Hull Love Stories
Anya and Louise (2009)
Anya had no idea quite how the date had gone, while Louise thought it had gone surprisingly well despite the language barrier.
Overall, spending a Friday night in the pub had been fun for Anya. Though in Poland, people didn’t tend to go for chips at the end of the night, but Louise was insistent.
“We already had a meal!” Slurred Anya, beginning to feel those doubles as she walked down Whitefriargate, before being blinded by the white lights of the chip shop counter. Louise struggled to get her order out, and the pair ended up giggling like madwomen in the corner. “Shut up!” Insisted Louise, poking Anya in the ribs as she imitated her - “Two cones of plips, cheese!”
Outside, the pair found a vacant bench and Louise excitedly waited for Anya to try her delicacy. A cone of chips with chip spice sprinkled on, topped with scraps. “Go on!” Coaxed Louise, eyes excitedly and drunkenly wide, as Anya lifted a piping-hot chip to her mouth, nibbling it at first before shoving the whole thing in. Anya thought it was ok. She’d much rather be eating dumplings, but the company was far superior.
“So you never dated women in Poland?” Asked Louise, losing her politeness with vodka’s influence. “No never, my family were strict Catholics, which was why I hid my sexuality for a long time. I don’t have to do that here,” replied Anya.
“That’s so sad,” replied Louise, then grinned and added: “I won’t tell you how many girls I’ve dated.” Anya feigned shock and accidentally sent a chip flying over her shoulder while scraps littered her lap, and the pair were back in fits of giggles once more.
“I think you have some chip spice on your face, let me get that for you,” Louise said, leaning in, but instead of wiping it off she gently kissed the corner of Anya’s mouth instead.
Anya was momentarily stunned. But this was the right time. She inhaled involuntarily, placing her hand clumsily on Louise’s leg, then kissed her square on the mouth.
The kiss physically felt the same as kissing a guy sure enough, but the sensation running through Anya’s body was something else entirely.
Anya let go and smiled shyly, trying to work out if Louise’s expression meant she was genuinely surprised or was just being coy.
“I know I said these were the perfect end to the night,” said Louise, eating another chip, “but that was so much better.”
Jill and Steve (1962)
Jill looked amazing in her red checked dress, red toenails peeping out from her white sandals. Steve had walked past her and her friend on the way into a pub in Brid, and they’d had a whirlwind holiday romance, characterised by candy floss and promenade walks and a few tipsy fumbles.
But Steve didn’t want it to end in East Yorkshire. June had turned to September and they were still talking on the phone a couple of times a week - him taking the train to meet her on a weekend. Hull to Leeds wasn’t that bad a journey.
The problem was the phone calls. The boxes on Newland Ave always had people in them, so he’d started trying to call her from one on Salisbury Street instead. A lot of the big houses nearby had phones of their own, so the phonebox was less in demand.
Jill was always at the phone box in Leeds at 6pm on Thursday, so Steve hurried home from work, collected his coins and rushed across The Avenues.
As he parked his bike against the railings opposite the white phonebox, a man he’d never seen before grabbed the handle of the door. “I don’t think so!” Yelled Steve indignantly. “I was here first!”
“If you were here first you’d have already been in the box then, wouldn’t you?” Retorted the man, not shying away from confrontation.
“I have to be on the phone at six or I’ll miss my slot at the box in Leeds!”
“Well you should have thought about that sooner, shouldn’t you?” Replied the cocky stranger. Steve firmly put his hand on the door of the phonebox and stopped the man from going inside.
“Right,” said the man, squaring up to Steve, fists raised like he was a drunken wrong 'un from a silent film.
Realising he didn’t actually want to come to blows, definitely not wanting to risk a black eye for Sunday (having been invited to Jill’s mum’s house for a roast) Steve had to think quickly to diffuse the situation.
“Now I don’t want this to get out of hand,” Steve said, remembering the coins in his pocket. “How about we toss a coin for it?” The furious man thought for a minute, nostrils flared. “Ok. But I get to pick first. And the coin is tossed into the street, not you catching it.” The man put down his fists.
“Ok then,” said Steve, relieved, but not showing it. “Heads!” Shouted the man, intently staring at the ground as the coin spun in the air then tinkled to a stop. It was tails. “Ah! Bad luck!” Said Steve, rushing to the phonebox and quickly dialling Jill, one foot barricading the door.
The man stood dumbfounded, looking at the telephone box, eyes boring into Steve, his hands now on his hips. Steve tactically turned his back to the man to avoid his angry stares.
It wasn’t until Steve hung up the phone fifteen minutes later that he realised - the man had cycled off on his bike.
James and Harry (2019)
James had never been on holiday with a boyfriend before. He’d not done a lot of things with a boyfriend before, because this was his first one.
He wasn’t sure just how he and Harry had ended up together. Though the saying goes ‘opposites attract’ James had never fallen for anyone like Harry before. Even his unrequited crushes and short term flings had been pretty sensible.
Harry was a livewire. He could be self-involved and thoughtless, but he was loyal to a fault, insanely generous, and never mean to anyone who didn’t deserve it. Whereas James would avoid confrontation at all costs. He was the snuggliest, beardiest, bear around.
Deciding where to go on holiday was easy. Harry wanted to go to Tenerife, so Tenerife it was. But it was February and freezing in Hull, and barely anywhere in town had holiday clothes. Harry was packed three weeks before, luggage weighed and mini-toiletries sorted, but James had always been a get-your-Euros-from-the-airport kind of guy. And they were late for their train to Manchester Airport.
James was furious in the back of the taxi. “Why do they do all the roadworks all at once?! How can they close Spring Bank and the A63 and Anlaby Road I swear to actual God if we miss this train I will kick off.” Harry thought it best to stay quiet. James was on the warpath and would find something to blame him for. To be fair, he had only bought his holiday clothes from Matalan the night before, and hadn’t taken any time off work to prepare.
“I can’t cope. We only have 10 minutes. Goole maps says it’s going to take us 12 minutes to get there. What are we going to do?” Oh no, a question, thought James. I’m going to have to speak.
“Look, it will be ok. We’ll get the next train. We’ll still make our flight.”
“That’s not the point though is it? We’ll miss our seat reservations, have to sit in the vestibule on our cases. Nowhere to balance the Prosecco I’ve brought.” Harry sat anxiously looking out the window while James was silently worried.
Traffic finally started moving and the pair got to the station just as their train was set to depart. Barging straight through a flock of pigeons pecking the remnants of a Gregg’s sausage roll, the pair ran into the interchange.
This was another way James and Harry couldn’t be more different, James chose box sets and takeaways over the gym every time, but Harry loved spin class. Harry shouted back to James: “Runnnnn! It’s still here!” But all the adrenaline had gone to James’ legs - he hadn’t run since Year 11 PE and his case weighed a tonne.
Thankfully, the train had been delayed, and the pair found their seats and collapsed into their chairs and laughed breathlessly, amazed at their good luck.
“I’m sorry for stressing,” admitted Harry, visibly embarrassed. “It’s ok, I love you,” James replied.
He hadn’t meant to say it. It was the elephant in the room. James panicked.
What if Harry didn’t love him back, what if this ruined their holiday, and not his Matalan T-shirt collection. Harry stopped and bit his lip. Finally he opened his mouth. “I love you too!" He blurted out. "Let’s open the Prosecco now!”