It was Friday. The five day slog was done and the two days of precious leisure lay before me. The sun had just gone down and though I had never been in the habit of hitting the town, I found myself at a club with a drink in my hand. I don’t know why, something had drawn me there.
The establishment was just like any other in the city, gloomy, crowded and playing loud music. As usual the terrible music, with its thumping bass assaulting my ears, was getting to me. I thought about leaving and finding a quieter place but I was tired and decided against it.
I looked around the club from the bar where I was sitting and saw it had a balcony which seemed quieter and was much less crowded. I paid for my drink, grabbed my glass and shuffled through the throng as I made my way to a bit of solitude. As I made my way past the revelers I heard behind me a soft shout.
“Hey you!” It was loud but gentle. I continued walking because I didn’t believe it was I being summoned, not by that voice.
“Hey Barcelona!” the voice called again.
I stopped; this time sure I was the target of the summon because I was wearing, under my jacket, the jersey of that particular football team. I turned around slowly searching the dimness of the club but could not immediately find the source of the voice.
Then I saw her, a short-haired, light-skinned goddess in a red dress sitting alone at a booth. She was raising a wine glass to me. I raised my glass in response. She wasn’t familiar to me. I raced through my memory trying to remember if I had met her before but nothing came to mind.
I walked over to her booth slowly, my mind still racing. By the time I got to her table nothing had come to mind.
“Hello,” I said. It was more of a question than a greeting. It sounded like a whisper over the club din.
“Sit with me,” she whispered in return.
I hesitated. Usually I was cautious with the beautiful ones, they being only conscious of their own feelings. It was a lesson I had learned the hard way; but tonight I had a tingle of self-destructiveness in me so I thought why not and went to sit opposite her in the booth.
“No, not there. Here, next to me,” she said.
I was surprised. I had to know her from somewhere, she wouldn’t be so familiar otherwise. I sat down where I had intended, not heeding her plea.
“Have we met? Do I know you?” I asked meekly.
She didn’t answer, she just smiled – a mocking smile – and sipped her wine.
I had to know her from somewhere; I searched my mind, but nothing. She was beautiful, too beautiful to forget. She was trouble and I could tell. I contemplated getting up and walking away but the self-destructiveness kept my ass rooted on the black leather.
“Tell me your name,” I said, much firmer.
Still she said nothing. She just looked at me and kept that mocking smile on her face. I thought for a second. Picked up my drink, got up and went and sat beside her.
After a few seconds I heard the soft voice say.
“Well April,” I said looking at her, “could you tell me why you called me over here.”
“You looked interesting.” She said this without turning her head and looking at me. She was staring into the club, at the people there.
“What about me was interesting?” I asked.
“For one, you are the only one here apart from me who really doesn’t want to be here.” Still not turning her head towards me.
“You mean you are not enjoying the music this fine establishment has chosen to assail our ears with?” I asked sneeringly.
I saw the end of her lip curled up. It was a smile and not a mocking one at that.
“If you would rather be elsewhere, why aren’t you there instead?” I continued.
“I don’t know where I want to be, I just know that it’s not here.”
“So I’m to distract you until you decide where that is?” I said almost angrily.
“Yes,” she said, still not looking at me.
“Why would you do such a thing?” I said feigning hurt, “I should be offended.”
“Yes you should be, and yet here you sit.” She turned her head and looked at me for a second as she said this then turned back. I figured out she was staring at the club’s entrance.
“This is more interesting than sitting alone I guess,” I said.
“Why are you even here then?”
“I’m drowning my sorrows.”
“How’s that going?”
“Sorrows can breathe under water, even under vodka. Only time can muffle it.” I said looking at my glass. When I turned back towards her, she was staring at me, a puzzled look on her face.
“But you still drink?” she asked.
“I’m already a bit drunk, I can’t stop now,” I replied as I swallowed what was left in my glass and called a waiter over.
“Get me another screwdriver please and another of what the lady is having.”
“No thanks,” she cut in, “this will be adequate.”
We talked like this for a while. She was fascinating, definitely couldn’t be categorized. After a brief lull in the conversation she continued her strange antics by leaning in on me and putting her head on my shoulder.
“Have you ever made a mistake?” she asked softly. She didn’t have to shout her mouth so close to my ear.
“No.” I answered.
“Are we sure? Are we not making things up?”
“We didn’t think the lady was being serious,” I replied, “everyone makes mistakes, it is our nature. What was yours?”
“I fell in love with a bastard and now I can’t leave him. I can’t do it by myself. I’ve tried but I keep going back. I need someone to save me. Can you save me Barcelona?”
“Why can’t you save yourself?”
“The gentleman is supposed to save the damsel.”
“You don’t seem to be in any distress, and I’ve never claimed to be a gentleman.”
“Why are you being mean?”
“Mean? Me? I wouldn’t dream of it.”
“You better answer me quick.”
“Because the bastard is heading this way.”
I looked up and saw a tall, handsome man heading towards us.
“Who are you?” he glared at me, then at her. “June, who is this guy?”
She hadn’t even told me her real name, I felt vindicated for my previous doubts. I kept silent and didn’t say anything. The tall handsome man sized us up and said.
“Come on June, let’s go.”
“Well Barcelona, what’s it going to be?” she said looking at me.
I wanted to punish her, the self-destructiveness was working overdrive. I remained silent. The scene was interrupted by the waiter with my order. It was now her turn to stare at me as I sipped on my drink and said nothing.
She slid out of the booth and started walking out, the tall man following behind her. When she got to the door she paused and looked behind her, at me, for a second. Her face caught the light perfectly and I immediately regretted my decision.