That Girl Away

As soon as I left my hotel on my first full day in London in 2017, I immediately beelined on the tube to the stop that I used most frequently while I lived in London as a student. Above is the first or second photo I took on my trip because I was just that excited.

This is the story about the closest thing I ever got to a Rom-Com situation while traveling. It happened during my second week studying abroad in 2007 and I will never forget it. (Spoiler alert: It didn’t lead to anything but it was still a fun encounter.)

I was heading home on the District or Circle Lines after seeing a show at the Globe on the South Bank. There happened to be lots of delays that night and I noticed an extremely cute lad with brown hair and blue eyes sitting on the floor in front of one of the doorways. We locked eyes many, many times during all of our delays.

When we arrived at the Gloucester Street Tube Station, I gave him once last look and then silently said goodbye to this beautiful stranger and exited the Tube. I wasn’t allowing myself to give him a look back as the door closed but a few moments later I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned around and it was him.

He told me I was really beautiful and had really beautiful eyes and asked if he could take me out for a drink sometime. I said yes and we exchanged numbers and after that, realizing his train had just left, we ended up going to a little cafe next door to the station called House of Coffees. (This spot, I was gutted to discover in 2017, is no longer there, but it was an amazingly cheap spot where you could get a delicious personal pizza and a cappuccino for something like 5 Pounds.)

I learned he was 27 and worked in advertising. Off the top of my head, I don’t remember anything else about him, except his first (William) and last name (I’ll keep that private for his sake). I just knew that he was very cute and had a really lovely accent. I could look in my travel journal where I likely gushed about it the next day to read back more details but I’m not sure I totally want to.

We chatted for probably 3 hours, until the cafe was closing. On the sidewalk in front of the station, we exchanged phone numbers and that was that. I floated home on the high of what had just happened. We spoke a couple of times on the phone but we were never able to meet up again. I’m pretty sure that he happened to be hiding his drunkenness extremely well that night and he was a little embarrassed after following a girl off the Tube.

I haven’t spoken to him since that summer, but it’s what I remembered about this specific Tube station when I arrived in London and I can’t help but smile because if a guy ever followed me off the train/tube/metro anywhere in the world again, I don’t know if I’d be willing to sit and talk with him or if I’d walk away quickly, thinking he was fucking nuts.

This is pretty tame as far as travel romances go, but this one sticks out in my mind. There also was my date with a soldier in the Queen’s Calvary, but I’ll save that story for another time.


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