from my memoir “to Paris for lunch”
In the spring of 1988 whilst I was making costumes for Glyndebourne, I was staying for the season in “the huts”. Now, this long narrow building near the car park contains offices, but then they were little rooms; like small hotel rooms with a single bed, a table, a chair and a small wardrobe, divided by a bathroom for women on one side and a bathroom for men on the other.
We had been working many hours overtime and to catch up we were asked to come in and work on Sundays as well. Waking up in my small bed, I felt nervous and excited, remembering how Sebastian insisted on taking me out for lunch only a few nights before.
It was a beautiful, sunny spring day. Maybe he forgot, maybe he is not coming at all! Maybe that is just his chat-up line to every girl he meets. Trying to talk myself into believing that it was just an empty promise, (also to prevent too much disappointment), I got up and dressed and went off to work.
All morning I kept looking at the clock. The girls were busy and listening to the radio, but I could not focus. Time went by very slowly, but I was restless. Just before one o’clock I decided to disappear for a while- just in case he might turn up after all. I went downstairs to the toilet and could not stop shaking. What was happening to me? I waited and waited, looking at my watch, only five minutes had passed, I had to wait at least another ten in case he was late. I went to the courtyard café to have some lunch, but I had no appetite.
Twenty minutes later I walked back up the narrow stairs to the wardrobe and I could feel my heart pumping. I listened out, but all seemed normal upstairs, everybody was working with their heads down. So, he did not come after all.
I was disappointed and relieved at the same time. I carried on with my work quietly trying to concentrate, when Sara, the wardrobe manager suddenly said, ‘you had a visitor earlier!’ Everybody giggled still with their heads down not making eye contact. ‘But he left again, as we did not know where you had gone.’
Oh my god, he came after all!
I could feel myself blushing and tried not to look at anybody. What is happening to me? I am under some kind of spell! This is just stupid!
And then I turned around and there he was. Leaning against the doorframe; tall and handsome; black jeans; blue shirt; black leather jacket. His sunglasses were pulled back over his thick black hair.
He grinned at me, ‘There you are! Come on, I booked us a table for lunch. You will like this place!’
Everybody was looking at me. I blushed even more, if that was at all possible.
Even if I wanted to say no, I knew I couldn’t. I had no choice. Because the way he stood there; the way he smiled; the way he looked at me in his confident manner, talking to me as if he already knew me, I knew I had fallen. Right at that moment I was falling deeply in love with him. It was perfect!
Everything he did and said, his confidence and persistence, all those things are what I really like and make me go crazy about a man. So I took my bag and my jacket, said ‘until tomorrow’ to the girls and felt them observing us as we walked out together.
Sitting on those smooth leather seats of his vintage Mercedes Benz, with the roof down, the sun beaming in, driving out of the Glyndebourne car park and into the Sussex countryside, I felt as if I was part of a movie.
He stopped at a traffic light and took my hand. I did not pull away. He leaned over to me and kissed my ear, whispering, ‘I am very hungry, but not for food!’
(Part 3 will follow)