George30 November 2013
You know something, George? I already miss you. I miss the tight helical curls that fell from your temples and framed your face. Your smooth complexion, perfectly complimented by an outfit of charcoal silk and maroon corduroy. Your almond eyes suggesting a mind both absorbent and inquisitive. The way you decided that out of everyone on that balcony, Cristina and I were the ones you’d like to get to know. What was it that caught your attention? There were plenty of other people scattered around the place, but for whatever reason, you chose two girls with slightly hyperactive laughs, but who were otherwise rather self-contained, to begin a conversation with.
“So, George. Is that in the typical spelling?”
“Sure is. Not as cool without the ‘s’, like in France.”
Since then, it’s only been 14 hours, but I regret not trying to keep that conversation alive. Perhaps your ability to speak so genuinely collided with my expectations of the standard club-goer and rendered me speechless.
I wish that I, like Cristina, had taken a drag of your cigarette. I didn’t ask for fear of betraying my lack of practice (read: null). Come to think of it, I suppose that was the same reason you didn’t offer me a drag. My measured breathing must have given me away.
I saw you on the dancefloor afterward. In the dim light, I couldn’t tell if you noticed me. But I looked at you a few times, and even considered making my way over. As I was deliberating on whether I had enough self-confidence to pull it off, my feet found themselves following those of my friends, down the stairs and out into the chilly night air.
I didn’t forget you though, George. I didn’t forget you when I paid ten dollars to enter a club that I’m not sure followed health and safety regulations. How anyone manages to build a rapport with people when they’re being suffocated by dense fog I have no idea, but somehow my peers figured it out.
I didn’t forget you when the other guys came in droves: Andrew, Alastair, Mark, and some other whose name I didn’t care enough to catch. The latter two were persistent, but also respected my final repetition of “no thanks”. It always turns out the same—let them claim your body or they’ll fast move onto a more willing candidate.
Alastair seemed friendly enough. But after talking for a while he abruptly turned away and left me bobbing to the tinny mechanical music on my lonesome. Who knows? Maybe my unwillingness to part my legs a little more while dancing was somehow repellent to him. I don’t really know what’s worse, someone who just wants to fuck you, or someone who doesn’t care for your existence at all.
So George, as it turns out, you and I are studying the same course. To be perfectly frank, I have no idea what I’m doing. I’m changing majors next semester. I know that I can’t flail around forever, but it’s comforting to hear we’re on the same page, at least academically. Both behind in our studies, both chronically indecisive, both just trying to find our feet. The moments sometimes feel like they’re flying past, and I can’t say I’ve gotten any wiser. I don’t feel I’ve grown any closer to maturity—only becoming increasingly at odds with the world around me.
I started suspecting that I operated on a different wavelength when everybody was descending into drunken nothingness around me and all that seemed to stand out, under the din of my skull turning to mush, was the bluestone brickwork and neon lasers. I knew I had it all wrong when I realised that all I really wanted out of this whole outing was just to be your friend. This is my own problem, I know. Give my socially stunted self an inch and before you know it I’m grasping for a mile.
The excitement about alcohol still evades me. I guess I feel the same way about alcohol that I do about sex. I’ve gathered that it’s great and when executed correctly can make you feel like you’re floating on a cloud of mint choc-chip ice-cream, but I do not kneel down and worship it as my saviour. I do not pretend to forget the possible consequences of drinking myself into oblivion, just so I can feel the sense of camaraderie that has evaded me ever since I started trying to be sociable.
What I’d really like to do is get drunk on a bottle of the sweetest spirits and lie under the stars with someone who will help me contemplate the intricate characterisations and cultural significance of Lemony Snicket. Have you ever wanted to do something like that, George? Have you ever felt that this flighty nightlife existence you inhabit just isn’t enough? As the night wore on I wasn’t sure whether I felt alive or the complete opposite. It seemed I had taken a wrong turn, stumbling into my own personal limbo. Or maybe I’d been there the whole time.
When it was nearing two o’clock, I needed some form of relief. Eyes unable to assist me in the darkness, I followed the stench of urine down the hallway leading to the toilets. Suddenly able to see again, my ears buckled under the abrupt lightening of pressure. I sat in the cubicle, feeling the traces of whatever euphoria I had managed to glean from my intermittent booze consumption lifting through my pores. I wondered how long I could stay in here before anyone took notice, but I figured my sense of time was by now fairly off-kilter, so I played it safe and made my way back into the intoxicated throng.
The make-outs were growing ever deeper, the clutches increasingly steadfast, and everyone was grasping for a single moment of bliss, and proof of their worth, in the glassy eyes of another.
You know George, I would love to know how your night panned out. My own drew to a conclusion in a maxi cab, just big enough for me and my disillusionment. As for Cristina, the girl I was with, well, I kept an eye on her throughout the evening. She hadn’t been out in a while and I knew she was looking forward to surrendering to the scene and all of its perks.
The final split second that I allowed myself to leave my post—Mark was telling me how he thought club hook-ups were meaningless and empty, in between attempts at making our lips meet—resulted in my losing her. And, while it was slightly empowering tottering down Elizabeth Street at 2.13am completely alone and eyeing down every male who so much as looked my way… well, the severity of my deflation was pretty hard to ignore at that point. My backside needed a comfortable seat, my feet needed a good soaking, and I needed a friend to spew my stream of consciousness all over.
And I thought of you.
Look, I know we’re not friends. And even though spontaneous socialising is a novel concept to me, I get that this is not the case for the more experienced clubber. Normal people do this stuff all the time—talk and walk, glance and go. Nothing lasts like I want it to. A moment is there, and then it’s not. And while everyone else moves on to the next moment that’s bigger and better, you’re guaranteed to find I’m still on my knees, desperate to hold onto what can never be reclaimed.
I guess this whole thing could be in vain, really, this whole reaching out to you business. I mean, it could turn out that I didn’t even pique your interest at all last night. You did offer the almost completely shrunken cigarette stub to Cristina. And truly, the fact that you left when you did contributed to the excitement of the exchange itself. In the aftermath of that night, I could be building up the usual fantasy with the exact same expectation that you will be the one person I’ve been looking for. Who will let me believe I have a right to be here without any need for change.
But I liked you, George. Out on that balcony, you restored my faith in humanity for nine brief minutes.