Scottie’s cross-border romance blossoms…
I’m not going to deny it. My unplanned date in Belfast went so well, that I was still smiling when I got back home to Dublin. That’s two and a half hours of a bus journey, smiling. It’s that kind of soppy, rom-com crap that could make you sick, really, couldn’t it? Well, hold on to your sick bags, folks – it’s about to get worse.
The following day, I wake up to a message, from my Nordie (the Irish call anyone from Ulster ‘nordies’) with a fairly standard question: “What are you up to today?”
“Not much,” I reply, basking in the fact that I had taken the day off from the randomness I call ‘work’.
“Glad to hear it,” he wrote back, “because I was thinking of driving down to Dublin.”
The Sun was shining. People were buzzing around the Irish capital – most of them were probably Americans and Brits trying to find the leprechauns under their Guinness (they don’t know that Germany bought all the leprechauns and they’re now slaves for the European Central Bank). It was a beautiful summer’s day and spending it on a date sounded like a perfect idea. So, I replied:
“When can you get here? ;-)”
A few hours later, I met him on the picturesque O’Connell Street. The evening Sun was now just right to give you a warm kiss, which is exactly what I got off my date when we met up. He had never properly been in Dublin City; having family in the capital meant that he knew certain suburbs well enough, but he never had a reason to spend time in town. Essentially, I knew that not only would I be this guy’s date for the evening, but also his tour guide. With that, I decided to show him the more romantic spots, with a walk along the Grand Canal that stretches from Georgian houses to modern cafés and apartments overlooking the river.
The conversation never stopped, just like when we were walking along the beach in County Down. Still laughing, still smiling and still managing to get a sneaky kiss in when the right moment presented itself. Seriously, if you were ever the cynical type, you would’ve hated the cutesy-pie moments we were having. Hell, if I hadn’t been enjoying it so much, I would’ve, too.
Still, it all made me wonder if I had stepped into some fantasy world. My Nordie had just driven over 80 miles to see me for a date; highly flattering, but hardly something I could expect him to do on a regular basis… could I? Being with him was fun, and I definitely felt comfortable around him, but we’d never have the opportunity to just hang out with him on a lazy day without planning it at least a good few hours in advance.
I looked over at him, once, to see if he had any telepathic skills. I wondered if he could’ve picked up at my reality check, but he hadn’t. He was mesmerised by the views I had shown him, especially in one part of the city where Dublin looks more like Barcelona on a sunny day (it rarely feels as warm, but still). I decided to dismiss my own questions of what we were getting ourselves into, and joined in his wonder and delight of being in the city on a truly gorgeous evening.
Eventually, I walked him back to where he parked his car, where he drove me home before starting his journey back across the border. I was still as giddy and smitten as when I left him the previous day in Belfast, and even if I knew that it’d be hard to keep up this pace in the long run, I savoured every moment possible.
Besides, how often is it that love comes to town?
‘Scottie’ Illustrations by Stephen Charlick