I regretted my decision of ‘blasting my night out’ plan, as soon as i stepped in the pub. Ever seen a disco ball hanging down the ceiling of a library? I looked that disoriented to time and place in here. Over hyped and over dressed; for a small country club filled with men, majority of them on their sweat shirts and trekking shoes. Without any doubts, with my open back, V neck plunging down to my almost non existent cleavage on front and see through net just covering my bellybutton, i looked like a hooker to them.
‘So much effort for nothing! What happened to all the party and all the hot people they had in here last time??’ I frown, devastated at my crumbled expectations.
Thank God for the bartender though, who looked cute and kind enough to spare me a smile, i calm myself down. ‘No problem. There is my company..’ I tell myself, refusing to go back to that sickening feeling of standing next to Will, marching my steps towards the last ray of hope glimmering dimly next to shelves full of bottles. ‘Why is it that, all the good things in the world come with a big price tag? Like all roses come with prickly thorns? Will came with his Fiancee, Brandon came with Mia and now, the bar tender is standing with alcohol!! Not just one but with hundreds on display. Lord help my liver..’ I pray, pulling out a chair before settling down in front of him.
‘What would you like?’ He asks me cheerfully.
‘Anything you would recommend.‘ I reply looking at him with a flirtatious grin.
Bingo! He grins too. As frisky as i was looking and feeling, i was happy he did. After all, my devotion for next few hours was entirely going to be on him. Solely and full heartedly. “Tonight i was a free spirit, bound to no one’s beck and call. Oh wait! i never was and i never will!” I remind myself, feeling proud at my decision of leaving Will anytime soon, without a penny worth of feeling harbouring in me.
The bar tender pours me a glass of Gin, ‘a cocktail’ of Gin and lemon drink. I don’t question him any further than the recipe, complimenting on the taste, afraid of appearing too naive. But he didn’t seem to care about it either and was more interested in adding to the conversation plate than digging in the details, for which i was more than grateful to him.
“Gin tastes similar to vodka i think. Although both are colourless, i found Gin has got a distinct touch of a flavour on it. I really can’t tell which but its got one, that makes it stand out between the two. So, I think i like gin more than vodka. I think..”
‘Here is one on the house for the beautiful lady’ the bartender puts forward another cocktail for me flashing his dazzling smiles on a row.
‘I don’t think that will be enough for me to heal up my broken heart Ethan..’ I whine playfully at him, making a disappointed face having heard about his girlfriend and 4 long years of committed relationship. However, casting my dis pleasure aside, i manage to pull a smile for him and raise my glass on the air wishing him all the luck i could give. ‘Cheers to you and your love life’!! I say, praying in my heart that someday.. someday i ended up with someone as cool and as loyal as him as well.
I sip my third glass very slowly. From my previous experience, i knew two glasses of vodka was enough to knock me out but ‘Gin’ i didn’t know.
The old pendulum clock on the wall strikes 12 times as i sit there holding a glass of my own on the bar. People come and go. I watch Ethan take orders, hand them their pints and print the receipts. Simultaneously I watch the customers make their orders, take their drinks and pay the bill.
More than 2 hours or so of being a bystander with nothing to do, but watch Ethan’s monotonous routine, i start to quiver, feeling like old men they cased on movie shows. Those who were depressed, hopeless and had nothing in life to look forward to, than drown themselves to death on alcohol. Those who were always in lookout for company to crack their dark non humorous jokes that no one understood.
Sitting there i start to wonder about many things.. About the lives of few people i had seen, who had drank too much and ruined everything they had. I start to question, why hadn’t they set a limit for themselves? And if they did, why they had fallen back to drinking again? ‘Could it be that they felt, alcohol helped with their problems? ” I ask my subconscious self, genuinely trying to plough for answers.
Ever listened to a drunk man speak?
Not for minutes but at least about for an hour? Here is what happens. They talk crap at first, nothing but verbal diarrhoea. But as they get in more involved with the topic, they start making more sense. They start talking like they have been enlightened. Like if they know all the answers to all the problems in the world except for their own of course.. And 3 glasses cocktail down my stomach, I was feeling the same. May be a bit different, in a sense, I knew my options clearer than they did and i knew what i had to do next. “I had to go back. Take my suitcase right away. Throw his, on the river where he could never find them. And before i leave, hit him with one of my shoes on his face!”
I take in a sip again, laughing at myself. It seemed like a good idea..
Oddly the burning sensation on my throat that comes with each sip has now passed away. My tongue has become too thick, too anaesthetised to read the flavour. My glass of cocktail no longer is bitter nor sweet, its tasteless, utterly tasteless like water.
