At the end of University and after graduation there were still a few of us who had not decided what we wanted to do next and felt no desire to step into the real world. Having lived so closely together for over three years it felt like our family unit was breaking up, despite promises we all knew that in reality we would soon end up in different parts of the world and exchange greetings at reunions and Christmas for a few years. One night after a week of pretending nothing had changed (we were even attending the summer lectures) what everyone felt finally came out into the open and after some ‘slightly’ drunken discussion came to the conclusion that we needed to do something big before going our separate ways.
The following morning we went en-masse to the travel agents and booked the most affordable surfing destination money could buy, which turned out to be in Spain since warm water and sun was pretty much essential. We received a substantial discount by picking the last minute bookings which meant spending the whole of the following day packing everything up… not just the cases we would take with us but all our belongings into cardboard boxes for our parents to collect. The apartment looked a little sad when we had finished and the last boxes had been carted off, it was also bloody freezing.
Even the bed clothes were gone so in the end we all ended up sleeping wearing our coats and crammed inside a little fort made from mattresses, which was rather snug to say the least. At 4am the alarm went off and after much groaning we all trundled off to the bathroom to make ourselves presentable… then put everything back in its place before the taxi’s to the airport arrived. We have a wonderful photo of a very bedraggled looking bunch standing in front of the fort on the last day and it is one of my favourites. Myself and Julie were the last to leave the apartment, possibly because I was being a little more sentimental than usual as I would never see it again and knew that when we returned to England we would all be going our separate ways.
The holiday itself was fantastic, we played on the beach until it got dark then after dropping out kit off at the hotel spent the night dancing until the clubs closed (strangely 5 attractive girls and 3 boys never seemed to need to pay to get in). There are many tales from those nights but they are not mine to tell, so instead I will focus on the penultimate night of the holiday.
Throughout the holiday we had got changed at the beach and given each other as much privacy as possible, we were all good friends and it was to stay just that. While we had occasionally flashed the boys or lay on our fronts with bikini tops untied nothing unusual happened, having lost my bikini top a couple of times during our first days surfing I had even taken to wearing a full length swimsuit most of the time. It had just started to get dark so we made a little fire in a secluded area of the increasingly deserted beach, after an hour half of the group left for the hotel leaving myself, Julie, Emma and Mark, looking around I could see we were pretty much the only people left.
So I said I needed to get changed collected a towel and stood up to remove my costume, once Mark turned away (stealing only glances he thought would be unnoticed) I quickly removed my costume and placed in on the ground enjoying the coolness of the air on my back against the heat of the fire from the front. Then looking at Julie briefly turned to the ocean and ran as fast as I could towards the sea laughing. It took Emma a few seconds to catch on and Mark a few more before turning and seeing my rapidly retreating bottom. Now Julie already knew what I was like but they really had no idea, so when they joined me for a swim I just said it was something I always wanted to do.
It was fun being the only one naked and everyone was enjoying my slight breach of sanity, though most of the time everything but my chest was below the water, though I made sure to dive under a few times to show off my bum. When Mark asked “So do the cuffs and collars match?” I just grinned and performed a handstand under the water, which must only have lasted a couple of seconds but certainly made an impact.
Once we were all pretty much exhausted we turned to head back to the fire and noticed that there was a couple walking down the beach hand in hand, Emma said that we better wait on a little while until they passed. I pretended to agree then once they were clearly in sight I laughed and walked out of the ocean then darted towards the fire with my hands covering the important bits. The couple just stood there in stunned silence then turned to watch the rest of the group in the ocean hoping for another show.
By the time I reached the fire I was laughing so much I could barely stand, so still wet I sat down on a log facing the fire and waited for my friends to arrive. I was still trying to control myself when they arrived a few minutes later. Julie was the first to chime in with ‘are you not dressed yet!’ we gave you a few minutes but Mark was openly looking and strangely lost for words. Mark took a seat on the log opposite the fire facing at least trying to cover up his interest and I said the towel’s a bit damp (a complete lie) I’ll just let the fire dry me out.
So I managed to spend the next few minutes in the buff sitting on a log with my legs stretched out in front of me, before finally getting dressed so we could meet the others at the hotel bar. The privileged few kindly decided to keep quiet about my little misdemeanour even when ever so slightly drunk which was rather impressive.
The following day marked the end of the holiday so we all went and took a picture of us looking slightly sun-kissed (not burned I must emphasise) in front of a historical looking tower (to at least pretend we had taken partaken of some culture) and headed to the airport. I remember everything felt so heavy on the day but the only tears came not from myself but Emma as we stood in the foyer of Newcastle airport.
This was in essence the final goodbye some of us had lifts waiting and others were to jump on the metro to start their journey south. During 4 years at University those 7 friends were the most important people in my life, they were part of my most defining experiences and I feel a little sad right now at having lost contact with so many… I should probably change this bit to a more upbeat message when I’m a little more cheerful.