Although I was noticeably dirty and smelled like a second grader, I didn’t bother changing or getting ready when we got back to the Albertyn House after volunteering because I was so damn cold. A few of us were talking about going to Boulders Beach to see the penguins, but couldn’t tell how the weather was going to pan out. Naturally the solution was to Google it.
We decided to walk down to Muizenberg beach for a snack and free Wifi, but when we got there it had suddenly cleared up, so decided to take a walk along the beach first. It was as gorgeous as the over-priced postcards that they sell at the airport – soft white sand with gentle waves rolling out onto it after a surfer rides it in, and a picture-perfect mountain background with houses sprinkled along it’s base.
The surf program volunteers were all out in the water, surrounded by kids in the bright blue Dreams to Reality wet suits. There was one particularly large figure I did not see amongst the rest of the volunteers in the water and I wondered where he might be. But it wasn’t like I could just text him, since our phones only worked using Whatsapp …that is, when both people had wifi and charged phones (AKA never), we had to communicate by either running into each other, finding each other, or designating meeting times and places.
The spontaneous weather change must have transferred some its spontaneity to us because instead of setting up camp at our usual table in Primi, we ventured all the way across the street to a restaurant called Knead which was exactly my cup of tea…well, glass of wine. The entire front patio was encased in floor to ceiling glass windows, so that you felt like you were sitting outside without the freeze-factor.
Like Villa Blanca in Beverly Hills, the décor was chic and modern, with all white furnishings and decorations. Unlike Villa Blanca, a glass of wine was only 40 Rand ($4 USD), and my cheese plate was a whopping 60 Rand. We spent about twenty minutes trying to log on to the shotty Wifi to check the weather, only for it to start pouring rain out of nowhere as soon as we logged on. The solution to that was more wine.
After our bi-polar-weathered happy hour we headed back to Albertyn House to figure out what everyone wanted to do that night. Since the house was fairly empty, I took the opportunity to take a long, hot shower without having to worry about the hot water running out during or after it for the people waiting.
When I finished getting ready (using only my compact mirror since the only ones in the house are in the bathroom and the boys’ room) I walked out in the living room to find the majority of the house lounging on the worn-down couches in the living room. Including Mr. TDH.
“So what’s the plan?” I asked, casually sitting on the armrest of the couch. He immediately turned to look at me with a growing smile, “There is a place called Cape to Cuba that we should go to, it’s fun and we can take the train.” He said in his perfectly broken English. “Oh perfect since I’m Cuban!” I remarked lamely.
Everyone agreed and scurried off to thier rooms to get ready. “Will you still do my makeup?” One of the Sam’s asked me as per our earlier conversation about how she doesn’t know how to apply makeup. I wasn’t completely confident with my makeup artist skills, but I’m not going to lie…I did a pretty amazing job (not that she needed it). In the midst of my Mac Studio Fix application on Sam with a few others observing in my tiny two-person “adults’ room”, who should walk in the door but Mr. TDH.
I froze, my eyes bulging at the thought of how ridiculous we must have looked, “We’re leaving in ten minutes guys,” he said with a laugh, locking his eyes with mine after examining what I was doing. Maybe he thought it was cute?
Suddenly the beeping of someone entering the key code to the front door went off and an influx of volunteers from other houses flowed into the hallway. All of the boys from Recreation house were already drunk and passing around a 2-liter bottle of Coca-Cola, heavily spiked with vodka. We headed over to the train station, but since it’s obviously pretty much impossible to get a group that large and that tipsy on the same page, we ended up missing the last train to Kalks Bay, where the restaurant was.
“Primi it is.” Mr. TDH laughed, before heading off towards the direction of the beach. We started herding in that direction when we noticed music coming from the wide open doors of a brightly lit storefront just a few blocks from the train station and our house. Excited for a change of scenery, we drifted unanimously towards the festive vibes.
“Welcome! Come in! It is our grand opening!” The jovial and well-dressed Spanish man behind the bar shouted as we all appeared in the 3-meter wide doorway of Ooboola. It was a narrow space with an artistically curved bar downstairs, and a winding metal staircase up to an open loft upstairs. Art and photography covered the bright orangish-red and yellow colored walls, and a giant chalkboard displayed the beverage options.
I’m not entirely sure why we went straight for tequila shots, especially considering the conversation earlier about how little Sam gets drunk off of one beer, but yeah, that happened. The tiny little restaurant/bar went from having a small family with a dog as their only guests to a full house of a kaleidoscopic mixture of characters from all over the globe.
After a few drinks – for me, some fine wine that was much appreciated for it’s quality and extreme affordability – we decided to switch locations…meaning the only other bar that was open after 11pm…The Village. Like the school of fish that we were, we all started following whoever walked out first – this time it was one of the cute guys from Wisconsin, who I followed after trusting that he knew where he was going, but, NOPE.
