It’s barely past 4 pm and I’ve just had a double of whisky. It takes the edge off. I’ve become those people you’re not supposed to become. Those people your mother warned you about. Those people your pastor calls to the alter early Sunday morning. Those people your wife tells you to avoid, for the sake of your marriage, it’s always for the sake of your marriage. Those people that have a drink before 5 pm. But it could be worse, I could be having the drink at 3 pm or even worse at 11 am.
I’m staring at my phone; waiting for a text. I have become one of those people too. Insecure. Impatient. Nagging. It’s 4 pm and she should’ve texted by 3.30 pm. What could she be up to? Thirty minutes is a long time. A lot happens in thirty minutes. In thirty minutes she can: change her name, get a new passport, by a plane ticket to Alaska, get there, buy a house, get a new guy and run for the US presidential elections and win. So I stare at my phone torn between calling her and texting her. If I call I might look needy. No one wants needy. The guy that calls the girl to ask if she got the call.
“Ummmh did you get my call?”
“Yes… we spoke even.”
“Oh cool just checking”
Do you know why it’s called taking the edge off? Because after every drink you get smoother. Trust me. You’re that guy with the slick tongue. You know, that guy that walks into the club in a suede blazer, white t-shirt, blue jeans and brown shoes? Spotting a clean cut with the mild scent of aftershave leisurely hanging around him. The guy who sits at the counter with a drink in one hand with the other propped on the table by the elbow holding his chin but he is really showing off his watch. The guy that calls the waitresses sweet names like darling, sugar, honey and the occasional brazen sweet tits. The guy they smile back at taking no offence, offering complimentary bites and drink suggestions. The guy who the bartender always gives an extra two drops of whatever.
Now imagine that guy is a woman.
Deceivingly charming and easy on the eyes. Poised, elegant and an excellent conversationalist. Not too full of herself and not naively naïve. With an attitude that wears a moderately short dress to be decent and keep you interested at the same time. And a thought process that wears a low hanging blouse showing more than it should. She smells like an orchard in the south of France during spring. If imagination is anything to go by. Her hair falls to her back and she has artistic eyes that draw you in. You know her type so you keep your distance. You’ve heard the stories. Men that fell for her charm and were destroyed by her un-bequeathed love. I kept my distance. But you can only keep it for so long.
Finally it’s 5 pm.
At five pm it’s like a veil is lifted from your eyes. Socially it is acceptable to drink at five pm, so I don’t have to hide that double with an espresso. You know that feeling when you can be yourself? Like in the shower? You and the running hot water. The four walls and the soap. Your soapy body and croaky voice. Singing along to the rhythm of your heart and the imagined lyrics of Taylor Swift’s bad blood. That feeling of freedom. But, still I haven’t received a text. It’s unnerving. I can feel my blood pulsating through my veins. In my head I’m misconstruing ideas. Where can she be? Who is she with? Why isn’t she texting me back? Doesn’t she love me? Doesn’t she see all this love I have for her? Maybe a beer will calm things down. A beer always calms things down. So I get four. Four beers are better than one. Four beers are always better than one.
Two beers down and a band walks in. I’ve never really been a fan of live bands. Kind of like how ladies are not really a fan of football but just watch it. Some do it because their boyfriends are always talking about the league, tables and who’s topping it. Others just watch it because they want to see someone take their shirt off. Some are genuine fans with banter dirtier than Giroud’s play. This band looks like a copy and paste university assignment. But don’t they all? There’s a huge guy in a muscle t-shirt and tattooed arms. A guy in a white shirt, white jeans and a white cap. A guy with dreadlocks, there’s always a guy with dreadlocks. A lady, of course, in green jeans and a black top and red shoes. They’re busy setting up. I’m busy being ignored. So I make them my business.
There’s one guy I notice lurking behind the shadows. Appears a bit dodgy. Has a hat on. I hadn’t noticed him before. He is the drummer. They are always obscure. Blending in with the environment. Reading the crowd. Waiting to dazzle. He sits behind his drums and he dazzles. A quick rub-a-dub-boom-twaf to set the mood. Pianist takes the cue, the guy in a muscle t-shirt and tattooed arms. His fingers seem to be having an orgasm on the keyboard. His music smelt like bacon and eggs on a hangovered Saturday morning – heavenly. Then she sang. The green jeans, red shoes black t-shirt lady. Followed by the guitarist and together their harmonized sounds, rhythmic beats felt like a fantasy. A threesome if you may. A well-orchestrated threesome where nothing is awkward. Where everyone knows where what should be. For a fleeting moment I forgot about her. Serenaded by a bed of silky voices and harmonious tunes. Each rendition better than the last.
It’s amazing how good music and good beer makes you forget. But it’s always temporary. Soon I was back at it. Staring at my phone, waiting. No, hoping she texts. Cursing why I ever thought she’d be different. That I’d be different. So I gave up. Decided it wasn’t worth it anymore. Maybe it was the beer taking. Maybe I was distracted by the music. Maybe it was the lady sitting across from me with a black miniskirt and yellow whatever that yellow thing was. I got up to leave; but before walked towards the lead singer, asked her the name of the band. Not her name. I did not want her name. They were the hashtag band. I wanted to ask if the name meant they were industry trendsetters. Or what their logo looked like. Or if they had nicknames like retweet or favorite. But I didn’t. I went home. Dragged my drunk self into bed. And just as I was drifting, it beeped. It was her. She said the most romantic thing “Congratulations.” This might actually work.