I left my job on the day of my birthday, July 31. It was a big day that came with a big cheque. And quite rightly so too. I spent my birthday with friends in Paris then jumped on a plane to Barcelona. I wanted to blow away some cobwebs, change my surroundings for a while and to get some sunshine.
So, it was with images of Almodovar films in my head that I flew south to catch up with an old friend (an old flame who had since gone straight) in the Catalan capital.
We were to spend just a week enjoying the city, the beach, the tapas y canas. And we did just that. We spent our days admiring our fellow beach-bodies and the evenings drinking and eating and chatting about how we missed our significant others.
Leaving the city, we passed two lovely days sailing a friend's cruiser in and out of the coves between Figuèrès and the French border. We slept on board in a small cabin, like two puppies in a basket. But it was just friendship - old, unchallenged friendship.
On our final night in Barcelona we went out clubbing, and ended up - with it being sunday night and all - in the strangest of clubs, the only place we could find open at five am.
Like many european gay clubs, the place had a dark room. A place where anonymous encounters can be had for the brave, the curious and the foolhardy. Being all three - and not a little bit drunk - I went to have a look. Well you don't look as it's so dark - it's more like going to have a feel.
And feel is what happened.
I stood leaning my drunken body against the wall and felt, as is normal practice, a hand touch my crotch.
I reached out and found a pleasantly shaped body. The hand started to stroke my afore mentioned body area.
Before I knew it, there were zips unzipping and buttons unbuttoning and some serious drunken passion was unfolding. It seemed like an appropriate way to end an otherwise sexless vacation. Anonymous pleasure, finding your way around an unknown body in the dark. It was hot and it was sexy. Things took their natural course and soon passion was replaced by a more relaxed intimacy.
As I stoked the hairy, muscled chest in front of me, the body's head moved in towards my neck. Yes, like in a vampire movie. A gay vampire movie.
"Vous êtes d'ici?" the head asked me, in French - "are you from here?".
"No," I replied in French, "I'm english but visiting from Paris"
"Hmm" the head replied "you have a jolie accent."
A moment's silence.
"Do you know Michel et Carl?" Now, I've changed the names to protect the guilty, but this pairing of names only belongs to one couple - my good old parisian friends, the Fierce People. This person knew the Fiercies. Ye gods.
"Yes……." I said.
"So it IS you!" said the head, excitedly. "Mais, it is ME! Jérémy!!!!!"
And so it was. It was Jérémy. A guy that I knew quite well - and who's boyfriend I knew better. As a couple they were a fixture at the fiercies' parties and soirées. I also knew that they had just split up. Seems Jérémy had headed south to get himself some rebound action.
"So, how are you?" I said. Not sure what else to say.
"I am fine,", Jérémy replied, "I am here to shag that bastard out of my head".
"Well you're in the right place to do that" I said. "But maybe you should start by taking your hand off my dick".
Yep, this whole time, he'd still been working the magic, and it had started to get a little bit uncomfortable.
"Oh, you are SO eeenglish!" he said. And, with one final squeeze, he was gone, vanished into the darkness.
The next day, with my friend already well on his way to the airport, I was stood in the hotel room with my bags packed, waiting for a bellboy to come carry them down for me.
I rang husband, le Fabuleux Parisien.
"I don't want to come home just yet. I'm enjoying Barcelona." I said. "The weather is so good, the beach is fabulous, the food……"
"I'll call you back," FP replied, "don't go anywhere".
Ten minutes later, he rang.
"I arrive at ten to nine tonight - can the hotel send someone to the airport to collect me?"
And that's how I ended up spending almost a month in Barcelona. We just kept on postponing our return to Paris. It was the best month, the best summer, the best holiday.
It was a sunny Friday evening when we eventually arrived back in Paris.
We deposited our bags at home and headed off to dinner chez the Fierce People. As we walked into their 'salon', I saw a familiar figure lounging on a sofa.
He looked at me nervously, surprised to see me.
"I believe you know each other" said the American Fiercy.
"Oh yes", said I. "We came across each other in Barcelona…."