Calm after the storm

After things had blown up in such a huge way it was amazing how quickly things could get back to normal. I looked forward to our holiday to Corfu, going with Michael and Aaron would be fun. It would be the first time I had gone away with friends and I didn’t really know what to expect. We knew the area we were going to be visiting would be quite tame so it wasn’t going to be party all night, sleep all day. That’s still on my to do list and should be ticked off soon.

I wouldn’t call the calm after the storm a second honeymoon period. Things weren’t as passionate between us for that, it was more a steady calm, some sort of contentment that all the ugliness had been left behind. There was no more shouting, no more hard feelings, no resentment and just a sense of it was time to move on from it all and attempt to draw a line under the horrid ordeal.

My memory is a bit fuzzy about the timing of everything, but it wasn’t long after our trip to Cornwall that Heidi came back into our lives. Before she left for her foreign adventure we had all been fast becoming quite good friends. Once we’d dropped Megan and Rose we’d quickly pick right back up from where we had left off with Heidi.

Heidi had taken a job at a holiday park when she’d gotten back and one day had gotten free passes to spend the day there, it was the day she introduced us to Daryl. He was a gay guy she’d met through a mutual friend and they’d hit it off right away. The four of us ended up having the most random day which consisted of a morning at the holiday park followed by a long road trip adventure to Brighton Pride, where many more people we knew were already spending the weekend. We didn’t realise it at the time but it would be the start of an amazingly close friendship for the four of us.

About a month later we were in Corfu with the guys. It was a long day travelling and it was the middle of the night by the time we’d touched down in Corfu. We grabbed our hire car, I unfortunately was the only person insured to drive and I had to face my first time driving abroad. I think I hadn’t long been 22 and it was a tiny car that only just fit us four adults with our luggage.

Most of the drive I managed to do from memory from the year before, which I think is quite impressive. Getting out of Corfu Town was the hardest part. Making sure I stayed on the right side of the road and going around the roundabouts the right way was taking nearly all my concentration and felt so wrong. I remember kerbing the wheels and thinking it would be just my luck if I managed to puncture a tyre after the long day of travel we already had.

I remember that it was really humid and we we’re all hot and stuck in a confined space for the drive. The drive consisted of a coastal stretch winding up cliff-sides that if we were travelling in the daylight I knew we would see the sheer drop to the sea in places. We arrived at the village and it was difficult to get to the villa, I drove past the turning for the street and had to do a three-point-turn and double back. After that manoeuvre I had to be reminded what side of the road I should be driving on, good job it was really late and there was no traffic.

By the time I finally got the car into the driveway of the villa I didn’t really want to drive again the rest of the holiday, I was too chicken. The one thing we knew for sure was that we had this huge four bedroom villa to ourselves for the week, it was right on the edge of the cliffs looking out to sea, although you couldn’t see that in the darkness. What we could see however was the blue glow of the private pool tempting us in.

The four of us bolted into the villa and rapidly changed into our swimwear and bombed into the pool. It was the most satisfying feeling after the long drive in the sticky heat of the night. The next morning we’d see all the poolside rules which said stuff like ‘do not use at night’ and ‘do not jump in from height’ ah well the rules were already broken now. That night we jumped off the garden walls into the pool over and over and only went back in when we were all ready for bed.

The next day we showed the guys round the village, it didn’t take long. We bought some supplies for the week, we would eat out every evening so we didn’t get much in. We hoped for good weather but despite the heat when we arrived it was pretty temperamental throughout the week. The first night we were there we were caught in a downpour while out for dinner.

We ducked into the first bar we found and sat under a canopy out the front drinking steadily until the rain let up enough to walk back to the villa. Needless to say we got very drunk that night waiting for the rain to stop. I think Aaron and I were the worst. What is a holiday without a few blurry moments. I even remember trying to sober up with a diet coke and putting a smirnoff label on it claiming it to be ‘smirnoff coke’ and the landlady had grown quite fond of us and we were even more fond of her generous measures when pouring cocktails.

The rest of the holiday was interesting, the guys got frustrated with the limited activities in the area, I don’t think they were really prepared to relax and unwind and would rather have been out and about exploring the island or at a livelier resort. I didn’t feel up to driving us about, I found it too scary and already wasn’t looking forward to the drive back to the airport.

So for the rest of the holiday we put up with the constant noise from next door, they were a couple on their honeymoon, both over 50 and they enjoyed having really noisy sex while listening to ‘It’s such a perfect day’ on repeat at full volume, I can’t listen to that song now without flashbacks.

We all put our money together one day to take a boat out from the harbour and explore the coastline. Except just as the four of us set off we saw a thunderstorm out at sea and Lara got a little worried and wanted to be taken back to shore. The rest of us were confident we would make it to the next port and take shelter and let it pass, in the end Lara and I went back to the harbour and the guys went off on their own. The guys did that a lot in the end, they went off exploring the area while Lara and I relaxed.

On the last day none of us had really had an amazing time, the weather had let us down frequently throughout the week, the guys were bored a lot of the time, so we attempted to end the holiday on a high and went to spend the day at a water park. This would mean my second attempt at driving abroad, this time was a little better and I only made one mistake.

The island has a main highway that runs north to south through it and all the intersections are traffic light controlled. It was confusing as driving down this road for much of the time I found myself driving on the left with traffic passing on the right, just like home. So when I turned off to the right at one of the intersections I continued on the left hand side, much to the astonished looks of other drivers marvelling at what I had just done, oops. I soon had my ‘oh sh*t’ moment and corrected my mistake and we were on our way again, no harm no foul.

We enjoyed the day out and then when the time came headed back to the airport. By the time we set down at home we were all ready to just get back home and put it behind us. No one more so than Michael, he rushed through the nothing to declare exit so fast that they pulled him aside to inspect his luggage. I didn’t think we’d all be going on holiday again together anytime soon. We should have planned out the holiday better and let the guys know more clearly what to expect from the resort so they wouldn’t get quite so bored. It was my fault really, I should have manned up and driven us all around the island to explore, I wouldn’t think twice about it now.

When we got back, although I’d see Michael and Aaron and the rest of the guys regularly for a while I did notice that we spent less and less time together. Eventually it would mostly be Michael and I sustaining a relationship since we worked together and always would keep in touch anyway. Instead we found ourselves spending more time with Heidi and Daryl. Through Heidi we’d also get better acquainted with an extended group of friends that we had briefly been hanging out with before. There were many good times ahead.

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