In December, my mum and I went into Reading shopping. She was kind enough to come with me to a book signing by Tom Fletcher and Dougie Poynter – two members of McFly (now McBusted). I loved McFly when I was 16-19. And though the obsession faded as time went on, I still have quite the soft spot for them. Mum and I were going to go to Reading Christmas shopping anyway, so when I saw on twitter that Tom and Dougie would be signing copies of their book series “The Pooping Dinosaur” I thought why the hell not?
After waiting in the queue for nearly two hours, I was next in line. 10 years of excitement was bubbling up inside me. A member of staff handed my book over to Dougie.
“Who is Anna?” he asked looking up at me, having read my name on the post-it stuck inside. I gave a wave and sheepish grin.
“Thanks for coming, you alright?” He smiled at me. Even though I was no longer that teen fan-girl, the guy whose face had looked over me for many years from posters on my wall was smiling at me. And while those posters had been taken down years ago, that smile took me back to my 16 year-old self.
“Yeah, thanks. You?” I replied. Well done Anna, nice and casual.
“Tired, busy day?” I asked. Ok, so that one wasn’t quite as casual. Dougie thought about it for a second.
“Yeah I guess.” The person in front of me finished so I walked forward.
“I have Christmas cards for you.” I said handing them over. They each took their own and placed them in a pile of already received gifts. Though everything seemed to slow down for a while and I managed to savour every drawn out second, it fades in my mind now. Did I ask for a photo? Or did my mum? Or was it just assumed. At any rate, I stepped over to stand besides Dougie and smiled my awkward full-smile; the one which makes it look like I have no eyes. Prior to this moment I had told myself to pull a silly face (one of those ones you do in selfies to make you look less self-obsessed) or to just half smile. This was forgotten as Tom leaned in to the photo and we waited for mum to take the shot.
“It’s processing!” said Dougie as mum continued to hold the phone up. Mum and I both laughed as she lowered the phone.
“I don’t want to mess it up!” she said.
“Yeah, we bumped into Harry in Westfields, what was it, last year?” I turned to asked to mum, “and she took a really bad photo.”
“Ah that’s just Harry.” said Dougie.
“Yeah, it was a bad photo because Harry was in it.” Tom joined in.
“With his nose.” finished Dougie.
“Could I have a hug?” I heard myself asking suddenly. Why did you do that; you don’t even like hugging people!
“Sure!” Dougie said opening his arms. I am sure that I had used my allotted time already but I didn’t seem to find myself caring too much. I put my arms around him and all I could really think is how skinny he was. I pulled away.
“No, go back I need to take a photo!” Mum cut in. I am pretty sure my face was burning, but Dougie went back in for a hug and we paused for a while waiting for it to take.
“Ah sorry,” I said, “but mothers are supposed to be embarrassing!” If he responded to this I didn’t catch it. However, it could have fallen out of my mind due to what happened next: as I walked around the table, something truly embarrassing came out of my mouth.
“You smell really great by the way.” WHAT? WHAT? WHAT? “Sorry that’s weird! I’m sorry!” I looked away from him so I didn’t have to see his reaction. And you were doing so well! I hurried around the security guard to Tom’s side.
“Could I get a hug?” I ask him (Tom that is, not the security guard). Tom enveloped me into a hug and again, I am surprised at how skinny he is; I can feel his spine through his shirt. I am dimly aware of mum taking a photo.
“We gotta just hug it out. Continue the hug into awkwardness.” he said when I went to pull away, holding me in the hug.
“I’m done!” said mum.
“No she isn’t, just keep going.” He continued. If I thought my face was red before, it was now four shades redder. We finally broke away. Did I thank him? I can’t remember. But I hope I did.
“Can I get a hug too?” asks mum. I think I was too wrapped up in my own joy to care if this embarrassing or not. On hindsight; probably.
“Sure!” Tom stood a little to hug my tiny mother and she made some sort of comment about it being her turn, or how she has met them before or something. I grabbed my bag from where I left it opposite the table and we left the shop, a smile on my face and a spring in my step.