Wednesday, 29 July 2009

10 Minute time-out

I was left alone on the couch in the Hogshead for perhaps 10 minutes or so, subjected to penetrating stares and whispered disapproval from the other patrons at the bar due to Hayley's foul-mouthed outburst. I was tempted to stand up and announce that she WASN'T WITH ME, but thought better of it. I was praying her boyfriend would soon show up, giving me the chance to corner Linda and have a proper talk with her.

We'd be soon out of there, I reassured myself.

I thought back to when I had first met her, almost five years before. It was still vividly clear.

I'd been living in the spare room of my mate Peter's house in the Bootle area of the city, after returning from staying with my parents for a spell in the Isle of Man.

At that time I was like The Littlest Hobo - lugging all my clothes and possessions around in a torn and battered suitcase, desperately looking for permanent steady work and a place of my own to live. Peter was brilliant, he really helped me out. I at least had a roof over my head. It was just the serious lack of dollars and boredom that were the most depressing things to contend with.

One Saturday I decided to go out for a few drinks with some old mates of mine I hadn't seen for a good few months - Edgy, Zippy, Cully, Kennywise and Anthony. We wound up in a nightclub in Bootle, the name of which I had forgotten.

It wasn't the flashiest place to be, cheap and nasty decor, a breathing cliche of a DJ playing ABBA, Whigfield, Bucks Fizz. A dance floor populated with mostly middle-aged women and men, dressed and acting like they were 18 again.

We argued amongst ourselves about who's idea it had been to go there. The finger eventually pointed to Kennywise, but he was too gassed at that stage of the night to care, let alone defend himself from some serious verbal abuse. I elected to go the bar, and pushed my way to the front.
I was about to be served when someone tapped me on the back and a female voice behind me shouted above the music.

"Are you gettin' served there?" it came, slightly slurry and with a wobble in the throat.

I turned to see a girl who stood somewhat unsteadily in her floral dress, a half-smile on her face, head cocked to one side. It wasn't aggressive, it was playful.

That was what got me.

She ended up not only jumping ahead of me to the bar, but with me buying her a drink.

My mates became distant, forgotten. Everything I did from that point on was consciously directed and focused upon her.

We clicked, it was obvious.

It helped that she was very attractive to me - long flowing straight dark hair, hour-glass body of a woman, an impish smile that played below her piercing blue, come-and-get-me eyes.

We talked, trying (unsuccessfully) to be heard over the abysmal sounds that threatened to drown us out.

But words didn't really need to be said, face and body language was the key. And it was all positive, green-lights all the way.

You got this, maestro.....

I was introduced hastily to the friends she was out with - I didn't really soak up who they were or what they looked like, I was transfixed.... We sat together at a table at the side of the dance floor. Likes and dislikes were shouted to each other, phone numbers exchanged. I took it upon myself to go to the bar again, assuring her I would be back sharpish.

The spontaneous nature of how we met and gelled so quickly was a buzz, too right.

My natural shyness and hang-ups dissolved rapidly in her company. It felt fantastic not having to take the initiative in talking to a girl, let alone have her all over me. So I rolled with it.

We eventually ended up back at Peters, both pretty much drunk. It lowered the inhibitions, to the point that we were almost full-on in the kitchen. Intimacy became physical in no time at all....

But it wasn't a cheap sleazy jump. Far from it, it was shared, two-way traffic. At least that's the impression I got. She was forward, experienced. It was refreshing to meet someone with such self-confidence.

I started seeing her properly straight after, walking her the short distance to her mother's house the morning after, still giddy from the booze and testosterone surging through me.

I was about to replay in my head just why we had first split when her voice whispered in my ear, shocking me back to the present.

"So mister....we're movin' on, maybe down Matthew Street....Fancy joining us?"

She stood over me at the side of the couch, Hayley next to her still dramatically dabbing her face with tissue paper.

"Erm...Yeah, Yeah sure...let's go...." I stammered, reaching for my jacket...