From the wintry embrace that was Austria, where my boyfriend and I decided to jet to on a whim for a bit of dirty debauchery, I matured into, dare I say it, a relationship person.
The reason we took this trip was to “find each other” after too many long nights in the office. After evenings of strolling hand in hand along cobbled streets, huddled up, drinking gluhwein and endless portions of schnitzel, we had divulged in enough shagging, snogging, fluid exchange, cuddling, reminiscing and baby talk to make everyone around us want to vomit. It was time to go home. That is, until we were told that we couldn’t due to the European snow crisis involving airport closure of grand scale across the continent.
No flights for days on end, nipping out of a seedy airport motel to buy a new pair of jocks and socks every day, running out of money, and bargaining with flight crew to sneak us onto a flight leaving the country bound for home — this can all vastly change a person. From a loved-up long weekend, it turned into “Get me out of here, we’re trapped!”
It has to be said that being stranded together is better than being stranded alone. When Iceland erupts or snow threatens to drown out Europe’s busiest airports, it is with your loved one that you want to be. Sitting spread-eagle over your luggage with the rest of the human population in a large airport haplessly staring at the flights departures board is something you wouldn’t want to do on your own.
There is such a thing as a weekend that’s too long. For one, your holiday is over the moment you’re forced to remain in a place longer than is voluntary. And secondly, there really are only so many plates of schnitzel a human being can take.
As romantic as it is to be together while still wearing the same clothes for three days, there comes that threshold where you start to forget why you came abroad together in the first place. All the pretty pictures you took together and sites you saw just once — the ones that twinkled with Christmas magic — start to lose some of their appeal after you’ve now past the same statue 30 times, desperately trying to find a working train schedule to get you the hell out of there.
Most importantly, you also find yourself starting to talk about things that weren’t exactly on the dirty weekend agenda. After what seemed our seventh sausage in four days, the conversation veered off into those first blushing days when we first laid eyes on each other, and how we fell almost instantaneously in love. Good. This, after a while, took a journey of its own into who we both hooked up with shortly thereafter while still just “dating”. Bad.
He didn’t know about the guy in Cape Town on a raucous Girls Gone Wild weekend; I didn’t know about the bachelorette party he stumbled upon one weekend with his mates, which saw him intertwined in a Playboy Bunny’s ears in a dodgy bar in Grahamstown.
Of course, when you’re marooned somewhere, you’ll talk about anything to keep you distracted from the situation at hand. You’ll talk about your mother’s weird habit of collecting your father’s lint she finds in his bellybutton instead of having to check the status of Heathrow Airport. After you’ve spent your last Euros on a bratwurst and realise you have no more change for condoms, you end up yabbering on about things you know you should never talk about this unless on your deathbed. Suddenly, you find yourselves in that “know everything about each other” territory you thought would turn out to be disastrous, and yet, somehow you come out the other side still in love.
This is what happens when you’re thrown into a hostage-by-weather situation in central Europe — you only really have yourselves... which turns out to be alright after all.