't hoping for a sofa kiss. Yet sadly the moment she had turned the lights off I was already deep in sleep...
'Hey.... Hey, Tom, aren't you meant to be on your way to Wales by now?'
'.... what... where am... ahh! Fuck!'
It was 10 am and I had five missed calls from my dad. I leapt off the sofa, my throat dry as hell and my head pounding. 'I need to go! Really nice to meet you!' I said as I grabbed my coat and rushed out the door.
An hour later I was on a train to Warwick Parkway to meet my family on the M40 as they had already left in the car. I was unshowered, unshaved and was desperately hoping I wouldn’t throw up on the passenger next to me. A brilliant start to the morning.
Several hours later I am in a house on the Welsh border surrounded by fields trying to get signal so I can send a text to a girl asking whether she wants to meet for a date in a graveyard. And it's not often you get to say that. Unfortunately she replies saying that she actually has a long-distance relationship with someone else and so can only go to cemeteries with him, which, I'll admit, is probably the best rejection text I've ever received.