Calum McSwiggan

Viva Forever

In Eat, Gay, Love on April 25, 2013 at 8:38 pm

Gay Barcelona

‘Viva Forever, I’ll be waiting, everlasting, like the sun.’

– Spice Girls

A booming voice sounded over the loudspeaker as I began stripping out of my work clothes and scrubbing the oil and dirt off my body in the airport bathroom. I had left work early to make sure I arrived on time, but after breaking down in the mud, I had done everything but.

The last call for Barcelona sounded again as I threw on freshly creased clothes and tried to fix my dishevelled hair. It was only as I ran for the departure gate with an overnight bag slung over one shoulder that it dawned on me- this is now how I get ready for a night out.

Long gone are the student days where my friends would come around to pre-drink as we complimented each other’s outfits and fixed each other’s hair before lazily sauntering out of the front door and into the nightclub across the street. To see my friends now, I have to get on a plane.

The sun had long since set when the plane touched down at midnight and I greeted one of my oldest friends. We’d agreed to meet in Barcelona and hadn’t worried about making plans in advance, forgetting to book a hotel, and not bothering to figure out in which direction we were going. It didn’t feel like we were meeting up in one of the clubbing capitals of the world, it was all so familiar, as if we’d jumped into a taxi for a night out in our home town.

It wasn’t until he pointed it out that it struck me that we hadn’t seen one another for almost two years. The last time we got drunk together very well may have been when we were eighteen years old and stumbling down some private golf course, howling The Spice Girls’ greatest hits after escaping our senior prom.

Life has started to move ridiculously fast, so fast that six months seems to disappear between sips of coffee, and the dream of the future begins to fade into the memory of the past. I saw my sixteen year old friend turn into a confident young twenty-something as he confronted a pick pocketer who tried to swipe his phone; we relived old house parties as we unashamedly taught the locals to slut drop in some underground basement club; and then as we counted back the years of what seemed like a new friendship we both said at once, Fuck, that was seven years ago.

It wasn’t memories of my last trip to Barcelona that danced through my mind as we wound through the once vibrant streets and the now deserted markets, it was memories of the last seven years. It takes seeing an old friend to truly realise how much has changed- the friend who was late for music class everyday because he was making another tea; the friend who brought a house warming gift when I moved in with my ex; the friend who told me he wasn’t worth it anyway when it all fell apart; the friend who text me from Scotland to tell me that he was going to live in China; the friend who was now lay out in the sun beside as me as we nursed our hangovers and rubber necked at all the gorgeous topless men.

The streets were alive with fire eating and sword fighting but I was almost far too busy laughing to even notice. We shared stories of our shared and separate pasts, making fun of our old teachers as we gorged ourselves on food and wine, and sharing stories of recent romances as we watched gay couples holding hands against the backdrop of roaring waves and sun-kissed sands.

He gasped as I told him about the student I had a crush on in Germany, about the Vietnamese child who found my dildo, and about the boy who gave me the lovebite that still lingered on my neck, and then I howled with laughter, throwing my head back to the blazing sun, as he told me stories that were equally as scandalous.

I do miss my old lifestyle, I do miss partying every single night, and I do miss having all of my friends at my fingertips, but still I wouldn’t change it for what I have now. Sustaining and pursuing friendships and romance is so much harder but in exchange I know that every day brings new adventure.

It’s never hard to say goodbye to any of my friends scattered around the globe because I always know that it isn’t the last time we’ll meet. I don’t know where either of us will be when we see each other again, but I do know that there will be wine. Hasta manana my friend, I’ll see you again soon.

  1. Incredible. God I love your writing.

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