“It’s been a while since I was back on my old hunting grounds” says A, the reformed man-whore. “We’re staying up all night, right? Plus, Brexit isn’t happening so I’m fucking mad.”
“You’re not starting THAT” – this from S, Labour and Remainer through and through.
A wants to retort – I can tell – but he thinks better of it, thank fuck.
“Fine, I’m taking Nat to the bar.”
It’s Saturday crowded, ugh. Looks like we’re gonna be here a while.
“Let’s get shots, we’re gonna get him so wrecked he’ll admit Corbyn is a terrorist by the end of the night.”
We laugh and turn to look at S, he knows us too well, obviously caught the gist of it and he surreptitiously shows us the finger.
Back at the table with our drinks, in a dark corner of the pub, we resolutely avoid politics because we intend to stay friends, and alternate between other serious talk and general gossip. There are some very politically incorrect and tasteless jokes. Some reminiscing as well – it’s a typical boozy night between people who have known each other for years.
By 11 everybody is close to wasted.
“Right, clubbing!” says A like we’re on a mission, which I guess we are. He’s come down from London and will stay on a mate’s sofa – no way is he doing that just for a quiet evening.
It’s a short walk to the club, the streets are heaving though, the English are tough and walk around half naked even in the middle of winter. Some girls look like they couldn’t be bothered to get dressed and came out in their underwear – flesh on display always wins pitted against possible hypothermia. You can easily tell the foreigners apart as they all wear coats, hats, scarves, the lot.
Timing is everything – the DJ is starting the 80’s part of the evening when we walk in the club. None of the other 2 are as obsessed as I am but they get it – it won’t be a one-woman show on that dance floor.
An hour or 10 minutes later – who can tell, not me – we move on to the 90’s and I’m reminded once again no DJ is perfect because Alanis Morrisette (ugh!) is my cue to sneak outside to get some fresh air.
I walk straight up to a baby face who’s smoking. “Give us one?” My English is appalling when I’m drunk. He obliges happily. He lights it up for me and I take my first drag in fuck knows how long. Christ, it tastes like shite, how did I ever do this day in, day out? Instead of being clever and stubbing it out I persevere, like I’m punishing myself – it’s acrid, horrid and soon my head is swimming.
A appears as baby face is prattling on about something or other.
“You didn’t!” He glares at me. Actually looks personally offended.
“Chill. I’m revisiting and it ain’t fun. I kind of feel sick actually.”
He doesn’t say another word, I’m dragged back inside – I barely have time to thank baby face again – disgust at catching me with a cigarette is all over A’s face.
Well, come on now. If I wasn’t so drunk, I’d say something, because this is a bit rich coming from someone who used to spend every weekend coked up to his eyeballs, but whatever – I’m letting it go.
Back in the club we’re assaulted by the heat of too many people packed in too small a place – another reminder of why I don’t like clubs – and alcohol fumes.
There’s more shots, more stupid jokes, more laughter and at some point
we reach the moment – that moment we came for – when there’s no more talk, no more drinking, just dancing, the whole planet could be in meltdown and none of it would matter because we’re caught in that euphoria, the moving to the beat and being alive. Only sex compares – nothing else does.
Late, I don’t know when, we leave and the cold hits me, immediately ramping up the feeling of intoxication.
“Where is my denim jacket… I’ve lost it. Guys, guys, wait, I LOVE that jacket – I’m not going home without.”
“I don’t remember you wearing it” says A, trying and failing to put on his own – he’s battling with it and looks ridiculous – the left shark in that Katy Perry video comes to mind.
“You’re so wrecked, what a fucking mess you are…hang on…WAIT. That’s mine, you lunatic!”
I snatch it from him and sure enough it’s my size 8 ladies denim jacket.
“Did you even come out with a jacket?!” I ask him, tempted to slap him into shape.
None of us remember, least of all him. This mystery won’t be elucidated tonight. I’ve had enough, I want my bed and I get into a taxi. A gets in with me.
“What are you doing? You’re going in the opposite direction! Get out ffs.”
I pause. Remember this is my good friend. “Are you gonna be okay?”
“Oh yeah. And yeah.”
He hugs me fiercely and finally gets out only to reappear at the window to tell the driver:
“Look out for her, she’s very special.”
I am quite sure I roll my eyes.
“Sweet. But I’m not 16! Go, go, go!”
I apologise to the taxi driver who no doubt deals with stuff like that all the time. I’m not sure I’d have the patience myself.
“It’s fine.” He says. “Good night?”
“Amazing” I reply.
In the morning I get a text from A:
“I’m dying, I’m so fucking glad I’m not working tomorrow. Top night though.”
I type a response quickly:
“I feel like an ice pick is lodged in my forehead but yeah – great night!”
Best of all, nobody even came close to guessing my heart was breaking.