Segments - 01 - Meeting Her

01 - Meeting Her

02 - The Services

03 - Exeter Hotel

04 - Christmas

05 - New Year

06 - The Old Man

07 - Why He Started

08 - Cambridge

09 - Norwich

10 - The Party

11 - Millau

12 - Heading East

13 - Nice in Nice

14 - Making Progress

15 - Revelations

16 - Doubts

17 - The Connection

18 - Levelling

19 - Space

20 - Finale

He looks her up and down and thinks to himself "Oh my!".

She seems disinterested in him as he looks at her curves beneath her clingy dress. They are indeed most impressive, firm probably false breasts, real hips. The dress is too obvious though, nothing is left to the imagination, nothing left to be revealed. After the brief introduction she carries on talking to her friend. The friend is also attractive, not obviously and blatantly, rather more pretty and gentle in a homely manner. He thinks "Porn queen and milf". He's shocked by his own shallow thoughts.

They're both engrossed in some talk that he can't hear over the music, neither of them has given him anything more than the polite passing glance, there's nothing going on here. He turns to return to his drink but as he takes his first pace a warm hand gently grabs his arm. It's the homely woman, smiling and asking him to stay. Inside he's surprised, shocked even but he tries to hide his thoughts and play it cool, he doesn't want to appear like a desperate fool. He replies "I'll just go and fetch my drink" and wanders away as nonchalantly as he can. He almost bursts into an excited run, but he controls himself.

He returns with his drink and stands next to them again. Odd. They're still talking, almost ignoring him, he feels unwelcome again even though he was invited to stay. He looks at the homely lady, trying to work her out. Pretty, mousy blonde hair, dressed simply in jeans and a sparkly t-shirt, quite small but not tiny, not much make up and a healthy "average" figure. As she turns briefly to put her empty glass down he notices a peachy round bottom. Things are looking up but then there's the other girl. She is still stunning yet somehow annoying, aloof and rather too perfect to make sense.

He fidgets and looks awkward even though he's trying his best to look cool. He's still being ignored. He thinks about walking away again but that would be rude. This is painfully uncomfortable for him. He sings along to a tune. He want's this to end, either tell him to get lost or talk to him just put him out of this limbo one way or another. He looks around for some excuse to leave. None comes to mind. He looks at the ladies, they're still talking. He can't stand it. He wanders off, then almost scurries, he doesn't look back.

He saunters to the next pub that looks busy. This is the downside of being on the road, the not knowing anyone, not knowing where to go, not quite fitting in or feeling comfortable. He orders another glass of coke and assumes a position by a fruit machine. He tries again to look cool, to fit in, to look like he's stood by this machine a thousand times before. As he sips his coke he contemplates the long walk back to the tent and what will probably be another cold night if the stars outside are any sign of the weather. At least the walk will keep him warm.

As he stares into the bubbles of carbon popping out of his drink he feels that gentle warm touch on his arm again, he almost recognises it. The homely woman is stood in front of him, smiling warmly like she's greeting an old friend from high school. He greets her but a little less warmly, he recalls his previous meeting. This time the "Porn Queen" friend is by the bar ordering drinks and the homely woman is asking him if he's from the local area. It's good she's at least talking to him but that will surely end when the friend returns. Her friend hands her a drink, smiles a knowing smile then walks off into the crowded room. He shrugs to himself, maybe there's hope.

As they talk he learns she lives nearby, works in some overseas business but he can't hear her clearly enough to fully grasp what, travels a lot because of this and has 2 grown up kids. He makes sure the conversation is mostly focused on her. Primarily because people like to talk about themselves yet it also saves the long drawn out explanation about who he is and what he does. Most people don't get it, most people can't see it. He notices her bra line under her top. He imagines her waist. He imagines her bottom. He's trying his best to be polite but it's been a long while since he was this close to a woman, especially an attractive woman.

After half an hour and feeling much more relaxed he can see the bar is getting quieter and it is late. He would of course love to spend the night with this woman but that's the thing of movies and books, not the reality that he lives in. He makes to leave and grabs his jacket, she asks him where he is staying. This is awkward, not a fancy hotel nearby, not even a smart designer mobile home, just a tired old tent in a field next to a kindly farmer's house. He doesn't want to tell her, it's not "cool" is it. He simply offers the name of the farmhouse, no more details.

She's confused, there's no guest house or accommodation there, she knows the area obviously. Damn. His hand is forced and he explains the camping arrangements. He's expecting disappointment or a grilling but neither come. Just a kind offer to stay at her place on a clear understanding that he's to behave himself. Wow! He's a little concerned about his belongings in the tent or the farmer wondering where he's got to but the idea of a real house and a proper bed are very enticing. After a moment's hesitation he promises to be a good boy. They walk out together into the cooling air.

She already has a taxi booked and her house is but a few minutes out of town in a leafy suburb with some fine houses. Business must be good as she hands the driver a tenner and tells him to keep the change, over 5 pounds. A paved driveway leads to a large Victorian house with huge windows. The solid wooden door opens to a warmth unfelt for some time and a sense of comfort, safety and relaxation. This is all he'd given up. He is glad he's given it up but that does not make it any less welcome this evening. Not having this is the price you pay for the freedom to come and go as you please.

Sipping hot tea in a vast kitchen near a boiler working it's magic is heavenly. She is pretty and his mind is racing with lecherous thoughts but if she merely wishes him goodnight then he'll still be happy. He imagines a soft bed with clean sheets and real pillows. Bliss. If she were in it all the better but still, that would just be a bonus. She excuses herself and while she's gone he looks around. There's money here, the kitchen is high quality and even the crockery feels expensive. He wonders what a woman like this does to make this money and more importantly what the devil does she want with a vagrant like him. He no longer feels quite so happy and relaxed.

