Thursday, May 26

Of Apricots, No Hangover, No Sadness

I met someone.
The words themselves do not sparkle quite so much, so I shall capitalise the ‘S’—‘I met Someone.’ I have met someone before, met people before, but this is a little different; unused to the feeling, because it is a feeling and not so bland as others.
‘This is the earliest I’ve been up and out on a Saturday in months.’ I spent all day with my friends. First a couple of us got breakfast in a twenty-four-hour café and then caught a train south of the river to meet others. We played the day beneath a subtle sun hid behind grey clouds, wind and rain; sun subtle enough to burn us throughout. Surrounded by trees and the smell of grass. We laughed and joked. At times I paused on green to observe them all walking – noting the colours of their clothes – and thought—‘I am quite so happy to be here right now.’ I caught them up. We took another train back to the city to watch the football. ‘We should do this more often.’
‘I ain’t going to a fuckin sports bar,’ I said—‘I don’t care if we miss the first ten minutes, I ain’t going to a fuckin sports bar. Let’s find a decent pub with no-one in.’ We walked down Borough High St. and I found just the place: it was dead and they had screens with the football on. The players were just coming out. We put in a whip. There were a couple of men next to us, also spectating; few other punters cared. We drank and drank. As the game progressed me made bets and money exchanged hands. I felt good, I felt fine. Ibuprofen to keep the headaches away, washed down with shots and another round. By ten o’clock we were sat down, living off bar snacks and blinking softly slowly away the sleep of the day.
Finally it was just my friend and I, the two of us, on a sofa with the pub now full and the exclusive joy of youth all around. It was late and he had to go. I wished he had stayed with me; it is his company I feel most comfortable in, but I liked him because he had left me in good spirits. I stepped outside, prepared to leave myself, but the cool night air rejuvenated me somewhat and I thought—‘No.’ What a mood for me to be in to decide to stay in a packed pub alone! I went back in, ordered another drink and sat down. There was a man singing with a guitar. Some people danced but mostly everyone chatted loudly.
That is when I saw her, all lips and eyes.
Bolstered by drink I looked at her, and when she looked over I hung there. We made eyes at each other. She smiled; her bright pink lips breaking over shoulders and napes, coming toward me. I smiled back. The eyes so small an organ to be powerful across a distance, but somehow they achieve it. I do not know how long we kept it up, but she came over and said—‘Hi.’
She must be mistaken, approaching me.
We talked. Took names. I was entranced by her lips, her eyes. She introduced me to her friends. She lowered her voice to me—‘Do you wanna go somewhere else?’
I would follow where she led. The night had turned.
She led me to the tube station and then east, to the water’s edge. In the mix of the excitement, I became a little sober, trying to keep up, not to make a fool of myself. Simultaneously I thought it was a scam; as if some beauty would appear out of the blue (eyes) and lead me off immediately. Any second I expected to be jumped for my wallet. It never came. Instead beneath the bright fluorescents we waited for a train and joked, fingers brushing torsos, what was happening?
It came but in the form of a dark bar on the edge of the river; its million eyes blinking and twitching somewhere out there in its silk. I ordered a glass of red wine. My gaze had fallen to her bum and thighs. She laughed impressively, bending over, maniacal and dirty, her full lips separating in humour so that I found myself telling joke after to joke just to get another shot out of her. Those lips tasted of apricot.
Her flatmate opened the door. He was not there; there in body, not in mind. I shook his hand but kept my eye on him. She had a small room on the first floor with a Juliet balcony and a quiet I was unfamiliar with in my own flat.
I sat on her bed, poking myself in the stomach, and watching her undress.
Morning saw me wrapped around her. A thin blue light in the room, all her possessions highlighted by the cracks of her blind over the balcony. There was no disorientation or even the least bit of regret, no hangover, no sadness. We woke each other up properly. Although I had slept terribly, often waking during the night to run my hands over her, always greeted by her lips, I did not feel tired. She had work and leapt up. As she showered I snoozed. Her cool damp skin fell back down beside me. It was quite pleasant. Still she tasted of apricots. Now, in sobriety, we could talk more. I looked at her books and photographs on the wall. ‘Would you like some coffee?’ she asked me; smiling when I replied—‘Yes, please. Black, no sugar.’ As she got dressed, I watched her, fanatically. She told me about her favourite restaurants and we salivated over things that were not body parts. Regardless, I asked her if she could call in sick so I could spend the day using her bum as a pillow.
On the way to the station we laughed a lot, as people who have spent all night fucking without contrition are permitted to. My mouth was dry and I could smell her apricot. I had not had a good meal in over twenty-four hours and felt weak, but she held my hand and pointed out a café that solely employed the most miserable waitresses in the world. The sky was hazy, the air unmoving. She hopped the train for one stop before we had to come back on ourselves—‘They’ve closed the fuckin gates, they never close the fuckin gates!’ I did not mind. She topped her ticket up and we went back. I did not mind. It was more time. She laughed at my three-year-old trainers, but she worked in and studied fashion, so I supposed it was a given she would laugh at my three-year-old trainers. She pawed at me. I smelled apricots. When she said good-bye I tasted apricots, one, two, three times, once, twice, thrice. We held hands as long as our arms would go and she went down the tunnel to the gate. Alone, again, just like in the pub.
The sun burned through the window as I went westward, home. I had to eat. Dizziness spun me around in the street. A ham & cheese toastie, yoghurt & granola, a can of coke, and a cappuccino; I devoured them ravenously. The flat was different to how I had left it, feelings greener, the smell sweeter. Odorous, I undressed, lying in the sunlight of my open window finally I slept, after some time of lying on my back, staring at the ceiling with a smile.

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