I was at the café before HarryPotter, and I was actually a little nervous. Silly right? How much have I been through with this guy, and I was nervous? I’d even done myself up. Did my hair, covered that giant bruise with make-up. He’s seen me at my morning worse a hundred times. I don’t really know why I was acting like it was a first date or something. But I had big news, and I wanted it to feel special.
He finally turned up and filled me in on the MNM gossip. They’ve decided to pay interns from now own (good policy since unpaid internships are illegal), and also hire a proper front of house administrative assistant. However, because they’re hiring a proper secretary, they can’t afford to pay two interns, so they’ve had to renege on one of the placement offers. And lucky day, oh happy lucky day, they’ve let EvilCowDogSlutFace go, because the other Intern was better suited. Suck on that you little slag!
Other big news, MNM is getting an editor from Home Office to replace NFEditor. HarryPotter said this person has been leading epublishing down in Home Office, and they’re hoping to do much more digital stuff with MNM. So, HarryPotter is really excited about some future projects he may get to work on. So, that’s pretty cool.
I decided to tell HarryPotter about my big plan. I caught my breath and pounced in. I had a speech ready and everything, but I forgot what I was going to say at the last minute and just started rambling. Essentially, this is what I said:
‘You know. One thing I will always appreciate about the placement is the fact that we met. You mean so much to me, and I am so very happy that we’ve become such close friends. And to be honest, I really don’t want this friendship to end. So since I’ve got a few months…’
HarryPotter cut me off. ‘I am so happy to hear this. This is so cool. You can stay in the flat until you start the job in August. And, yes, four months in Glasgow with nothing to do could be quite boring, but we could spend the weekends at the St Andrews caravan…’
It was my turn to cut him off. ‘Stop stop. That’s not what I meant. I’m not staying in Scotland. I’m going traveling. I’ve talked to everyone, and I’m going to do a round the world tour, staying with friends along the way. I’m starting in Italy with Betsy, then to Thailand with Sarah. [GoateeSon] is letting me use his place in Sydney as a central point. Then after Australia, I’m meeting Rich and Mike in the US, and we’re going to do a cross country road trip. It’s all planned and I’ll be back by the start of my new job.’
HarryPotter was shifting in his seat, so I had to get to the point, ‘And I want you to come with me. I want us to travel together. I can’t think of a single other person I want to travel with. In fact, I can’t think of anyone else I want to be with.’
It was HarryPotter’s turn to respond, but it didn’t go like I expected. He said that he couldn’t just leave his job. And what about his flat?
I said that we wouldn’t leave until 1 April, so that would be plenty enough time to sublet his flat, and he could quit his job. I had enough money for both of us to travel. He didn’t need any money. I’d sort it all out.
Then he asked, ‘What about when we get back? You have a job waiting. What would I do? I can’t just quit my job. Not in this economy. What would I come back to?’
I hadn’t thought of that, so I said he could come to London with me. I’m setting money aside so that I can get a flat with D when I return, and he could move in with us. The tables would be turned, but it was the least I could do after everything he’d done for me.
‘So that’s what this is. This is a pitty thing.’
I said that it wasn’t about pitty. I wanted him to come with me. That’s all.
He said he couldn’t. He couldn’t do it. He couldn’t leave his job. Not now. He’s finally getting a chance to do what he wants – design in epublishing. He couldn’t give up his flat; the rent’s too good. What about his family? And he certainly couldn’t rely on me for money.
But, he got excited for a moment, and I thought he was going to change his mind and agree to come with me. He started talking faster, ‘If maybe we planned it. We could go in a year; we could arrange to take sabbaticals from work. I can save up money…’
I had to stop him. ‘But you don’t need to save. That’s the point. I’ve got the money. And I don’t know where I’ll be in a year. I’m hoping that I’ll love my job and won’t want to take time off to travel. Plus, how could I work for a company for only a year, then ask for four months off? No, I’ve got the time and the money now. I’ve got to take this opportunity.’
He said he was sorry. He couldn’t. He couldn’t live off me. And he couldn’t drop everything.
We were supposed to spend the day together. He was supposed to take the afternoon off work, but he’d changed his mind. He said he had to go back to the office. ‘Too much going on. I can’t take the time off. Not even for the afternoon.’ And he walked out the café.
I was so upset. I was giving him an opportunity to travel…to be with me.
I’m just now at the flat, and I need to pack. I’m back to Kingston tomorrow. I want to spend some time with Mum before I leave, and I’ll probably spend a week or so at Dad’s as well. I’ll need these few weeks before I leave to double check visa requirements, make sure the money’s made it into my bank account, get a back pack (or whatever it is people travel with). I’ll need to confirm everything; make sure everyone actually has a sofa for me to crash on. I need to buy my round the world ticket. I’m staying a little under four weeks in each country, so I’ve got to find out about transport, shots (especially for Thailand), and everything else. I’ve never really travelled, so I’ve got lots of preparations to do. I’ve only just come up with this idea today; although it feels so right. It feels like I’ve been planning it forever. But am I doing the right thing? This is so last minute. If I’m going to do this, I need to do it now, not in a year. But…what if…I just wish I could talk him into coming with me.