Manchester Pride is the only Pride event I think I’ve ever done properly, we rented out an apartment for the weekend bought tickets to the main event, watched the parade, the whole she-bang. We we’re back to group outings, since when Lara and I would spend time alone we’d do the boring married couple thing and stay in watching TV snuggled up or going for long walks on a beach somewhere, you get the picture.
Amy would be joining us for Manchester, we hadn’t all known each other that long and rather than spend the time as a threesome we encouraged Amy to bring a friend along. Amy arranged to meet her friend Sophie up in Manchester. I’d be driving us up there, it’s a long trip and at the same time her friend Sophie would get the train up from Birmingham. I remember getting a little flustered on the journey up, we stopped quite often, more than I’d usually like to and when me finally arrived in Manchester I had a little difficulty finding the apartment, then finding somewhere to park.
Once we were all sorted we checked out the apartment, it really was luxury. Although it was advertised for four it was really only for two, since the living/dining area doubled up as the second bedroom. Lara and I had the bedroom with the impressive en-suite. When we had unpacked and breathed that sigh of relief that the travelling is done with we decided to get our bearings and figure out how close to the action we were.
The apartment was right on the canal, a short walk down the pathway and we were in Canal Street. Once we’d figured that out we bought some supplies for the weekend, mainly alcohol and something to soak it up with in the mornings. I might be imagining that since I was the only one of us that actually seemed to enjoy drinking. I find that strange, I don’t think I can trust someone that doesn’t like to get drunk from time to time. Anyway once we’d found a Sainsbury’s local and stocked up on whatever we bought we were due to meet Sophie at the train station.
I think if I remember things rightly when we met up with Sophie she wasn’t alone. I think everything about her was unexpected, she was a single mum with three children from her last relationship, younger than the three of us, she was a latecomer to the lesbian party and making up for lost time it seemed. I never really figured out how Amy and Sophie knew each other. Anyway, she arrived with her youngest child and a close friend of hers, they would only be staying for the day then Sophie would be free to enjoy the rest of the weekend with us..
I hoped that the weekend would be non-stop partying, out all night, sleep it off all day and then drag your ass out of bed to do it all over again. In all honesty, it was ridiculously tame. Sophie was just as eager for the partying as I was, and eventually hooked up with a random girl she happened to meet and then we didn’t see her again the rest of the weekend. I wasn’t really bothered by this, we’d already all settled the living costs for the weekend so as far as I was concerned she could do as she pleased, Amy on the other hand was a little put out. I can understand why, when you invite someone to spend the weekend with you as your guest, that’s exactly what they should do.
We hung out in all the different bars, we visited the main stage but didn’t stick around for any of the uber-cheesy entertainment, yet after the first night when we did stay out for a while drinking we didn’t have any more late nights. It was a bit of a let down. Amy had brought her playstation with her for the weekend and was more content to stay in playing games than going out meeting people and soaking up the atmosphere. It was a puzzle to me, maybe she was feeling the loss of Sophie from our group more than I was.
The biggest highlight of the weekend became the parade, we actually all made an effort to see it, took some photos and enjoyed the sunshine. We were really lucky that the weather stayed great the whole time we were there. I think on this trip my favourite bars were Via, Mantos and Vanilla, I haven’t been to Manchester now in a long time so it’s probably all changed since then, but given the chance again I’d certainly be attempting to be party all night.
Also as chance would have it an old school friend of mine was living in Manchester these days. Initially she’d gone to University up there but has since made it her home. We had a rather strained friendship throughout our school days and by the time we were thirteen had washed our hands of each other. However living in a small town and going the same school put an end to that pretty quickly, we had too many mutual friends, it was just easier to forgive and forget. We met up during the day for a drink and a catch up before going our separate ways, I haven’t actually seen her since.
By the time the weekend was over we were at a loss to figure out what to do about Sophie. We’d barely heard from her the whole weekend, I was supposed to be dropping her off at Birmingham on our route home. In the end it was just the three of us heading back. I only vaguely remember meeting the girl she’d gone home with that night, yet I remember weeks later when I asked Amy if she’d heard from her that Sophie never went back to Birmingham. She actually stayed up there with this girl she’d just met, I think she even left her kids with their Dad, though I can’t say that for certain I’m very hazy on the details.
One day I’ll do the full on party-Pride. So far I’ve been to just three, and something always seems to happen to either render it completely uneventful or some sort of drama takes place. At least I’m lucky never to have been amidst the drama, it’s certainly preferable to watch from the sidelines when things start kicking off. It wouldn’t be long before we’d be back in Manchester, we’d be back here soon with Daryl and Heidi when we would be seeing Pink, we were all really looking forward to that.
You might have noticed that I haven’t said much about Lara, I think this actually says more than any words could. The truth of the matter is when we were among friends that’s all we were to each other. It’s so hard to think of anything that was catastrophically wrong, or any tender romantic moments to cherish. There is so much about our relationship that’s simply forgettable. It’s a truth that’s very sad really, that we spent so many years together with mostly nothing to show for it, not even fond memories. Of course eventually I’d question the lack of the affection, romance and passion that was missing from our relationship and make a big deal out of it, even that became a boring pattern, it was all just a rut we got stuck in.