She returns to the kitchen draped in a soft white silk robe with the hint of a satin negligee underneath. He is excited, he stares at the soft gentle outline before him. He controls himself, if nothing else he's a gentleman and a man of his word. He hopes she didn't notice the lust in his eyes or the uncomfortable shuffle due to the ache in his pants. She brings him a couple of biscuits and sits on a hard kitchen chair beside him. He refocuses and recovers from the original shock and tries to talk to her as a person and not gawk at her as an object of desire.

They talk more. He can tell she's intrigued and curious to ask what he's doing in a tent but he manages to avoid any details with his standard answer, just travelling. He learns that her husband is not far away, but there is zero chance of him turning up. No further explanation is offered and by her tone he realises he's not to ask for details. He gets the notion that neither of them is telling the other anything close to the truth tonight. She then looks at the clock, stands up and walks to the sink.

With her back to her he stares, hard. Her hair falls softly over the robe. Her hips sway effeminately as she walks to the bin. Her ankles are slender. He'd love to stare at her breasts but that would be obvious, he catches a curve as she turns to the dishwasher. When she turns around again her face takes on a more fiery glint, he doesn't know why. She sways over to him, takes his hand and leads him into a large living room. His heart beats faster and he thinks his luck is in, he tries to show no signs though, he tries to play cool.

It's a good job he played cool. On the lush brown leather settee is a sleeping bag and pillow. His heart sinks - without outward sign he hopes. She tells him about the downstairs toilet, to make another brew if he wishes and she'll be down at 0830 to make some breakfast. She flows out of the room leaving him to his own devices. He's bewildered, confused and over excited. He's so warm and dry, it's so pleasant here and it's been an entertaining evening. Yet he feels incomplete, unsatisfied and just slightly scared too. He falls back on a mantra that has seen him through the last couple of years, "You wanted adventure, well now you're having it".

He sleeps the sleep of comfort. The only thing he can recall of the night is fumbling to find the light switch for the downstairs loo. The curtains are pulled back to reveal a pleasant autumnal day. The woman from last night is dressed in a sharp suit with a very tight pencil skirt. She still looks amazing. It takes him a few moments to pull all his thoughts back into place. The pub, the taxi, the house, her nightwear, the settee. He looks sharply around to see only his clothes, folded neatly and some clean clothes next to them.

"Morning" she says.

He grabs his old clothes, she stops him and without a word places his hand onto the other pile of clean clothes, then walks out the room. This is surreal to say the least. It feels planned, thought out, prepared. Perhaps she does this a lot? Perhaps he's one of many? Whoa...scary, he could have been murdered, drugged or framed for some evil deed she had in mind. Even more creepy is that all the clothes fit him well and suit his style, casual and practical. He catches himself in the mirror, he looks quite smart in the fresh clothing.

In the kitchen the frying pan is at work. Between cooking she's collecting papers and putting her hair up. She looks professional and confident. She also looks like a very happy woman, he likes that, it makes him feel happy too. The spring in her step, the laughter as she drops a fork and the wink when she flips the bacon like a pancake. Impressive to see 3 rashers all turned like that. He thinks he might be one of many, but who cares with a woman like this. He remembers the "Porn Queen" friend of hers from last night, she might have the false breasts and the easy slapper make up but I bet she can't flip 3 rashers.

During breakfast she explains that even though it's a Sunday she's got an important meeting with some board or another. She's still very vague and he feels she's being evasive. He returns the favour by being evasive when she enquires as to where he'll be travelling to next, partly because he's playing her game and partly because he really does not have a clue. That's the point of being on the road isn't it? She offers to run him to the farm where his tent is then puts his old clothes into a plastic bag. As he starts to protest that he can't keep these clothes she shuts him up with a gentle kiss, a smile and by walking away. She's bossy in the nicest possible way.

Her Audi fits in perfectly with the professional look. Inside it and driving it she's the perfect successful businesswoman cliché, even down to her aggressive driving. When they reach the farmhouse she parks, looks at him and says "We shall meet again, soon"
"How? I'll be long gone in an hour or so"
"Soon" she smiles and leans in to kiss him. He looks at her and she dismisses him like a snob waving away a dirty dog. He feels bewildered. He feels played. He steps out and without a word or a wave she drives away.

He stands next to the tent in the cool air. What the hell just happened? She wants him, she doesn't, she'll see him again, she dismisses him, she talks like a lover, she treats him like a dog. He likes her and hates her at the same time. "You wanted adventure, well now you're having it" and with a wry smile he opens the tent.

Oh my god no! The tent has been turned over and while most of the few possessions he's got are here the tablet computer and the small stove are gone. He sags into the now deflated airbed and curses some more. Some local scumbag dirty little thieving git will be trying to sell it to some dealer for a wrap of coke and a joints worth of weed. All he has left are his clothes, the tent, airbed, rucksack and about £45 in cash he'd kept with him. This is the first time in two years he's had his tent robbed. And here, where it looks nice, where the tent is out of sight of the road.

His head is reeling. High and low, up and down, what a night, what a morning, what is he to do? He lies in shock and then mourning for his circumstances. It takes an hour for him to collect himself up, as he's done all too often, pack up, and get ready to move on. He knocks on the farmhouse door but no-one comes, they'll probably be out in the fields working. He hitches the rucksack higher and starts to walk. At least now he's moving again he feels better. Moving, being on the move. That's what matters. Not being still. Progression, change, being somewhere else, somewhere new. That's what makes him feel better, that's what makes him feel like he's living and alive. It's not all fun, in fact often times it's lonely and miserable, but it is what he needs.