Tuesday 25 February
Chance meetings with like-minded individuals sharing the same fervor for globetrotting are generally ten-a-penny for James Peter Alden. Within minutes of strolling into a sociable environment a conversation would catch his attention, and more often than not the perpetrator would end up becoming something of a new buddy. An instant friend in a cup yes, but one that would no doubt remain warm for a considerable time. Girls were a different matter entirely. He was jobbing around the planet without a care in the world, enjoying singledom and balking at social media pictures of weddings and babies. Incapable of love or being loved, James was satisfied with the life of Riley, the Scarlet Pimpernel, the Libertine. Yet when the potential of something special hit, taking him completely by surprise, it hit like derailed rolling stock shipping a ton of incredulity.
At first he didn’t give her a second look. An unremarkable girl-next-door type. He thought to himself that if he didn’t go for it, someone else will, so he might as well. Yet the more she talked, the more he listened. The more he talked, the more she listened. And the more they both listened and talked, the more they realised two days weren’t going to be enough. The more beautiful she became. The more Alden was following Alice. The more he wanted to take the red pill.
Arranging to meet her again a month or so down the line, James was convinced it was just a flash-in-the-pan. A few days of (probably average) sex, towards the end of which he’d be wishing she wasn’t there. Bigger fish to fry. More seeds to sow. Nothing could have been further from the truth. A week came and went with such ease, fire and grace that he scarcely believed it had happened. As she turned the corner out of sight the world slowed to a snails pace once again, and Alden found himself staring into space shaking his head and mouthing her name. This doesn’t happen to him. This is reserved for the hopeless romantic he once was, now a twisted, cynical and bitter shadow of his former self. He was smoking during the day, burning nicotine down to calm his confusion, and he’d not written a song about anyone since 2008.
“I’ll never buy you flowers, or treat you like a queen,
You’ll settle for Drum Gold and Jim Beam”
A song. A goddamn song. Rhyme and reason had been flung out of the window. What next? A plane ticket home to see her again?! Setting foot in his own country for the first time in over two years because of a girl?! With little hesitation, he clicked “add to basket.”
Everything is a journey. James Peter Alden wanted to see where this one was going.