16 years ago I was stumbling from one party to the next. The same faceless faces – some of them familiar, for what that was worth. For what that actually meant back then. Faces I’d seen around, but didn’t have the time, the inclination, or the humility, to find out more about. It was a simpler time. A time of endless possibilities. A time without time.
There was one night – so many since lost, as memories tumble from my ageing, addled, tired mind as the sound they once created becomes a distant echo on a dystopian landscape – I will always recall; like it was only yesterday…
A couple, whose names escape me, were giving up their lives for each others and a celebration of the news had been maniacally arranged at the expense of other’s personal plans, so that we could all feel that little bit worse about ourselves in their presence. Another night when strangers were friends, and I was alone.
I never went to these things with the intention of observing: the attendees at the waxwork pantomime projecting outwards the charade that the reality that their real life occupied betrayed; but when you navigate the threat of conversation with such calculated precision, it’s all you have. Those that don’t know you’re watching don’t care; those that do, the same. I’d say I’d seen it all, but I know there has to be more. Because there has to be.
The male of our species without question, would throw away everything: his family, his children – for an unsatisfactory fumble with a relative stranger. And they do. Those that say otherwise, never see temptation. And sure there’s the inevitable ontological anxiety the following morning, but not enough get what they’re due. It’s only man who believes he’s bulletproof when holding a gun to his own head. Women could do worse than remove the safety catch.
On this particular night there’d been a few flashpoints; vignettes co-habitors would soon be going over in their heads in a day or two, on the spare futon around a friend’s house. Nothing of note. Nothing special. Nothing. And then.
When the last of the people making the most dutiful of appearances, have finished off their life story at the door, you get to see who’s really at a party. Three thirds of the time it’s wall to wall me. Like staring into a mirror bigger than the room. This time was different.
I was already on the furthest side of the room before I was conscious of standing up, such was the impulse; though the lactic acid was already flooding through my limbs. Beads of sweat tempted my tongue to my top lip. I leaned in towards her. She cupped her ear to my mouth… “Falcao is that tin of Quality Street at your nans that turns out to be full of sewing kits”.
To this day I still don’t know where it came from. Maverick thoughts.