“Come eat tomatoes with me, sing me something new” – Vicky Everitt (1997).
I took some of this story out of my upcoming book to share it on my blog today…
Oh Vicky, I have no idea if you’ll remember me or not. But you left your mark on this nomadic Northern Irishman back in the day. We all cling to memories, of that I’m sure. But as I backpack through obscure towns in Poland this week, your youthful smile pops into my head. I write this on a bus between Starogard Gdański and Gdańsk. I’m alive again with you. In my 1997 Northern Irish mind we are sitting chatting in Belvoir Tech. I’m timewarped to that day you doctored Oasis lyrics and we ate tomatoes. You won’t remember me. I won’t forget you.
It happened in the Belvoir Estate in Belfast. In Belfast City, our sparkling diamond. The Northern Irish capital. I was the new boy in tech. The quiet one in the corner reading about journalism, listening to Oasis and pretending to score Gerry Taggart headers.
“Johnny come lately, there’s a new kid in town” – The Eagles.
You offer me a tea. You make it. I take it. You make it well. I fell in love with you, I know it now. I was 17, you were 18. My invites to pub lunches fell on deaf ears. I hung out with the lads. The odd one out. The only Bangor boy in a Belfast tech. Times were bloody good back then as “wee scroats.” We lived in fear and I know we all are better for it, now. Years down the line. More than double my life ago.
“Even in the sun, defeat is cold” – Jonny Blair (1997).
“Mate are ye a Protestant or Catholic?”. The fact is, if you’ve bothered to ask, you already know the answer. You knew it. You worked it out. I worked it out. Every Northern Irish person worked it out. You just wanted the answer from the horses mouth.
As we sipped our tea that day I stared into your ocean blue eyes and longed to stroke your ice blonde hair. You were the most beautiful girl I had ever seen and yet I was 17. Studying journalism in Belfast, drenching my love in local politics, Steve Lomas strikes against Slovakia and you: Miss Everitt.
“They only seem to come and go, away….” – Oasis.
You came up to the computer I was using and tried to show me how to load Microsoft Publisher. You touched my mouse and said “this is how you do it Jonny”, missing your own double double entendre.
It was a long time ago but I write this short bit for the blog and save the rest for the book. I was infatuated by her. Perhaps I only worked it out years down the line.
I hope you’re happy, Vicky, and I hope just maybe you’ll remember me. And maybe sometime we can meet again for a coffee. Or a pint. I’ll buy you a pint. And I can “eat tomatoes with you.”
And Vicky, stay happy. Wherever you are.
“Who is this new guy with hippy hair?” – Vicky Everitt (1997).
That was me, Vicky. That was me. 😉