What am I doing for Valentine's?
It's always a question I ask myself around this time of year, usually influenced by my relationship status and exactly how sarcastic I feel at the time. I've ranged from walking into town and talking to psychic ladies to waxing lyrical about the beauty of love to dating myself for the sake of food. And covering Justin Bieber.
But, as time goes past at whatever rate it chooses to do so, it becomes more and more difficult to think of things to do. Yes, I reasoned to myself, I have money - not a lot, but enough to do something special - and (as opposed to just buying my girlfriend a book; she has far too many, we're selling some) that could really be anything. I thought and though and thought...
...until one of my clients at work asked me if I was okay.
I said something about unicorns, I think.
I did my research. Two tickets to next week's James gig? No, that's almost £100 - I don't have that much. Weekend away to Center Parcs? Not a chance. Dinner and a movie? Well, that's already on the cards - Deadpool followed by Chimichanga. There needed to be something else.
So what, I asked myself, do I do for Valentine's? What does she want... what do I want to do for her? If I could do anything for her, for just one night at least, what would it be?
And then a random memory floated back to me. Not one week ago, we had a conversation about moving. Our flat is tiny; we are sharing a kitchen with 10 other people. It's cold, there are ants, we are getting no sleep, and the radiator leaks.
When we first moved into a room in a share house, our window looked out onto the street. The long A-road that leads into London was visible in the distance, and I found the twinkling lights and occasional sound of sirens comforting. And, as it was being constructed, I couldn't help but notice the new Travelodge taking shape, the sign being switched on while I was watching - a beacon of light in the dull suburban darkness.
Tonight we are staying in that hotel.