How far would you travel for love? For Hugh*, it seems he’s willing to go to the other side of the world to be on the same continent, in the same city, and on the same lounge as Lola*. The first thing he’ll say to her?
“Probably, Hello… and then give her a big cuddle or something.”
I frowned at my friend. “No pick up line?” I asked.
Laughing, he responded with. “No, I’ve already laid that ground work.”
It’s Monday afternoon and he’s still in Australia. We’re sitting around the kitchen table, having a cheeky drink, and I’m asking the questions only a girl can get away with. Specifically, I’m asking, who is Lola?
“Who is she? She is a girl I met online from the UK.” He blushed.
“How did you meet?” I continue without hesitation.
He takes a long draw from the can before answering. “On Fling. Not what you think it is,” Hugh laughed. “It’s just like Snapchat, you send a photo with a small caption but you don’t choose who it goes to, it goes to like fifty randoms around the world and once you get one you can reply to just that person and have a private conversation… and she replied to me. And so we started talking and feeling a bit of a connection there.”
I had to swallow my gag reflex. Please, don’t let him talk about fate. “What do your mates think?”
“At first, they were a bit sussed about it, saying that it was really a dirty old man on a computer.”
“Were they worried about you? Or hoping that it was a dirty old man so they could laugh?”
“They were hoping. My mates are arseholes.” Smirking, he raises his drink as a salute to me.
I give him the one finger salute in return. “Have you shown them pictures?” I’m asking something I already know the answer to, because I’d already seen this girl’s barely covered boobs.
“I have. But not naked ones. I haven’t even seen naked ones.”
“Poor darling,” I rolled my eyes.
“I am,” he laughed. “But no, she’s very good looking. Very Pretty.”
“Is that all that matters? That she’s good looking.”
“To my mates, yes. To me, it’s a bonus… I don’t want just looks…” And he was being serious, he lost his cheeky grin as he said this to me.
“Have you told her the whole truth about yourself? Nothing made up.”
“As far as I know, yes,” he frowned in concentration. “I have not lied to her, no.”
“Do you think she’s been honest?”
“I don’t know. I can’t tell the tone of voice she’s using.” He drank deeply.
I continued questioning. “Gut feeling?”
“Yes. But you never know. She could be being held captive by a dirty old man and being forced to take photos so it’s the same girl, trying to lure me over there.”
“Lure you over?”
“Yeah. She’s bait.” He said with a straight face.
I rolled my eyes. Abandon that before he describes some kinky Saturday night. “What was the original plan?”
“I’m not going over just for her. I want to backpack around Europe; the last time I was there I didn’t get to do everything I wanted, I was on a tour. This time I want to see everything… My plan was to go over there and meet Lola, stay a few days, and if things were good we’d make plans together. And if they were shit, I’d backpack around Europe.”
“Did you work out how much it was going to cost you?”
He chuckled. “I was in the process of that when I crashed my car.”
“That would’ve screwed things up.” I joined in with a chuckle of my own.
“My medical bills were all paid for, I have health insurance. But my car wasn’t insured.”
“Why won’t she come over?” This was puzzling.
“Financially, she’s alright to come over, but she’s got horses.”
“Horses? Where does she live then?”
“She lives in London, and has a stable.” He clarified.
“How wealthy is this girl?” If money wasn’t an issue for her, why the hell wasn’t she hauling her ass to Australia to see this guy, instead of waiting for him to make his way over on whatever he had saved up?
“I don’t know.”
“You have a lady, like a real lady.” I gave this true Aussie bloke a nudge in the ribs.
“The story is she got a job at a stable, as a stable hand. When the owner died, she had no-one… and Lola inherited the stable… She wants to come over and meet me, but she has a feeling that things will go well and she won’t want to go back.”
“If things do work out; will she come to Australia, even though she has the horses, or will you move to England?”
“Lola wants to bring the horses out here.” He gulped more alcohol.
“Well, your brother does have property. So there is the option.”
“Yes, I do know a lot of people with property.” He sighed heavily. “Bloody horses.”
“Okay, if things do go well and you get married and have kids, what happens if you get divorced and you move back to Australia? What are you going to do about visitation rights? Or is that too far in the future?”
He was caught off guard. “We’ve talked about marriage and kids, but never about divorce. She sent me a picture of her (left) hand and said something was missing, and she was surprised when I said it was a wedding ring.”
Oh yuck. Cute couple stuff. “How many kids?” Continue anyway, with the fantasy.
“I want three minimum, five max. Lola says she’s happy to see what happens but I think she’s the type to say that one kid is a handful and stop.”
“Okay, you go over… you do realise you need a visa to work in England?”
“I’ve looked into it.” He simply replies.
“Do you know what sort of job you want to do? You are a fully qualified baker.”
