An Element of Surprise
Just like any other Saturday night, they had plans to meet some friends for a drink.
“Tell you what, you go on to watch your football and I’ll meet you at the pub. We can make our way together from there.”
So at about 9pm, she arrived to find a few of the guys still chatting about the game. A short walk across town and they were at another new bar.
“It’s quite nice, isn’t it?” she commented.
“Aye, they’ve done a good job.”
“The layout is still the same. It’s a lot smarter though.”
Two friends joined them over the drinks. The girl was travelling to Central America the next day and the talk soon moved to holidays and exotic places.
“Oh, I envy you, you know,” she said. “A month in exotic climes, eh!”
At one point, a guy, an acquaintance of the guy walked by, mobile phone glued to the ear, yapping away.
“Alright mate!” the guy called out.
The guy didn’t even hear.
On his way back, he stopped though. “I’m having a party. Come over.”
“Look, we’re with people. Let’s stop by later,” she said.
The friends left a while later.
“I’ll just have a beer with him. It’s his birthday!”
“Just the one though,” she added, seeing another of his drunken nights coming on.
Sambuca shorts, sickly sweet, were passed round.
He played a lousy game of pool.
“We could make a move soon. I’m quite tired.”
“It’s early. Why the rush?” he replied.
“Can I have a word with you?” she asked, smiling sweetly, aware that the people around could hear. There was nothing worse than a domestic scene in a public place.
“Look, you said, you’d have just the one with him,” she began.
“I’m tired of you telling me what to do!” he snapped, arms gesticulating in a threatening manner.
The doorman turned around and observed coolly at a distance.
“Right, let’s have just one more then and go home.”
She walked to the pool table from where she saw him wander off to the opposite direction. Fully engaged in conversation to a stranger, he didn’t even glance over.
It wasn’t a one night stand. She was only his live in girlfriend of several years.
She calmly walked over and started talking to one of the guys in the group. A while later, she gently tapped his shoulder, noticing the empty beer glass and predicting a refill.
“Look, my eyes sting from the smoke. Can we go?”
“You go!” he callously barked.
“Come on,” she said gently, still aware of eavesdroppers all around.
He made no move.
“Ok. I don’t understand this. You promised.”
She walked towards the door. He followed her and called out.
She stopped, hoping this nightmare would be over.
“Look, everything’s been so nice and now you want to spoil it over one more drink.”
“I’m having a drink with my friends.”
“They aren’t your friends! They just happened to be at the same bar. You weren’t invited to the party.”
She saw all her hopes melt and slide onto the pavement. A couple putting away their bikes watched as they walked in. She caught the look of understanding on the girl’s face.
As she walked away, hoping it would not be too rowdy on the public transport, she thought of how close and yet so far they were. So close to the dream of that one person who will love and cherish us. She never thought she would walk into a bar with him on a Saturday night and walk home alone.