Slowly our discussion phased out into mock jiving in our seats. Someone kept bringing over more beer and we ended up moving into the now crowded dance floor. The collective opened as we approached and then swallowed us whole.
I didn't know how to dance, at all. I always felt embarrassed and awkward while attempting it. My hands up over my head or defensively at my sides. Feet lifted to their own invented rhythm which usually had little relation to the song playing. I just held my beer and gulped it fast and hoped that it would make the situation more bearable.
Regardless of how I felt about what I was doing, I must have been doing something right. A girl, brunette, hair down to her shoulders. She wore green. She was dancing beside me, moving her body in time with the music. She gained closer and closer with every beat. She moved into the circle of space that my defensive and awkward hands had carved out of the air and then she was dancing with me.
We were back at the table. We laughed. Drinks came. We danced more. It was half past eleven. The band packed up. We sat back at the table. More drinks came. It was twelve. The recorded music stopped. More drinks came. My friend ran inside very quickly. He didn't say goodbye. He didn't come back. More drinks came. The bar closed. It was one. My other friends went up to bed. I stayed outside with the girl in green. We talked. About everything. About nothing. We kissed. We went upstairs.
My head pounded incessantly. A thousand angry drummers beating out their own rhythm. I was thankful for the invention of sunglasses. My eyes ached. The skin around them felt tight. My stomach cramped like I had eaten the contents of the cutlery drawer before going to bed. I'd have cried if there was any water available in my body. My friends saw the weakness. They didn't let up. The taunting words were fine. The poke in the stomach was not. I threw my water bottle at my friend's head. It narrowly missed and slid across the hard floor of the lobby. They headed out to the coach. I stayed back and checked my watch. Another poke from behind. I turned, feeling angry. Thankfully I checked myself. It was her. She threw her arms around me and kissed me. I suddenly regretted all of the drinks and cigarettes of the previous evening. She didn't seem to care. Maybe she couldn't taste it. She pulled away as my friends leaned back in and began to shout boyish comments. I sighed. I was too tired. I wasn't even in the mood to fly home. Especially not in the mood for this. The two of us stood awkwardly facing one another. She bit down on her lip. I tried to keep my mouth shut, any large or sudden air intake seemed to turn my stomach. Finally she handed me a note with a mobile phone number drawn on it. She said that she'd had a great time with me over the past four days. I nodded. I had too. It was a shame to leave her. But she gave me the number and told me to call her if I was ever in Manchester. I said I would, and already I was planning how I would be able to get there to see her. She smiled sadly and then stepped forward. She threw her arms around me again. She kissed me long and hard. The boys started to chant again. She pulled away. I pulled her back. I was called by name. It was time to go. I pulled away and said goodbye one last time. I told her I'd call her when I could. She stood and watched me leave the lobby.
I took my seat on the coach. Her number was still in my hand. One of my friends sat next to me. He made to poke me in the stomach. I bent his finger back until he stopped. Then I stared out of the window. I held the phone number up and glanced at it. Then at the Spanish streets passing by outside. I thought about my relationship with her. It had been amazing. A beautiful holiday romance. She was right. We did have a fun four days. My feelings had really developed for her. We had spent nearly every hour together since that night by the pool. It would be nice to go to Manchester to see her. But it couldn't happen. It would be too difficult. I screwed up the phone number and stuffed it under the seat cushion where I left it. I'd never be able to explain that one away to my girlfriend when I got home.