“Well, I want to get out of baking. I could always work for Lola in the stables, cleaning out the stables. Maybe that could be an in-between job. If not, I’ll work in a bakery. If I had to. Absolutely had to.” He didn’t look happy with that idea.
“Are you going to take a mate or travel solo?”
“A mate was going to come, at first. But then he pulled out, he has like five maxed out credit cards and he thought it was a bad idea to get a sixth card to travel around Europe. I wanted a mate to go over with for protection if she turns out to be a really old man. But more than likely, I will travel solo.”
“Are you prepared to try pickled eels? And all kinds of other English foods?”
He glared. “No. I hate eels.” He continued to glare.
But you get to eat it. Sort of like you’re dominating it.
“No.” Still, he glared.
“Okay,” time to change the topic. “Do you know who the English Prime Minister is?”
Hugh frowned and didn’t answer for a while. “William Churchill.”
Snort. “Wrong century,” and that was Winsten Churchill. I laughed.
“Wrong century?” He looked surprised.
“He was Prime Minister during the war, World War Two.” Trying so hard not to fall off chair laughing.
“David Cameron.” I gave in and told him the answer.
“David Cameron.” I stopped laughing.
“Lola wouldn’t know who our Prime Minister is. She’d probably google it.” He pouted.
“You had the option. Your phone is right there.”
“You asked if I knew, google would be cheating.” Still, he pouted.
“If you get the chance to meet the Queen, what would you do? How would you act?”
“I want to say, polite and mature.” Seriously, he answered.
“But?” I knew better than to think he would be polite.
“I feel like I would act like a full Aussie bogan.” He chugged more alcohol.
“We Australians salute you.” I raised my can.
He moved his to cheers mine “I would be obliged to just do that.”
We laugh like the idiots we are.
“Will there be a language barrier?” I ask.
“Yes. Oh yes. It already has happened.”
“How bad is she with her English accent?”
“It’s not really the accents, it’s the slang. I didn’t even know that other countries couldn’t understand us.” He shook his head in disbelief.
“You mean our slang?”
“Lola didn’t know what ‘dead set’ means. And do you think I could explain that?”
In my head, I struggled to come up with a meaning. “No-one can explain that. ‘Dead set’ means ‘dead set’.”
“She asked, do you mean ‘serious’? And it’s like yes. But there have been a few issues with language, accent wise no.”
“Can you do an English accent and blend in?”
“Hello Governor,” it was a terrible accent.
“You’re doomed.” I cringed.
“I need another drink. Do you want another?” He got up to grab another can.
“No thanks, I have to drive.” I continued questioning him. “What is the best case scenario?”
“She comes to live out here. Though, best case scenario in London, we’d live on a property because both of us want that and we both want dogs and she has her horses and she wants a cat.” The fridge jingled as he closed it.
“What’s the worst case scenario? The absolute nightmare.”
Drink in hand, he moved back to the seat. “That she’s a fifty-year-old man,” he laughed, but it seemed to be a nightmare that worried him since he mentioned it a lot. “And the worst thing is he actually captures me and locks me in his house and I couldn’t get away. If I can get away it would be fine, I haven’t spent any money on her, and I would be over there anyway so I’d go backpacking.”
“She doesn’t want to come here during summer?”
“That’s because she has never experienced something like that.”
“And if you don’t want to stay in England because of their winter; how about you meet half way in China?” I suggested.
“No. Not China. China has smog. We could meet half way in a country that suits, maybe not exactly half way. We could meet in Victoria where the temperature is cooler.” He nodded his head.
That wasn’t logical. “But she has to travel further.”
Now, for the question I’d been worried about asking. “You don’t have to answer this one, but if your mum was still around what advice would she give you?”
“What advice would she have? I was only thirteen when mum died and I don’t know much about mum’s idea of boyfriend and girlfriends.”
“But you have older siblings.”
“I didn’t care about them. I was playing with my Tonka trucks and riding my bikes.”
“You were playing with Tonka at Thirteen?” I teased.
“No,” he snapped in embarrassment. “I was riding my bike at thirteen. Bike, I said bike. Anyway… um… I think she would be okay with it, um, I guess she would just want me to be happy. If the kids were happy, she was happy. Dad has a completely different idea… Mum was the kids are happy, dad is more the girl has to be a good Catholic, and this and that…”
“He has a list.”
Again, we laugh.
“Final question. Why do any of this?”
“Why?” He sat back.
“Why do it when you’ve never met her before?”
“This is the hardest question.” He frowned.
“That’s why it’s last.”
“It’s a really hard situation to explain.” Hugh flapped his hands.
“Explain through interpretative dance.”
Finally, he explained. “I believe in fate. Things happen for a reason. I sent that message out to the world and that could’ve gone to anyone. And she (Lola) replied.”
He fucking brought up fate.