“Turn around, turn around, turn around,” I said frantically, noticing the rugged-looking man blatantly holding a machete standing near the restaurant. The end of the street was blocked, cornering us with machete-man if we didn’t turn around, but luckily there were a lot of us. As soon as everyone else caught on we swam our way in the other direction and around the corner to The Village, with me walking faster than everyone after recalling the story about the volunteers who got robbed at machete-point a few weeks prior.
There isn’t much to do at this seedy little bar besides drink really cheap drinks and play pool at the one pool table…so I did both. Of course the boys beat us to the table so I had to kind of meander my way into the game. Now, there are two types of guys and you can decipher them by the way they play pool with you; the type that is more into themselves and in need of constant attention will aggressively play to win, scoff when you miss, and try to show off. The type that is more caring and chivalrous will help you aim, purposely miss so you can keep playing, and will be more interested in talking to you while it’s the other team’s turn. Guess which one Mr. TDH was.
After my initial immediate black-ball strike out failure, I suddenly found myself back in deep conversation with Mr. TDH about nothing particularly coherent or important…but it was the nothing-but-laughing-and-smiling-milestone of the perfect trip-relationship.
I don’t remember much after that besides heavily flirting…that is until we were about a block away from the house. For some reason, sometimes I think I’m a badass…especially when wearing new badass-ninja boots. I had apparently decided to take my ninja-ness to the next level by walking in front and carrying my mini-umbrella like a baton, just in case anyone decided to attack our very large group that included a handful of very large guys.
Along the way I had also apparently thought it would be fun to whack the innocent blonde German guy with my umbrella-baton…as if I could really beat up a six-foot-two German guy. The next thing I knew, I was in mid-whack when he lunged forward in an attempt to grab me to prevent another umbrella-blow to the arm, but instead, the metal rod of the umbrella got caught in between my face and his chest, causing it to completely snap in half on my chin.
Germany, Mr. TDH, and I all froze, as I starred at the two broken pieces of the umbrella and they starred at my like I was a ghost. It felt like it had just pinched my chin, but the horrified looks on their faces told me otherwise. I wiped what felt like rain droplets from my face, but realized there was more than just a few droplets. I looked down at my hand and of course, it was covered in blood.
Germany looked like he was about to cry – I spun around, looking to Mr. TDH for help, and in an instant he grabbed my hand and started pulling me quickly back towards the house. “You’re fine, you’re fine,” he kept saying as I continued to wipe the blood from my face. “I just need Neosporin!” I mumbled repeatedly, drunkenly convincing myself that that would solve everything.
“Come in here, I am going to clean it,” he said, leading me into the boys’ room. Even though I’m a grown adult, I still felt slightly mischievous going into the boys’ room when the rules said we weren’t supposed to. “It might sting a little, but it will help,” he said, ripping open an antiseptic toilette and dabbing it on my face. I could hear the rest of the group drunkenly coming through the doors and hoped they wouldn’t come in to see my bloody face and hands.
“There,” he said, gently tilting my chin up to examine it. I turned to look in the mirror, expecting to see a minor cut that I could undoubtedly tough out and cover up with a bit of makeup… but nope. Warm tears welled up in my eyes as I caught sight of the U-shaped gash that looked like it would scar my face forever. “No, no, no! It’s Ok!” He said sweetly, cupping my face gently with both of his massive hands.
But I couldn’t help it, between the wine and the blood, the tears just involuntarily leaked out of my eyes like a hot spring. “Come on, let’s go outside,” he said, wrapping his arms around me protectively, leading me out the front door to avoid the boisterous “cuddle-puddle” that was happening in the living room.
He tilted my chin up to examine it again, but this time in the starry moonlight, “Yah, you’re fine,” he said softly, slightly laughing at my horrified expression. I wasn’t expecting what happened next – in the middle of my severe pouting I noticed him looking from my eyes to my lips then back again, and before I knew it, we were in the token scene from The Notebook, making out against the brick wall of the back garden area as if we were long lost lovers with only a few days before we never saw each other again….if only that weren’t true.
This is a terrible idea, I though to myself as I scratched my nails along the thick black scruff of his jawline while he easily held me up with one arm, I’m only here for a week and he lives in freaking Istanbul. I reassured myself that it was only a kiss and that it was OK since I was on holiday. But when we finally snuck back inside after waiting for everyone to stop freaking out about one of the girls being in the shower for a long time and kicking down the door (the guys were legit worried she had fallen asleep in the shower) he led me back into the freezing living room where we ended up cuddling all night, fully-clothed, including boots, on the gnarly-foot-smelling couch. How romantic.