This is how it happens. You look at me with those deep-set, electric eyes for a prolonged moment. Dark hair, white shirt, it’s easy to pick you out. I take a shot, you put your hand to your forehead, squinting as you would do on a sunny day at the summit of a mountain, and I flash a quick smile. I dance. You leave. And I’m lying if I say I’m not the least bit disappointed. Then, as you come back through the door, we smile at each other and you approach, as if it were the inevitable outcome, the necessary consequence of our relayed looks.
“How’re you doing?” I give a clipped answer. “And what’s your name?” I give you my name. “Sophie… That’s a lovely name”. I don’t get that often.
The light gives your skin a light blue polish and all I can focus on are your freckles. All over your face, your arms, speckling down your neck. I do love freckles. It makes you look warm. You ask about me but guess my mix within seconds- it turns out we’re both of the same breed. “Can you speak Cantonese, then?” I ask, and you respond with a line of flattery. Why thank you, not so bad yourself.
Do I want a drink? Just one. I tell you I never know what to order, like a rookie or an otherwise classy lady (I go for wines I don’t know the names of) and you seem to appreciate self deprecating jokes. You link arms with me, wink, and we take a sip from our glasses. I find out much later that it’s a wedding tradition.
You’ve got this mischievous grin, brimming with that douche-bag confidence you wear so well. “Since I’m taking Psychology, I can see right through you”, I joke. But it’s your turn to psycho-analyse me.”Bla bla bla” -I can barely hear you- “you’re confident. Which is a good thing”. Thanks babe, glad I made it seem effortless. You embolden me.
You waggle your bum against me, because guys look silly grinding and you know it. You’re embarrassing; flexing across the bar, rolling up your shirt sleeves for the so-called banter. Your friends egg you on. And it works, because you’re fun. Because you could care less. You bite the hem of your shirt in this ridiculously teenage way and we christen one of your pecs with my name. Apparently, I get the bigger one. When your friends make some obscene gesture about us, you shield my eyes with your hands. “Ah, just ignore them”.
I tip the glass, chock-full of ice, for a sip of my drink and you say “that’s the Polar Bear Dip,” or something. Your finger brushes the tip of my nose and you smile. “See, cold”. And when you see that I’ve finished, you ask if I want another. “To be honest, I’m quite light-weight”, I say. “Me too,” you whisper, with a knowing look. “We’ll get you water instead”. How considerate of you!
When we dance, you look down at me through your lashes. Eyes soft, drowsy, tender. Tongue clamped between between your very slightly up-turned lips. And every so often, you take my hand and kiss my knuckles. I love that. Like I’m great to be around (and you make that known to your advancing friend).
You know how this works. I’m another girl strung onto a series of others, no doubt. First the eyes, then approach. I guess learned compliments (a bank of them) are useful when they’re your ticket to winning a smile from the next girl. Who cares about language proficiency- they’re all you need, really!
Look at that douche-bag confidence you think you can get away with (owing to your parents that face, that jaw of yours). Aren’t you a riot, behaving like a frat-boy who refuses to grow up. I let it slide that you KISSED ANOTHER MAN in front of me for the so-called banter. Charming, aren’t you, when you’re surrounded by your mates. Compared to them, you’re a saint. Your entourage makes you look good.
“We’ll get you water instead”. Thanks, that’s what I’d expect from someone I barely know. In fact, that’s what a decent human being should suggest- instead of taking advantage of some girl, in hope that she has a problem saying no to polite offers and free drinks.
You like fire too? Great. “Ah, something we have in common”. When you’re drunk, it’s really a moment of connection. But I let it slide that I’ve never found smoking very appealing. I’m making exceptions for you and who are you?
Maybe I really wouldn’t strike someone as being… worth getting to know under daylight. Only good for a laugh, a few lines like “where you from?” and “what do you do?” Just entertainment. To watch. To dance with. To kiss. Suspension of belief; like I’m not real (when all I want is to be real and for this to be real).