In late spring of 1999 I flew to Heathrow International Airport and took one of those funny, old-fashioned looking taxis to meet up with my family at some flat my father had rented. It was above a pub (everything seemed to have a pub below it) and within mere hours of close proximity to everyone I found myself downstairs without one cent of UK currency.
The pub looked like the Irish-themed bars in my city: dark wood, brass touches, a long, polished bar from years’ worth of elbow-rubbing.
I sat at a gap at the bar and listened to two ruddy-faced men with caps on. Their accents lilted, their laughter rumbled. The tall, curly blond bartender who looked to be about my age loped from one end of the service area to the other as they called out his name, “PEE-tah! PEE-tah!” and he deftly filled their orders calling them by name with a foreign accent of his own.
His partner behind the bar was a short man with salt and pepper hair and darting eyes. He missed nothing. “How can I help you, miss?” he asked me.
I explained to him I’d just arrived and had no British money. “That’s alright, I’ll give you one on the house. What do you want?”
“Gin, please,” 24-year-old me answered.
He gave me a drink called the Virgin Mary, a triple gin and tonic in a very tall glass.
By the time I hit the bottom of it I’d tried to talk to the two gentlemen beside me in my best British accent but had failed miserably. “Where are you from, lassie?” they asked.
“Guess!” I said coyly, worried they’d know I was faking.
They talked quietly amongst themselves for a few seconds before they began guessing out loud to me. “Denmark? Finland? Sweden!!” they blurted all the Nordic counties. They were convinced my bone structure gave me away.
I don’t remember which of those countries I picked — maybe it was Norway — but they were very impressed with my grammar! (I still laugh thinking about it.) I told them I’d spent a summer in Los Angeles recently to work on my English. They bought it.
Peter, however, didn’t.
He’d been hanging around our end of the bar and listening surreptitiously as he washed barware. “Where are you from?” he asked me directly.
I didn’t even try. “America,” I giggled.
He winked at me and I left.
A few nights later I returned with money in hand and a plan in mind. I wanted to hang out with Peter. Several days with my divorced parents, grandmother and judgmental sister had driven me to need time alone to be myself, to be Hy.
There were two American kids in the pub with me and the three of us chatted with Peter throughout his shift. When it was over they invited us to their rented flat across the street to get high. Sure, why not go somewhere with 3 strange young men and smoke weed? Sounds like fun!
The room was strewn with backpacks and travel guides and a little bong was on a coffee table. We sat around and smoked and laughed and if my life depended on it I couldn’t tell you the names of the other two Americans; I only had eyes for Peter.
He was Swedish and well over 6 feet tall. He’d been in England for several months while he tried to figure out what to do with his life. His accent reminded me of snow and blonde braids and his smile was large and toothsome.
We decided to leave together and find another place to drink. His pub had closed at 9 so we walked some distance to an even darker pub below street level. We drank and made out, sloppy revelers in the bowels of a London neighborhood.
That pub closed at 10 and we staggered on to yet another and when that one closed at 11 — Why do all the pubs close at random times and so early?! I wondered noisily and repeatedly to Peter as we lurched down the street — he suggested we go home to his place. Above the pub.
“I live there for free and work below and Jimmy my manager also lives there. I’m not allowed to have anyone over.”
We sneaked through the darkened pub with only the shiny bits reflecting the street lamps outside as our guiding lights. “Shhh,” he reminded me as I began to laugh.
“Here. Get on my back.” We were at the base of the narrowest staircase I’d ever seen, tucked behind the bar. “He’ll only hear one set of footsteps.”
I jumped up and clung to him as he ascended each creaky, screaming step. I nibbled his neck and he giggled, told me to stop. He tripped and we muffled our laughs as he caught himself. Up three flights of stairs we were at his carved, wooden door.
His room was dark and shadowy and his window was eye-level with the street lamp. Light poured in and illuminated a window box with a cushion like a block of pale, artificial sun.
We were all over each other. Drunken, half-strangers. Our height difference made my neck hurt and he split his stance like a giraffe at a watering hole. My face in his hands, his mouth on mine.
The window box was long and we moved to it. I straddled him, the window to my right, and pulled my shirt off. My little 34B breasts were pierced then, perky. He moaned and took one in his mouth and I clutched his curls to me.
Our clothes peeled back to reveal our yummy bits and I sucked his deliciously uncut cock. “They don’t do that in Europe,” he explained in his loopy Swedish sound when I remarked on it. Literally drunk with lust I asked him if he had a condom. He shook his head.
I thought for a split second about it and decided to throw caution to the wind. I peeled off my jeans and pressed his naked body back on the cushion and sat astride him, his cock pressed against me, but not in me.
Above him like this I saw a beauty, a lithe young man heavy with passion — and me — bathed in light on his left side and melting into darkness on his right. His nose had a bump in it, his mouth a Cupid’s Bow. I cupped his face and felt his blond scruffy cheek against my palm.
I bent down and kissed him and wrapped my hand around his cock and slowly guided him in. This was me, this was what I really wanted to be doing in London.
He gasped as I sat back on him, my mouth locked on his, his air mine. I slowly sat up and wiggled him into me and he said, “Hyacinth, you are so beautiful. You are like an angel spreading her wings. I cannot bear it…”
I smiled and felt as though everywhere the light touched my skin and us I shimmered, and where we joined in the dark was cool and quiet. I felt alive and humming, utterly beautiful.
Sadly, Peter couldn’t go much further than just that. He was overwhelmed he said.
Instead, he pulled me down onto him and we cuddled in the window box beneath the city lamp.
Eventually, I had to head back upstairs to my family, but I gave Peter my email address before I left and for a number of years — nearly 5 — I would get an email from him saying he wanted to come to America and see me.
But I had moved on from that night and that place, though Peter would forever remain one of my fondest memories.
I’m returning to London in roughly a month for Eroticon where I’ll be speaking on a couple of panels. I’ll be in Bristol for the first few days of my stay for the convention itself and then will flit about after that until it’s time to come back home on the very next Wednesday. It’s not a very long stay, only a week, but I had less time than that my first time over.
I wonder if I’ll have as much fun this time around.