Hounslow & London, England, March-July 2001
I could recognize my new home from the sky. Daryl had probably heard my plane from home and the windows had most likely vibrated. Our flat in Hounslow was right in the landing path of Heathrow airport. Except for the noise Hounslow was a nice place to live, a cute little English town with a great oriental atmosphere: the vast majority of the inhabitants were Asians.
I took the Piccadilly Line at Heathrow Airport and got off at Hounslow Central. Once outside the station I turned on the left, walked along the busy road and crossed the High Street. I had a short look at the Bell monument, went on up to the Hanworth Road, turned right and about 200 meters and 2 floors from there I was home. As soon as I walked in, Daryl literally jumped on me and we made the most passionate love. One hour later I went to the kitchen to smoke a cigarette and I noticed that the window was already open and so were the cupboards. “It’s for the smell.” Said Daryl. An Indian person had most likely lived in the flat before we did and the wood had absorbed the strong smell of some oriental spice.
One evening I came home from work and I decided to surprise my boyfriend. I cooked “Tagliatelle al Pesto” and I bought some expensive wine. To make the dinner even more romantic, I took some candles, I placed them on the table in front of the settee in the form of a big heart and I lighted them up. As soon as Daryl rang the bell, I switched off the lights and I opened the door. Daryl asked if I had forgotten to charge the electricity key at the drug store down the road, when he saw the heart. He was totally excited and filled me up with kisses. Then he sat on the settee and he started playing with the candles. In the meanwhile I dressed the bigger table and a few minutes later we started eating the delicious tagliatelle.
A romantic song was playing at the radio, I was tasting the good Italian wine and thinking that I wanted to go with Daryl somewhere for a short holiday, when he shouted: “Fire!”
The small candles had become a unique flame, which was burning right in the middle of the small table. I run into the kitchen, I took a bucket full of soapy water that I found in the sink and I threw the liquid on the fire. A sudden hot mushroom-shaped cloud exploded before our eyes and it was over. The settee and the carpet were covered in wax and the small table was reduced to dust. A week later, during the Fire Marshall exercise at the office, I found out that one should never throw liquid on fire, but under it and possibly from far away.
In April Daryl and I took the decision to sublet the smaller bedroom. We had never used that room and we thought it was a brilliant idea to have someone new around and to spare some extra money at the same time. We went to a London estate agent’s specialized in the gay area and we filled up a form with all the details. Hounslow was a convenient location for stewards and we did not have to wait long to get the first calls from our potential flat-mates.
Quite a few interested guys came to view the flat. In the first two weeks none of them convinced us. We wanted a professional gay man, to avoid jealousies he did not have to be too cute but in our superficial thoughts we did not want an ugly flat-mate either. He also had to be neither too camp nor too butch and he did not have to be messy. In other words, we were looking for someone that did not seem to exist, as Daryl and I had different ways to see guys. Then Gavin came. He was a young professional, he seemed like a quiet guy and we agreed that he would not have given us any trouble. “You can have the room from May if you like!” We told him. Gavin and his Prada, Versace, Armani, Dolce & Gabbana and Gucci wardrobe moved in on the 2nd of May 2001.
Daryl did not enjoy going clubbing too much. Massimiliano was always busy with his job and the course at the North London University and Dan had to look at his diary every time I wanted to go out on a Saturday evening. I needed to find someone new who would have gone clubbing with me from time to time. Daryl and I discussed the matter and we agreed I could look for some friends in the Internet. That’s how I got to know Tommaso and Ricky.
One evening towards the end of May, I met Tommaso for a coffee. He was a Neapolitan guy on his thirties, who used to live in North London and work in the city. He liked younger guys on the twenties, Armani clothes and clubbing. He was shorter than me and kept his body in perfect shape, which, considered his love for good food, must have cost him several hours at the gym. We got along very well and we decided to meet up again.
A few days later I went for Japanese food with Ricky, a Greek sweet guy who – I later found out – used to study in Providence and went from time to time to the “Gotham City” in New Haven, the same very bar where I had met Kevin. Ricky was one year older than me and also enjoyed clubbing and traveling.
When I introduced Ricky to Tommaso, the three of us started hanging out together on the weekend. We enjoyed the “G-A-Y Camp Attack” on a Friday, Lucifer with his whip welcomed us to “Heaven” on a Sunday and the “Sound” played for us on a Sunday. For Ricky we were like the girls in “Sex and the City”. I was Charlotte York with my “Sex-After-Marriage” attitude, Ricky was Carrie Bradshaw the writer, as he was telling the story and Tommaso was the older Samantha Jones, who enjoyed sex with the younger blokes.
A Saturday evening towards the end of June, Tommaso, Ricky and I decided to meet at the Village in Old Compton Street. As usual Daryl decided to stay at home, which upset me, as I wanted my friends to get to know him. After a couple of beers we headed to Heaven, ready for another clubbing night. Ricky and I were dancing and commenting how weird some guys were and Tommaso was flirting with a 20-something lad when I felt a hand on my butt. I turned my face, but I did not manage to catch the responsible guy. After a few minutes it happened again, but this time I was luckier and I saw the bloke. He must have been a couple of years younger than me, had a nice smile, a cute face and some blue eyes. He asked me to follow him and he took me to the staircase, where we could talk quietly. After a short introduction and a few compliments he tried to kiss me on my lips and I immediately thought of Daryl. “I have a boyfriend!” I said and I left him there without his prize. Tommaso and Ricky were waiting for me on the dance floor and I had to give them some explanations. Just like the angelic Charlotte, I showed Tommaso the evil guy who had tried to tempt me. When my friends asked me what his name was, I sadly realized that I had not caught it. Tommaso, who did not find the guy without a name attractive at all, decided to call him “the triangle”, due the triangular shape of his face.