***Any resemblance to actual persons and events may be coincidental :)***
London was not on my list ” To go to ” for this year. It was supposed to be Paris. With him. This is what we were planning for the last 8 months, it was to be THE TRIP for both of us, but I guess it wasn’t meant. The fairytale I thought I was part of went in a totally wrong direction, only to discover that my prince has no royal blood at all and after all he is just a human being, one that never keeps any made promises.
London was my protest, my way of saying : “I’ve had enough. I’m fed up of broken sparkles!”. I booked a ticket, a hotel and I started dreaming of seeing palaces, hearing stories of kings and queens, walking on the ground where centuries ago crowns, heirs, affairs, conspiracies were filling the walls with mystery, hoping after few days there, I will feel royal in my soul again.
When the airplane was nearly to land and I could see London Eye right in the middle of the big town, touching the opposite riverside with its shadow, my heart wanted to scream :” Hurry up! Let me go and see it all!”. It took me few minutes to adjust to the English accent that I somehow find very attractive, intriguing. And though my English is very good, the first few question the guy from the border police asked me, made me think: –“Do I know this language at all?” and like he caught my thoughts, after my answers about the purpose of my trip to London, he said a bit amused: –” And don’t worry, it takes a little to catch up with the way we speak here. Cheers! Enjoy your stay Miss.”
–“I certainly will”- my lips murmured and I went to look for the exit of the huge airport, to look for the traces of royal blood and of course for the bus station where X26 will take me to Kingston and my hotel. An airport officer with a smile of a playboy, calling me “sweetie”, like I’ve known him for ages, directed me to the bus station.
X26 was scheduled to be there in 30 minutes, so I sat on the bench and took out the notebook I carry with me everywhere. I use it as a diary, writing some of my poems, sometimes about my day or just loading the paper with emotions too private or inhuman to be shared with anyone. I had inside a sticker with the address of the hotel I was to stay at, my online reservation for Madame Tussauds’s museum and few other stickers with useful information about the transport and the attractions. I read one more time the address, penciled in the date and that I’ve arrived happy and excited, impatient and ready to inhale glimpse of this civilization. I drew couple of ladybirds which looked funny with the blue ink, but someone told me that ladybirds bring good luck and I guess I wanted to have few of them with me right now.
I didn’t see the time flying, 30 minutes were up before I notice and X26 suddenly appeared out of nowhere. I quickly put all the things back in my bag and got on the bus. Kaleidoscope of pictures followed as the bus was passing by the different neighborhoods. My eyes enjoyed the colors and the structure of the buildings, the continually changing weather and the sky – once clear and blue, once dark and with clouds. I’ve never seen so many clouds in one place, changing positions and shape so fast and unexpectedly and though at times it looked like rain will break loose, next moment the gray would move to make the way free for the sun to appear and say smiling: ” Peek-a-boo”.
Kingston got my full attention. The balls of white and purple flowers hanging on most windows, the coffee shops next to Thames and the line of bridges, the red phone cabins and people type Rupert Penry-Jones* walking on the streets, it felt so nice. I found the hotel very easy, it looked exactly like on the picture on the internet site, white building freshly painted, with the big, blue sign Travelodge – Kingston Central. Reception desk girl was very helpful, the room was plain, clean and comfortably looking. I unpacked my bag, refreshed myself and decided to go out around Kingston, maybe have dinner as it was nearly evening. I looked for my notebook to see what was the name of the restaurant friends told me to go to and … the notebook was not there.
I got panicked, trying to remember the moment I was in a hurry to get inside the bus, when I was trying to tidy all my belongings that I had out on the bench at the airport. I was sure, I forgot it there. I thought of someone finding it and reading my writing, abusing my private feelings. Uh! Well, what’s done it’s done! The notebook was gone and I wasn’t going to let it ruin my mood. So I just left the hotel and went for a walk, trying hard to forget.
I had a dinner looking at Thames and few swans in the water playing a game only they knew the rules of. The sun was long gone, it was almost dark and the wind was chilly. I headed back to the hotel taking pictures of the river and the lights. It was a huge surprise when Emma, the girl from the reception told me:
— “Miss, there is someone waiting for you in the lobby bar.”
I looked at her with a silly face I guess, because she smiled.
–I know nobody here! Are you sure is for me?”
–“Yes! He said, he has something of yours, there, the blond man with the black t-shirt.”
My notebook! He found my notebook. That was it. Couldn’t be something else. And I nearly run to the table he was sitting at. I spoke with quiet voice, looking at his back a bit afraid to go on the other side of the table and face him:
–” Excuse me, my name is Blaga and they said you are waiting for me.”
He turned around so I could see a man probably 35-40 years old, exactly the Rupert-Penry Jones type I was talking about earlier, the blond hair, the warm brown eyes, the strong and tall, well sculptured body, the playful smile and the royal attitude. Not perfectly handsome, not with some extreme beauty, but charming in a sexy way.
–“Hey, I think this is yours. Am I right?” – and he handed me the notebook with my initials on the front page. The first thing in my mind was to hope he hasn’t read anything, apart from the hotel address and my name. I felt awkward thinking he might have read it all.
–“Mmm yes, that’s mine and I thank you very much for bringing it to me!”
Later on in bed, I thought that I should’ve invited him for a drink, to say thanks, instead of just looking confused, even he understood that. I closed my eyes to hold for a little while the smile on his face when he introduced himself, just before he left : ” It was nice to meet you, my name is Adam.” And then his face was gone to be replaced by the next’s day visit to Hampton court – palace of stories and delights, the place where my favorite royalty Henri VIII have lived once upon a time.
