When I saw that this week’s Discover Challenge was Designed For You, one memory in particular immediately came to mind.
Two years ago – October 2014 – and my husband and I were in Brussels, all set to attend a Kaiser Chief’s concert at the Cirque Royale. The tickets were a birthday gift from my husband. He bought them after I dropped a major hint along the lines of “Kaiser Chiefs are performing in Brussels in October. I’ve sent you the link!” I seem to remember him rolling his eyes, primarily because, well, they’re not his thing…and also because he knows I have a major crush on the lead singer, Ricky Wilson. Nevertheless, he said nothing until a short while later, when he came into the living room and announced, “Ricky Wilson awaits you in Brussels in October, my dear.” I was so excited!
The day of the concert dawned, and my husband suggested that we could perhaps get into Brussels early and go for a meal first. We both agreed that this would be a great idea, although we did so with a little trepidation. You see, whenever we go out to celebrate a special occasion, it is highly likely, given past experiences, that something will go wrong. And when I say wrong, I mean wrong! Allow me to elucidate.
There was my 30th birthday when we had booked a table at a local restaurant. I found out later that my husband had booked, as a surprise for me, a secluded, romantic table, with a bottle of champagne on ice to be waiting for us. When we arrived, we were seated at a table right in the middle of the packed restaurant. There was no champagne waiting, it took an hour for our starter to be served and when it was, it was still raw in the middle. A complaint to the manager was met not with an apology, but with an attitude worse than that of his staff. We refused to pay and dinner ended up being a burger on the way home (which was delicious!)
Then there was our wedding anniversary, when the hotel where we were due to have dinner and stay overnight, had conveniently forgotten to inform us that there was a kids birthday party followed by a stag party!
So, I’m sure you understand that when I say that we both agreed it would be a good idea to go for dinner before the concert, neither of us was expecting much. Indeed, we were rather prepared for the worst.
However, it ended up being the best night!
The drive to Brussels was quiet and easy. There was hardly any traffic, which is highly unusual. (For my readers in the UK, think M25. For those in the US, imagine a three-lane version of the 405 in LA!) We arrived and found somewhere to park straight away, and then we thought we’d have a stroll and find somewhere to eat. Where we found was a delightfully small Italian restaurant right across the street from the concert venue. The service was impeccable, the food entirely too delicious, and the wine was as though it had been blended with my palate in mind.
After dinner, we wandered over to the concert venue and took our places in the queue. We had about a half hour wait before the doors opened, and when they did, security called our part of the queue through another set of doors, which resulted in us getting a standing place one row back from the stage. Brilliant!
The concert began, and the Kaiser Chiefs took to the stage with all the energy and enthusiasm I had been hoping for. It was loud; it was raucous; it was fantastic! The third song they played was “Everything Is Average Nowadays” and I was jumping around with the best of them. And then it happened. Midway through the song, Ricky Wilson stepped across from the stage and onto the security barrier. A couple of people grabbed his legs to stop him falling; the security grabbed the back of his belt for the same purpose. And me? I put my hand up, intending to touch his leg perhaps, but instead, he grabbed my hand! Honestly, I may have been celebrating my 38th birthday, but in that moment I felt ridiculously, excitedly, head-swimmingly 17 again! I squeezed his hand a little…and he squeezed back! By this point I’m sure it was only the crush of the crowd holding me up.
I was on a high for the rest of the concert, jumping and dancing and singing until I lost my voice (I broke a heel too!) I smiled all the way home. My husband was smiling too, knowing that the night could not have been better, even if I had designed it myself.