What follows is, quite simply, a love story.
Once upon a time, there was a little (5’ 1”) girl (20 year old woman) who had a good heart, but also an online shopping addiction which always became most dangerous around important work deadlines. One day, as she was putting off completing her university coursework by browsing for shirts with embellished collars, she accidentally found a magical rainbow dress that was, without a doubt, The Most Beautiful Dress in the World. Now, being only a very poor little girl (student) she knew that she probably should not buy The Most Beautiful Dress in the World – which shall hereafter be known as TMBDITW – as it was £65 and she had to pay for rent and food and books (and other, less expensive items of clothing). Plus, as she rationalised to herself in between whimpers, she would have nowhere to wear TMBDITW, and as she had a good heart, knew it would be cruel to buy TMBDITW and not wear it. It would, she knew, be like buying a puppy only for Christmas.
So the little girl closed the website which sold TMBDITW and tried to forget she had ever laid eyes upon it. But, being easily hypnotised by magical rainbow dresses (and a child of consumerist culture), forgetting the dress was tricky to say the least. And as she went about her life, pretending to have forgotten TMBDITW, the little girl received (paid £20 for) an invitation to a magical garden party and began to wonder what she would wear. I imagine you can imagine what happens next.
The day of the garden party finally dawned. As she put on TMBDITW and tried to hide her excitement about the carousel, the little girl had a feeling that, as she was wearing TMBDITW, it would be an evening she would never forget…
How right I was. (Quick aside just to make sure I wasn’t being too subtle – I’m the girl with the dress. Recovered from your surprise? Okay, I’ll carry on.) You see, the day of the 2012 FXU garden party also happened to be the day of Boyfriend’s 20th birthday, and while I was getting ready, he was drinking pints of vodka and lemonade. As I’m a bit of a stereotype when it comes to spending hours in the bathroom, Boyfriend’s pre-drinking involved eight pints, and, being a happy-go-lucky kind of guy, Boyfriend was free-pouring about three shots of vodka into each one. While I was wandering happily around the party eating strawberries with cream and wondering when I was going to get a go on the carousel and how magical the fireworks would be (utterly magical, in the middle of a thunderstorm actually), Boyfriend was quietly drinking an entire jug of Pimms. And after we had moved inside for a far less civilised few hours of dubstep, and Boyfriend had downed two Jägerbombs and two sambuca shots in the space of thirty seconds, I decided to leave the hilariously drunken (but still happy, upright and coherent) birthday Boyfriend to party with his best friends and head back to his flat for some much needed sleep. (Being sober makes you boring. And sleepy.)
About an hour later, Boyfriend’s friend Tom comes to find me with the news that Boyfriend was now the most drunk he has ever been, unable to walk properly and – crucially – missing. “Okay,” I thought to myself, breathing deeply, “this is all fine. Absolutely fine. I am calm. Calm.” I remained calm when Boyfriend finally appeared, smashing his head into every hard surface he could find, and had to be carried to his room. “Calm, Gemma. Calm,” I thought, as he attempted to walk the two metres from his bed to his bathroom, fell, and no longer having the ability to crawl, dragged himself to the toilet and stuck his whole head inside. “It’s quite possible that he has concussion”, I thought, calmly, as I held him upright so he wouldn’t choke on his own vomit and tried to enquire why he was so drunk, which was a difficult task as he couldn’t even remember what had happened a minute previously. “It is a shame that the symptoms of concussion are probably quite similar to the symptoms of being horrendously drunk”, I thought, calmly, as I propped him up against the toilet seat, shone a torch into his eyes and tried to explain to him why he couldn’t go to bed until he stopped being sick. “It’s also a shame that his parents are taking us to Jamie Oliver’s ‘Fifteen’ restaurant in Newquay in less than twelve hours”, I thought, less calmly, as he continued to throw up with increasingly poor aim. It was only once he lost the strength to hold himself upright and started being sick into the shower that I really lost my temper. “You will never make this up to me”, I declared ridiculously over-dramatically, and, leaving him almost naked and almost unconscious next to his toilet, stalked off to bed. At about 6am when he finally crawled under the duvet and – forgetting that I was mad and that he had sick in his hair – tried to cuddle me, I rolled as far away from him as possible and hissed, venomously, “Don’t touch me.” Not my finest moment.
When Boyfriend’s parents arrived, Boyfriend was still being sick and I was still angry about the shower, but I cheered up drastically once we arrived at the restaurant. While I ate so much I looked pregnant, Boyfriend managed to eat one olive, one slice of prosciutto, and about four spoonfuls of risotto. I was too full for dessert but showing his mother a photo of him slumped over his toilet was sweet enough for me anyway.
Eventually, the good mood radiating from my full tummy allowed me to remember that I did quite like Boyfriend, even if he did, obviously, owe me. And, having informed Boyfriend of this, my body immediately decided it was high time for me to be too ill to leave my bed. One week’s worth of constant loving care for a disgustingly diseased and annoyingly incoherent, feverish girlfriend later and it looks like Boyfriend is alright after all. He even bought me pizza. Debt, consider yourself repaid.
So the moral of this story is that the most magical and romantic thing is not a rainbow dress, nor a vintage carousel, or even a firework display in the middle of a thunderstorm, but loving someone enough to cuddle them when they’re highly contagious.
Oh, and pizza. Don’t forget the pizza.