Social gatherings were never quite my thing. I mostly passed my time at these mint condition shindigs emulating the universe, steady but expanding towards the door every passing second. If I were you, this would be the moment a thought forms in your head, ‘Then why did you go?’ But you see I had no choice, my friend, the most boisterous and extroverted person I had ever met, claimed that I was one of the good ones, the forever friends she had. And of course hearing that I was putty in her hands.
So I stood there, awkward at the corner of the room, stealing gazes at the many faces, the smiles exchanged amidst vacuous grins. I timed the mint leaf in the glass i held sinking to the bottom of the yellow liquid. I had forgotten what my libation of choice was for this particular evening.
I raised the glass to my lips, emptying my mind for observations of the nature of this strange liquid I held. The time it took for it to change from ‘Aah! Whiskey.’ to ‘Crap. Mint leaf.’ Wasn’t long. I realised that my face had taken on the clear disgust I felt. I looked up to check if someone had noticed my plight. My eyes met another, across the chasm of the room.
‘Abort. Abort.’ My mind yelled and I instantly looked back down again. I raised my glass to my lips again and put the mint back where it was. I certainly wasn’t going to pull it out of my mouth, not with the audience of one that I had clearly garnered.
“Awful aren’t they?”
I had no idea how she managed to cross the room so fast. Was I spitting my leaf back into my glass in slow motion? “What are?” I asked, acting surprised.
“Mint leaves. I saw you spit it back.” She said playfully. She had seen me, I wished I was invisible.
“Don’t worry. I’m not judging you. I did the same myself.” I stared at her.
Here was this girl, short black hair, black shirt, black jeans, thick rimmed glasses. My heart skipped a beat, my imagination took flight. She was everywhere, in the chair by the window where I liked to read in the winter sun, she was writing instead. She was on my favourite park bench hiding her face as I tried to take dreamy portraits of her existence. She was on my white linen sheets, on her stomach with her dirty sneakers hanging in the air.
A feeble “Hello” is all that I could manage. She looked at me strangely, took the drink out of my hand and lay it on the table and asked me to follow here. So I did, like a lost puppy.
We climbed what seemed to be 5 flights of stairs until a door opened to an orange glow of the city, like a glowing piece of newly forged iron. “So whats your story?” she asked and I engaged in the conversation. Hours passed by in animated discussion while I stole glances at her hand and inched mine closer to hers with the passing of time until a sharp ring of a mobile phone disturbed the peace, it shrieked through the quiet.
She took the call got up and paced around the roof, she cupped her hands around the mouthpiece and shouted into the phone. She walked towards me a while later, “Sorry I need to go.” I got up and hugged her goodbye, her hair smelt like a concoction of heavily guarded scents by a master Perfumer. I headed down after her, we climbed down 5 flights of stairs, she kept going and I turned right. My corner was empty, my glass on the table, the mint leaf resting at the bottom of the golden liquid.