Using my passport as ID on my eighteenth birthday was possibly the worst thing that had ever happened to me, until I woke up.
The scent of chlorine was what woke me, as my best friends girlfriend lay naked beside me at the poolside. My bare chest gripped by her tanned arms. The sun was beginning to rise, blinding me as I glanced over the side of the balcony. It was a beautiful view out onto the beach, up until I looked around at the pool.
My skinny jeans and white short-sleeved top floated in the middle, my converse soaked in a puddle on the side. My stomach growled with excitement as I leant over to Jenifer lying at my side. Her freckled face looked peaceful against the stone tiles.
A distant call echoed from across the poolside, a ringtone I was deemed ‘uncool’ for having. I quickly gathered to my feet, waking the confused sleeping beauty as I raced towards the soundtrack to my torment. My phone relentlessly alerting me of a chunk of messages sent through the night. I began making my way back over to Jenifer, who rose from the ground, covering herself up from a towel on one of many sunbeds that followed the curvature of the pool. She looked around at the scene that surrounded us both before concentrating on me. A smile of amusement filled her face as she pointed out one sock was pulled up to my knee, while the other lay rest at the bottom of the pool with her red underwear.
After retrieving our clothes from the water, the two of us settled down on a stable looking sunbed to read an array of messages on my phone, which had miraculously managed to escape my jeans before going a soaking. Some of the sunbeds closest to where we woke had been badly damaged, with legs strewn into the water. It was a wonder what had happened in the twelve hours upon leaving a club back home in Birmingham. If that wasn’t worrying enough as it was, we still had no idea where we were in the world. Just the two of us stranded together with a message from Lee asking if I was alive. Lee is one of my closest friends, who claimed to have woken up on a grotty bench at a foreign train station with Jenifer’s boyfriend, Mark.
By this point, Jenifer had claimed back her handbag from a tree near to the balcony. Her phone was hidden away in a compartment between her mascara and eyeliner, the only tools needed to make herself feel more beautiful. She jokingly asked me if I fancied anything on me and I smirked, as the response I was humouring myself with was probably what happened during the night.
It was almost six o’clock and the sun was still climbing across the horizon in the distance of the sea in front of us. Another five minutes past us before the sound of church bells, followed by the chugging of a train over the hillside on the bay. My phone irritated me with another shout out; this time Mark had explained how there was a train due at the station in a matter of minutes. I quickly took hold of Jenifer and tugged her in an attempt to follow the guidance to Mark and Lee. Together we ran, through the winding pebble-stone streets before the chugging continued out of range. Jenifer was quick to protest that we were lost, but a tourist friendly sign above our heads pointed in the right direction.
Through the winding streets we paced, with more and more encouraging signs that we were closing our destination. The streets got busier, as daily commuters left their homes in suits, clutching their briefcases by their sides as they headed for their commute to the city. Everybody was heading towards the one place, typically the place that we needed to be.
After what felt like eternity we rushed past a corner shop and stood face-to-face with Mark and Lee. My hand quickly fall to my side, after having held Jenifer by my side since waking up earlier that morning. Lee looked me over, making his own interpretation of the night while Mark clutched his girlfriend close after what sounded like a horrific night by his account. He seemed to remember the most out of the four of us, but it wasn’t exactly enough to explain how we woke up where we did. In fact, Jenifer and I still didn’t know where we were in the world, before Mark was quick to point out the large French flag, fluttering in the wind on top of the grand entrance to a very busy train station.
Lee had also been rummaging through his pockets, only to discover a fiver and boarding pass for the Dover to Calais ferry sometime last night. Lee knew more about the situation than anyone did, which I found rather surprising considering he began drinking earlier than the rest of us. He knew that we were only a mile or two away from the dock, still confused as to how we split up he led the group down to the port. I walked ahead with him, while Mark and Jenifer straggled behind. He was destined to know how the group split up in such a way that let his girlfriend spend the night with me, yet so curious he failed to spot the real cause for alarm.