I still can’t believe it’s happening. I can’t remember the last time I left Essex, let alone the country. Tomorrow I’ll be leaving the flipping hemisphere.

A few weeks ago I was still investigating mortgages and planning for our future. Even post-dumping, the idea of going backpacking on the other side of the world was as alien to me as car mechanics or cunnilingus. At least it was until Bev and Rachel had turned up. At first I’d thought they’d come to see how I was doing, but instead they were dropping a bombshell of their own. My bestest girlfriend, my drinking buddy, my shoulder, my rock and my confidant was telling me she was off to travel around Oz for a year. With Rachel. It felt like I’d been dumped for a second time that week.

“Oh, don’t cry babes!” Bev had said, smothering me with what she referred to as her chesticles. “You’ll be fine! You’ve just gotta get back out there. Live a little!”

“But we’re ‘Bev and Kev’! We’re a team!” I whimpered. “I need you now more than ever!”

“Oi! Snap aaht of it!”

Rachel’s ‘Essex’ accent made me wince as she put her phone down and joined the conversation. She was always a tad louder than she needed to be, and that voice needed no help to cross a room. Funny… she didn’t even talk like that until she watched TOWIE.

“You’re gonna be better off without him, so don’t just sit there with a cob on. Why don’t ya do what we’re doing? Get aways for a bit too? Go to Oz or summit like us?”

Was that Rachel asking me to join them? I was stunned. We all sat in silence for a minute. Rachel went back on her phone.

No. I couldn’t… could I?

“Okay then,” I replied, talking a deep breath. “I will!”

They’d looked gobsmacked. No wonder really, I’d surprised even myself.

Better email a few people and tell them I’m off in the morning, I suppose.

4.30am – so technically Monday

Can’t sleep. Who knows when I’ll be lying in this bed next? It’s making me feel quite nostalgic. After all it has seen a lot of action – late night snacks and movie marathons mostly. For a Gay, I’m practically virginal.

My initial bed-based shenanigans may have been with the moist bikini-areas of lady-folk, but I’d never enjoyed them. They never felt natural, more endured, something to get through as quick as possible and with the minimum amount of gagging. Deep down I knew which side my bread was buttered. It wasn’t until I turned twenty that I finally accepted that I was, in Rachel’s terminology, ‘a bone smuggler’. By that point, I’d wasted several years of my life, put myself through some pretty significant mental anguish, and – through some kind of psychological-association – had developed a seafood allergy.

My existence developed glorious new meaning when I’d finally relented and discovered… well… cock, to put it bluntly. I’d given myself a thorough online education, then dived in with New York Nick, a one night stand that lasted four energetic months. A few brief encounters followed (well, technically they were more boxer-brief) and then Phil had walked into the bar. And we know how that ended up. We’d only chatted for an hour or so before he’d given me his number, so he must’ve seen something he liked back then.

He’d been a bit of a sex-pest at first, but I have to say there was something quite thrilling about being sent a dick pic whilst you’re sat watching the X Factor with your Gran. I got caught up in the whirlwind of it all and we were ‘official’ by the time we met up again a week later. Worst. Mistake. Ever. I think he lost interest almost immediately, and the most excitement I’ve had since is by secretly selling his stuff on eBay.

I’ve wasted nearly two years to him, but what makes me most upset is breaking a promise to Gran. Not long before she died, she’d asked one thing of me.

“Don’t waste a single day of your life, you hear?” she’d said from her armchair, her favourite butterfly-covered blanket tucked tightly around her knees. “Life is like a toilet roll, you see?”

I hadn’t.

“The closer you get to the end, the quicker it runs out!”

She’d giggled quietly to herself despite her issues.

“Will you promise me something, dear? Experience something new every day. That way, when you get to my age you’ll have lots of lovely memories to look back on and you can enjoy them all again and again.”

I feel horrible because I broke that promise. So tonight I am making a new one.

Gran, I will experience something new every single day I’m away. I promise.

And I mean it. A day without seeing something I’ve never seen before or doing something I’ve never done will be a day wasted, and I won’t have it. Because I promised my Gran.

Right. Just a few hours to I go… Suppose I better TRY and get some kip.


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