from the book Blossom Hill – a London lovestory
Mia had just left the shuttle at Folkestone after passing through the Euro-Channel from Calais and traveling the fifty-mile route through the world’s longest underwater channel by train with her car—thirty-seven miles undersea in just thirty minutes. She was excited. North London University had offered her a place, one of the rare limited places in her subject. The university offered only fifty places a year for her area of study. Mia planned to move in with her boyfriend who had found an apartment in an old North London villa and share with several students.
A further ninety-minute drive through Kent, making her way through South London and the Blackwall Tunnel, Mia had to take a break to refill her tank. She stopped at a gas station, filled up and went to the cashier. For some reason, her card failed and, of course, she hadn’t enough cash.
Mia was a slender girl, standing five feet four in her sandals. She was simply dressed in jeans and a T-shirt and she blushed bright red when the Point of Sale rejected her credit card. This had happened to her once before when she had accidentally exceeded her limit, but this time the card was seriously creased, the result of her sitting on it during her long trip from Germany. Despite Mia’s general level-headedness, she could be careless at times.
Everything happens for a reason. “Do I need to wash cars now?” Mia asked with a smile. Turning towards the customer behind her, she said, “Does your car need some polish?”
The man, a handsome thirtysomething year old, athletically shaped with dark blond hair laughed. “No, love, it’s just coming out of the car wash now, but I imagine you would do a better job.”
“Well, is there an ATM machine close by?”
“No, not that close,” the cashier said. “The next cash machine is about fifteen minutes away.”
“So, what can I do? Would you accept me leaving a deposit like my ID card? I would come back later with the cash. I’ve just come from Germany and I’m moving to North London. I could leave my address and telephone number with you.”
The cashier shook her head, but the handsome guy behind Mia said, “I can take it on my card and you can come to my office next week and pay me.”
“That would be great; I don’t know what to say.”
“It’s okay,” he replied. “And I got the number of an attractive German, right?”
The two exchanged addresses, phone numbers, and the man paid using his card. Mia felt ashamed but surprised that someone was so generous.
“You made it all the way from Germany with one tank filling?” He smiled and continued, “Don’t worry; I had a similar situation lately, so I know how it feels and someone helped me out, too. My name is Jason. Anyway, I got your car license, so I will find you if I have to.”
Mia thanked him again. “I will pass by your office tomorrow and leave the fifty pounds for you at the reception.”
Jason nodded, “Any time. See You.”
On her way-out, walking over to her fully packed Ibiza, Mia noticed that only one other car had stopped at the gas station. It must be his—a shiny Porsche 911.
Mia had planned to pick up her boyfriend Bo at his old address and then drive over to the new flat. When she arrived, Bo was standing, as always, talking with his landlady, an attractive African woman from the same country as him. She was a little older. She had a little boy and always had her eyes on Bo. She looked at Mia with hardly the friendliest Hello.
Bo grabbed his one suitcase and he and Mia drove over to Lordship Road, to the old villa where they would move in. Mia parked the car and followed him inside.
They were standing in the dark entrance hall, trying to find the light. Mia, excited, finally found the switch. Wrapping her hands around Bo, wanting him to kiss her, and Bo standing there with his hands in his pockets, cold as ice. Mia would have expected a jumping heart, an intensive hug, and a long sweet kiss, anything but this. She had waited all summer for this moment. A cold shower was running down her back. All she felt was a moment of nothing, knowing this love had been an illusion, all this sweet talk on the phone, cards, presents and whatever. The moment she had waited for had turned into a moment of no emotion at all. All she felt was disappointment. The illusion of love she had held had just dropped down to the hall and into the basement!
Normally she would have turned around and be gone, but she had just left one life behind and she didn’t want to give up another—her dream study-place she had worked so hard for. She closed her eyes for a moment, taking a deep breath and thought, “Okay, this is better than no love at all, and at least I got my study place. This is what I came here for; I will manage; I won’t give up that, too.” Mia felt as if she had hit an iceberg while on board the Titanic and all her love was drowning. All she could do was let go and keep herself together.
Mia unwrapped her arms and with a fresh, friendly smile, said: “Alright, the light’s on, now you find the lock with the right key, it’s a really cool house.” Bo opened the apartment door, but the light switch inside didn’t work. The electricity in the house used a point system, which meant you had to purchase credit and charge on a meter in the corridor. With the help of her lighter, Mia made it to the bathroom. Bo, opening the bathroom door, said: “Ah, here you are.”
“Yes, here I am,” Mia replied with a grin.
“I got to go back to my apartment, I left something. I will be back later on,” Bo said. This was nothing new; Bo always had something to do. Every phone conversation had been like this—except that she had somewhere to go this time. It had happened so often that he would accompany her and for some reason managed to make her arrive late for her appointments or whatever she had to do, or miss them altogether.
“Yes, and buy some points for the electricity charge,” Mia shouted from the bathroom. She was alone now in the dark.