Disgruntled, gulping all the remains, i leave the glass empty in no time, ordering in for another shot, this time, a neat vodka.
Ethan raises his eye brows. Yet, without complaining he takes in my glass. ‘Are all drunkards heartbroken Ethan?’ i ask, watching him pour vodka, after reminding me it was my last for the night. ‘He is so cute’ i flutter, feeling cared for hearing him warn me, my comment to self coming out aloud before i could stop it. ‘Ooooops’ i squeak then, flushing to cherry in seconds. He laughs too, putting back the new bottle to the shelf.
‘Open a bottle of alcohol alone and you are officially a drunkard’ My mom’s words, blows a trumpet in my ears as i take in my shot , its sharp burning taste exciting my taste buds again. ‘Of course i am not a drunkard!!‘ i defend talking out aloud, to my self- imaginative voice of hers.
Past 1 at morning and i still hang out at the bar, sitting there like an annoying mosquito, half sedated by the repellent spray, buzzing, clueless of my pitiful status.
‘Pick up your phone darling. Surely things aren’t that bad’ Ethan urges me to answer my call, hearing my cellphone phone vibrate on the bag.
‘Not so important like you..’ I reply smiling at him playfully again. At which Ethan replies with playful gesture too.
Ethan is understanding that way. He knows i’m just looking for a company to drink my night out with. Its like he can see me through more than what i am showing on surface.. So, i like him. Maybe a little too much for our first meeting. But, yes. He is amazing. And he has a comfortable aura to him, sort of like Brandon has.
‘Brandon..’ I submerge back into thinking again at a thought of that name.
‘Carem you’ve got to speak to him. Tell him anything. Lie to him. Fake it to him. Pretend. Whatever. But make him believe that you haven’t left him. He is going nuts here.‘ I recall Mia’s words, what she had said to me when she had called me the night before yesterday.
Panicked, i had then dialled Brandon’s number, but the computer had kept sending me to his voice message system. The day after in the morning, i had called him once again. And finally after 5 days, Brandon and I were reconnected. As soon as he had picked up the call, he had barged me with tens of questions on one breath, to which i had replied very calmly, assuring him that i will be back by the end of this week. I had questioned then probing gently about his whereabouts, mentioning him that he should go back and everyone were worried about him. He had convinced me that he would and also pinched in all the details of his missing days for my note without me questioning about it .
Apparently, Brandon had stayed a night at his cousins the day before. And the day after that, he had gone to a club, got so drunk with them that he had woken up on the sidewalks of the road.
‘Hey, Carem. Are you alright?’ A nudge on my shoulder shakes me back from my depressing thoughts to my depressing reality. ‘Oh No..’ i sigh. Choking in thoughts is still a better option for me, no matter who puts it in and in what way, than being strangled in reality.
‘Are you alright?’ the dark haired man, holding a cycle helmet asks me again, approaching closer coming front to front so that i can see his face.
‘Yeah..I am Matt.’ I reply, clearing my throat, trying to sound not-so-drunk. But who am i kidding? He probably already knows.. i’m a disco ball tonight. Remember?
‘5 pints of ale for each on that table please’ Matt puts in his order to Ethan, pointing at a big table on the corner of the pub. I look too, like Ethan did at the direction he pointed. ‘Hey Carem,‘ remaining of the men from Matt’s table ‘my neighbours’, all raise together their hands on air. I blush. This was the last place i wanted to meet them especially not in this state.
‘What would you like?‘ Matt asks me, after i was done waving back very shyly.
‘Enough for today for the lady’ Ethan speaks for me, winking his eye. I smile thankfully.
‘You heard him Matt. I had too much for today.’ I reply, blushing off again. ‘This was hopelessly embarrassing. They were my neighbours for god sake!’
‘Hmm if you say so Carem. But at least join us on our table..’ he insists.
‘May be i should head home now Matt. I have been here too long tonight’ i reply, trying not to sound rude.
‘But we just came. And we are neighbours’ he tries to persuade me again.
‘oh well ok..’ i agree, looking at Ethan. He nods too looking at Matt.
‘Just in case though, whats your number?’ Ethan asks taking out his cellphone from the drawer.
I almost jump with excitement like a little girl on hearing him. Do you know that feeling of making a first friend in a new school? One that is both cool and popular. Well i felt that way. ‘Here! Save your number and give a call in yours’ i reply him, handing him my phone, my anxiety clearly ringing on my voice; staring at his sleek fingers, adoringly type his name and number on my contact list.
Ethan and I were friends starting today..and i assume ‘we will be’ for a very very long time.