Friday, 12 December 2014

It Was Not a Good Place

It was not a good place. The favouritism afforded to me by the bouncers as they allowed me to skip the rain-drenched queue was not even flattering. It merely emphasised the sad fact that I had spent too many evenings at this sorry establishment and was now considered a regular. Still, not armed with the services of my trusty umbrella, I was relieved not to have to stand in the rain; especially having already been caught out by the weather on my walk into town. The forecast promised a dry spell but had clearly been fraudulent. On account of this, my mood had already deteriorated from the point at which I left my home where the prospect of a night out had for some reason caught my imagination. I lamented myself for being so easily seduced by such futile pastimes but as the doors to the damned place swung shut behind me it was too late. A lone friend of mine at the bar who was clearly judging my disregard for punctuality had detected my arrival and was beckoning me. This instantaneously crushed any chance of escape that I might have had.

I joined him and suggested inhabiting a table in the corner that was the appropriate distance from a cohort of fools spilling their alco-pops all over the place. I mocked the fiends silently in my head for drinking such childish beverages and wished them the worst in life. To put a downer on the evening was not my intention but the environment I found myself occupying was not conducive to ecstasy. It had no charm and made me want to go home, eat crumpets in bed and fall asleep watching familiar American sitcoms. This mind-set was poorly hidden by my face, however, which I’ve heard fails to mask my emotions and frequently resembles a sad puppy. Nevertheless, I sat at a table making every effort to maintain an image of mystery and coolness. It was not difficult given my surroundings. In fact, the only thing that made the moment bearable was the knowledge that I looked so good.

Alcohol, on the other hand, was not particularly useful in escaping the miserable truth that this was where life up to this point had left me. I couldn’t even tell if it helped alleviate reality a little or rather just stressed the harshness of it. I sat and observed two strangers groping on the dance floor. Elsewhere it might have turned a head or two but here it simply complimented the décor. A girl being taken for a ride by her stilettos collapsed to the floor in a heap and the same group of alco-pop-infused fools celebrated her demise with raucous cheers. I should have rushed to help her to her feet but in this environment she would have merely suspected that I was trying to pull. She would have been mistaken. There is something uniquely unappealing about a woman who lets her stilettos get the better of her. I still felt guilty for witnessing it though and attempted to find refuge at the bar, my subconscious suggesting that I could dispel all that I had observed from my memory if only I drank enough.

I agitatedly leaned forward, eyeballed and postured in desperate attempts to win the attention of bar staff, but they clearly had their preferences for who they thought had earned the right to be served next and I was not one of them. Their delegations were misguided and clearly nepotistic. Too many of them were on first name terms with haughty customers and casually discussed their dreary affairs while I was made to wait. I couldn’t help but wonder if the vodka they claimed to be mixing the lemonade with was watered down and I had been falling victim to a parsimonious middle manager and the placebo effect all evening. That said; the milieu alone could have induced drunkenness so it made little difference. If anything, it instilled in me the promise that my hangover might not be quite as heartless come the morning.
Such contemplations were futile though and the desire to get my hands on a drink drifted into irrelevancy as you brushed my side. You were probably attempting to commandeer my place in the queue but the unique nature of your beauty made it impossible to hold such a deed against you. Frankly, I was glad just to be stood in such close proximity to you and shan’t deny that I took a moment simply to revel in that very fact. I had spent the whole evening up to this point attempting to maintain a façade of mystery but it was quite clear now that the real mystery was you. I wondered why you had decided to grace this rather dismal place with your pretty face and made subtle attempts to catch glimpses of your reflection in nearby shiny surfaces. A cocktail shaker, the fridge doors and a conveniently placed mirror all aided my intrigue. Despite this ploy, I’m sure you were fully aware of my enquiring eyes but averting my attention was never a realistic option. Now conscious of your existence, it would only have found disappointment elsewhere and been compelled to come rushing back to you anyway. The trance-like state you had reduced me to was dangerous though and as if to pay the price for forgetting my surroundings my balance was besieged by a hideously out of shape middle-aged man’s drunken stumble. I had noticed him lurking by the gambling machine earlier in the evening sipping what was either a Woo Woo or a Hinky Dink and remembered feeling sorry for him. As he fell into me though, any sympathies I had earlier entertained quickly abandoned me. He had caused quite the fiasco and by the time I managed to recompose myself and look over to the spot you had occupied seconds earlier, you were gone. I was subjected to a moment of panic – tormented by the idea that you might be gone forever – but fortunately I managed to spot you returning to a table.

With no immediate plan in mind that could realistically help me win your affections, I re-joined my friend who, hunched over his drink in the corner, was doing nothing to hide the fact he was now bored. I took a seat opposite him but had to hide my dismay when he suggested moving on to a different club. I found the suggestion to be a tad impulsive and quickly refuted his proposal. ‘It’s not too bad in here actually’, I asserted. I didn’t quite catch or care for his response for I was much too busy looking over his shoulder hoping to catch another glimpse of you.

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