Making Friends in Liverpool

“I can see someone who is dying to burst out of herself,” he texted me yesterday. Half a year later, I still can’t believe we became so close.

It was almost midnight when my mom and I arrived in Liverpool. Even though I had a GPS, my mom and I kept fighting over what street to take. After an exhaustive search, we finally arrived at our Airbnb.

The guy who welcomed us was a typical hipster in his forties – he had a long beard and when using the bathroom, I noticed all kinds of oils he used to groom it. He made us tea with milk and invited us into the living room. While we were nestling in on his couch, he started telling us about himself – how he used to be a cop but was now a nurse, how his dog died a couple of years ago and he missed it terribly, and how he was gay. My mother and I were taken aback by his openness and friendliness, but when we went to sleep, we weren’t fighting anymore. It was all good.

The next day was spent doing the usual touristic sightseeing. England is freakishly expensive, so we had lunch at McDonald’s. When we came back, we were tired and just wanted to sleep. Before going to bed, I went to the living room to say goodnight to our host.

He sat on the couch with a glass of red wine and a vape pen. “Come sit with me,” he said. And I did. He poured me a glass of wine and started talking. First, he told me about how it wouldn’t work out with his boyfriend. Then he told me about all his previous relationships. He told me everything – from love to sex to detachment. He asked me about my love life and I told him about Prague. We sat there together until two AM, talking as if it was all we had ever done. My mother was asleep, so she wasn’t aware of the start of this new friendship.

The evening after, my mother and I were talking to him and he showed us his CD collection. He had albums of Mumford and Sons, The Killers, Fleet Foxes, and all things good in the world. When my mom had gone to bed, we drank wine and listened to all our favorites. He introduced me to Ned’s Atomic Dustbin and Jesus Jones. We didn’t talk much that night. We didn’t really have to.

We spent all our nights like this – talking and listening to music. On our last night, I discovered his guilty pleasures – one of them being Vanessa Carlton. Before going to bed, we sang along to A Thousand Miles. It was the perfect goodbye.

We stayed in touch. When he wants to get something off his chest, I’m always there, and he does the same for me. When I told him I was feeling lost, he understood what I meant. He said I reminded him of Sarah from Labyrinth and that he was like Ludo, the big hairy idiot who could summon rocks to protect his friends. He texted me: “Remember, fair maiden, should you ever need us.”

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