I really despise that song. My apologies. It fits though since I have about 27 hours to go until I am in attendance at the Jimmy Kimmel Show in LA, trying to remember to breathe when Alan Rickman walks out onto that black, shiny stage. I will also be trying not to do that horrible fangirl squeal when he starts talking. This is the story about why I am so damned nervous and why I am embarrassed whenever someone mentions the words "London" and "park bench" in the same sentence.
In the summer of 2005, I went to London with the best group of girls and toured the city along with a short stay in Stratford-upon-Avon first. We were back in London on day 4 or 5 (I'd have to consult my journal to know for sure) and our first stop of the day was the Tower of London. If you've been there, you know there are always a lot of tourists ambling around, shops lining the Thyme's, all the good touristy stuff. It was warm that day for the British. I was bundled in a jacket, scarf, and gloves and received many looks. I'm from Southern California, warm for me is 85+ Fahrenheit, not 60F.
Our teacher gave us our tickets and let us loose to browse all the splendor and tragedy that is the Tower. A friend and I went through the White Tower first. I was ahead of her and the group when I exited the castle. I saw canons lining the wall and nonchalantly went over to them and took photos.
That was when I noticed the man on the park bench.
I almost dropped my camera. He was siting in a very relaxed pose. One leg crossed over the other. His left arm was stretched along the back of the bench. He wore a black jacket, a blue, button up shirt, with jeans and black dress shoes. [I still remember like it was yesterday.] His blondish white hair shined in the sunlight. I couldn't see his eyes because he was wearing sunglasses. His face though! I knew it!
At that point, I panicked. I did not have the bravery nor courage to approach him, to just hear him talk and validate his identity. I gasped. I actually did a full blown gasp! Now I knew what people were talking about in novels. I needed someone to be there with me so I walked as quickly as I could to the exit, ignoring all the signs telling tourist not to go that way, in order to find my friend. She knew I was in crush mode with Rickman. I had to pass him again and when I tried to not make it obvious I was staring (drooling), I tripped. I almost landed on my face. Wonderful way to get some one's attention! Luckily from being in track, I was able to stay on my feet, but in a very awkward fashion. I ended up running to the exit, only looking back fleetingly to make sure he stayed put.
My face was ruby red and I could hardly spit out the words. I ended up just grabbing her by the arm and dragging her back outside.
He was gone. I frantically looked around and only met the quizzical looks of the bystanders nearby. I second-guessed myself. "Was it really him?" Why would he be there of all places? News spread of my "sighting" and at least my teachers could understand my obsessive admiration of the man. The rest of the day I kept my eyes pealed on every male who walked near me. I'll never know for sure if it was him. Probably not though. He does have a couple brothers. They may look very similar. This man, whoever he may have been, looked remarkably like Rickman. I still feel foolish for not at least speaking with him to alleviate all my doubts. So tomorrow I'm praying I don't freeze up like a deer or worst of all, suddenly wake up to find a medic asking me what's my name and how many fingers is he holding up. Someone please kill me quickly since for me, that kind of embarrassment would be a fate worse than death.
I really do not know how I am going to get through the next long, agonzing hours.