I slept really deep and good that night, I woke up with a smile. The breakfast was quick, I wanted to be on the bus to Hampton court sooner rather than later. Once seeing the palace, so magnificent, I forgot about everything, nothing else mattered, just my presence there. I saw a queue to get an entrance ticket, but I lined patiently, savoring the pleasure that will follow when I step on the king’s ground. Not long after, I thought I heard someone calling my name, but then I knew nobody, so I just ignored it, probably I’ve heard wrong. Until I felt a hand on my arm and again the pleasant voice: “Hey, Blaga!” Turning around made me think of a line in a book a read recently : “…sometimes kismet happens …” Well, it does….
–” Adam? What are you doing here?”. The man I was trying to send away last night, now was standing right in front of me and this smile of his … it made me wonder how much a human’s heart can take seeing such a shiny face. He did look happy to see me, I must say, it was more than obvious.
–“I work here, at the palace. Today I have the day off, but I came to do few personal things.”- he took my hand, after saying all that and pulled me away from the queue.
–“You don’t need to wait here for a ticket. I’ll get you one if you just give me a second”- and next moment, before I manage to even sigh, he handed me a folder he was holding and went inside the ticket office. I saw him talking to the sales-girl and shortly after he was back next to me, giving me “Complimentary Hampton court entrance ticket”. I was there, not reacting or thinking just standing stupidly in amazement.
Until he spoke again: –” And if you like I can show you around, it will be my pleasure. I promise, you will have the best guide”.
–“Yes. I’d love that. I’d love to see the palace with you!”.
Did I say that? I couldn’t believe it. Writing about it now, I could continue with: “And the rest is history”. But it’s not exactly history, it’s more like a memorable beauty, a day I’ll probably file in this section of my mind where everything is always bright. He was an excellent guide, there was no place, room, painting, building, item or anything in the whole palace he didn’t know the story about. I completely satisfied my thirst to gain knowledge about my favorite royal attraction, about the part of history I most love.
As I completely enjoyed his presence, the little signs that he is there and that he likes it, I wasn’t thinking about my diary and about how much of it, how much of me he knew. I was thinking about him and I walking on this sacred ground. About him standing behind me, inch away from my body, making me to look up and see the clock in the heart of the palace at Clock court, explaining about the passion of Henri VIII for scientific learning, telling me what each dial was used for. About the way he laughed when I was making funny faces sitting on the royal table, asking him to take pictures of me, the way he showed me the hidden face in a painting from Rubens, which you could see only standing in a particular position when looking at it.
Or about the story of lady Frances Teresa Stewart, one of the Windsor’s beauties who refused to be king Charles II’s mistress, because she had her values and beliefs. I remember looking at her face on the painting, admiring her courage, letting Adam’s voice to take me back to 1665, letting his fingers to draw on my hand the image of her innocent charm. This room with the ten portraits of the Windsor beauties became my favorite room, not only because of Belle Stewart’s story, but because of the way he represented it to me, holding my hand whilst living the past.
Adam introduced me to almost all people working at the palace, he took me to every room, to every garden, to every hidden place there, showed me secret ways to reach the Queen’s bedroom, doors to get out of the palace and I must say, I’ve never felt so royal in my life. There was this moment, we were at the Great Fountain Garden, standing next to a fence looking at Thames and at the hundred of clouds, dancing in an unreachable rhythm, when I said, more like whispered: –” I’m sorry for I was so rude last night. I am thankful that you got my diary back, I was just worried about how much you read from it. Thanks again.”
He spoke nothing for a few long minutes, then he turned my face to look me in the eyes, saying:
–” I read it all and I don’t regret that I did, because do you know what I saw there?”
–“No!”- I answered quietly, afraid to raise my voice, to hear his answer.
–” Come with me! I’ll show you!” – and he nearly dragged me to a statue, not faraway from where we were.
–” This is the statue of the three Graces. On the paper, under the ink of your pen, I saw you as one of these three Graces, the Grace of charming and beautiful soul!”
I was again there standing stupidly quiet, not being able to react, wondering how he does it, making me loose my words, just like this, with the blink of an eye.
–“Can we go and see the maze now?”- I finally opened my mouth to speak.
Silence. Silence again. And then … Check mate! This is what the expression on his face looked like after my reaction, after my sudden desire to go and see the maze, when he had his heart wide open and laid in my hands. I could feel he wanted to throw me in Thames, but he smiled and said: –“You want the maze! The maze it is !”
When we finally reached the center of the maze and there was nobody else around, he asked: –” Do you have a nice time?”
–“Not only nice, lovely time and I can’t thank you enough for that!”
–“You can. There is a way.”
–“Come with me tonight, on a date!”
I’m sitting in the lobby of the hotel now, happy with the day I had and impatient for the night ahead, waiting for Adam to come and pick me up any minute. Yes, I said “yes”, mostly because he proved me wrong about few thoughts I had coming here. I came to London without any connection to the “world of trust”. I thought the presence of royal spirit might change this, after all elegance and beautiful manners are children of kings and queens, but Adam showed me that grace and love live in our hearts and they come out when all we want is to see the person next to us constantly happy, smiling. Sometimes few words and a hand to hold you is just what you’ve been dreaming about. It’s sad when you don’t receive these words and this hand from the person you love, but often, fate can surprise us and let us heal the broken sparkles…
This story might not end with “And they lived happily ever after”, but there will be a drink by the river, a “Cosmopolitan” for me, a beer for him, a walk under the lights on one of those lovely bridges I’ve been admiring all day, long conversations, because talking to him is divine, a laugh, maybe a plan for tomorrow, few silent moments and a kiss … definitely a kiss …
* Rupert Penry-Jones is an actor playing in BBC “Spooks” series, which is my favorite English actor. I love his pale skin, the blond hair and the warm brown eyes, the attitude, the accent … everything …
© 2011 Broken Sparkles