Friday, October 10, 2008

Opening The Vault: Part Ten

When you’re dating someone, the first time you say those three little words is always a memorable moment. California native Mark (a.k.a Sparky) and I were about five months into our relationship and enjoying a magical week in London when that milestone happened for us.

I was sitting on a stoop with him near Westminster Abbey when I said “I love you” (after, of course, Sparky had uttered the same to me). Our week in England’s capital brought us much closer -- and foreshadowed the bumps in the road ahead. I now Open The Vault and take you back to the spring of 1994...

London, England
April 30th, 1994

Dear Diary,

Sparky was left in the lurch for a bit as I tended to my duties for the day, coordinating my friend Camilla’s 21st birthday celebration. I had just put the finishing touches on the restaurant’s private dining room when the guests -- all 27 of them -- descended en masse.

I don’t know how it started, but someone pelted Camilla with cake. Those who got caught in the crossfire needed little provocation to join the fray. Suddenly, cake was flying everywhere -- across the table, onto the wall. At one point, I dove across someone’s lap to avoid being the next target of the food fracas.

Before the food fight: Camilla and me celebrating her 21st birthday, London, April 1994

Later, while I was settling the bill, I noticed Sparky chatting with Fabian. The sight of my former flame and current one conversing made me uneasy. I know how Machiavellian Fabian can be, so it wasn’t impossible that he might have been bending Sparky’s ear about our colorful past. After seeing them share a good laugh, though, I relaxed. My colorful past with Fabian had safely remained a secret..

After the party was over, Sparky accompanied me back to Commonwealth Hall. As we were saying goodnight, he said--

“Hurry up and get older, will you?!”

Though I understood Sparky’s frustration about our age difference given the antics at Camilla’s party, I was peeved. He knows I’m a college student and I don’t want to feel like I have to apologize for it.

* * *

The next day, Sparky and I visited St. Paul’s Cathedral and enjoyed a double decker bus tour around the city.

After a visit to the student union for a sauna and exhilarating (bathing suit-clad) shower together -- my first with a significant other -- we went back to Sparky’s room at the Hilton. Giving into our intensifying passion, we fooled around for hours. This would be the last night I would leave Sparky to return to my dorm.

* * *

There were a lot of first’s for me and Sparky during our week in London, a week that we continue to look back on fondly more than 14 years later. Is it any wonder that to this day, my beloved New York notwithstanding, London remains my favorite city?

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