Tag: serial

A Night in a Year: 9. Sighting

Sighting - Pub
There are enough men present in the bar. More women, but enough men to watch, and assess. Her eyes cast from group to group. The most appealing, for their edges towards urbane, are the men in suits, but they are preoccupied with themselves and a conversation that appears to be about work. She alights on the students, but the groups are large, and laugh too loudly. The administrators are mostly women, and the two men among their company look like she’d take half the night to convince, and that would be a waste. Some of the men glance in her direction, but their attention, mostly shifts back to their own crowd. One of the students’ gaze remains for a long while, but her cutting smile makes him spin around to his friends, put in his place.

She remembers being that age. She is glad that she no longer is.

She sighs, sips at her vanishing drink, when she glances back at the bar, and sees a new figure, leaning there.

He is suited, wearing a long coat, and has dashes of gray just above his ears, shooting back along his hair like lightning bolts. His face is elongated, his nose aquiline, cheeks gaunt but they make him look hungry and ravenous rather than desperate. The single splash of colour is his thick, blood-red tie. The suit is tailor to his long, lean body. His hip rests languorously against the bar, one leg crossed in front of the other, and his expression is half curious, half bored with the room. He appears alone. His drink, a cocktail, darker in colour than hers, sits before his elbow, which rests on the bar, long hand lolling over the edge.

This is not the kind of bar he’d go into of his own choice.

Next: 10. Examination

Image found on flickr, by teresaqin, used under the Creative Commons License.

A Night in a Year: 8. Drink

She peruses the cocktail menu. Each drink has a helpful photograph next to it; muted browns, opaque ice, streetlight yellow, aquamarine blue. Chemical experimentations, lab produced, or happy accidents that drunken willingness to try just about anything could concoct. Just what she liked to drink to start the night. She knew they were dismissed as girly, frivolous, but it was too early for a smart wine or a serious scotch. Now it was time for giggles and grins, teasing winks and drinks you had to lick like the top a cup cake coated in icing.

The bar tender lounges in front of her. She doesn’t look up to see what his eyes are doing, but his arms are open, elbow hook as he leans on it. He is waiting. Then he starts to whistle.
For that, she turns more pages, considering finger at her lips, before she goes back to the first page and places her order. The waiter’s dark eyes are flighty, flirtatious, and he keeps winking at her as he slices the limes, shakes the first layer of the drink, and his hand flourishes as he pours the final one, and he flicks the sprig of a purple flower garish on top.

She winks back, he nods, and she finds a table for herself.

The first sip, as it so often is, is glorious. The flavours trickle into her mouth, each sip poised and slow. She hopes she doesn’t look too elegant, upright, polite; that won’t attract the kind of men she is after. A drop lingers on her lips, and she dabs at it with a finger. Momentarily, she regards the waiter, now onto the next customer, see his arms like sailor’s rope, his tattoos. Maybe, she thinks, but not as a first picking.

Her eyes scan the bar for her first target.

Next: 9. Sighting

Image found on flickr, by walkn, used under the Creative Commons License.

A Night in a Year: 7. Bar

The bar she enters is new. Off the market square, down a tiny Cambridge passage way. It is the perfect place to start the evening.

The bar and tables are chrome. The high bar stools are backed with loops like metal oyster shells. Thick lines of neon green and purple lights wraps the ceiling, and there are pockets of yellow light, but a lot of it is shadowy.

This is not typical Cambridge, even for a bar. Most of them are about fun and crazy frolicking. This is attempting sophistication, but is instead quirky, distinct. She wonders how long it will last.
It is already crowded. People out to try it and see, decide if the atmosphere is good and if they will come back. She spots the different crowds. Administrators relaxing after work, many she guesses from both the original university and Anglia Ruskin. Students either rewarding themselves after a week of hard work, or just continuing their way to a drinking degree. She will not seen any of the old Cambridge dons here, but there are certainly some younger academics, most likely European, South American, Asian, rather than British. There are a few suits from the commercial side of the city, older men with grey streaked hair, some women too in more demure outfits.

She stops just inside the door, hand on her hip. She isn’t quite sure now that this is the place, and scans, looking for some glimmer of hope in the occupied, bright faces.

It is the sight of the drinks that changes her mind.

No, they are not swish or sophisticated. They are as bright as the upper lights, neon colours, so they almost make the throats of the drinker glow. Something about their nearly plastic glean though, makes her step towards the bar.

Next: 8. Drink

Image found on flickr, by mdpettitt, used under the Creative Commons License.

A Night in a Year: 6. Walk

The centre of town is ten minutes walk from her apartment. She takes small steps, trying not to mince, nor stride, nor hobble. Confident, at ease, yet provocative too. She passes the Mill Road shops – the hairdressers, the Arabic and Korean groceries, Subway and wine merchants. There are a few glances from men, but she ignores them, not wanting to graze on home turf.

She crosses Parker’s Piece. The central lamppost, Reality Checkpoint, is lit, though the light is still dusky. People are heading home from work or shopping, and others, like herself, are heading for the centre. For fun, or at least for drinking and to forget.

She will drink, but she wants to remember the events of the night.

The centre of Cambridge is both alike and unlike other towns in England. She has grown used to the sprouting up of shops and restaurants of the same chain, clones that are making the cities indistinguishable from one another. Pret A Manger and Pizza Express. M&S and Monsoon. Buying and selling of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries latched onto the medieval colleges, vying to take attention from the spires of King’s College Chapel, from the imposing Senate House.

They would not succeed. Capitalism conquered much, but 800 years of intellectual achievement wasn’t gained by paying attention to the whirring wheels of the material world.

The nightlife was a mix of the raucous (the Regal, partying opposite Emmanuel College) and the somewhat urbane (the Vaults disappearing underground opposite Gonville and Cauis). But there aren’t many. Monotonous, the same people, the same places, a friend once said.

She has little doubt that tonight she will meet people she knows, or has fucked. That was the fun, navigating a known world to find pockets of variety.

Of newness, and novelty.

Next: 7. Bar

Image found on flickr, by luschei, used under the Creative Commons License.

A Night in a Year: 5. Shoes

ShoesThe shoes will of course be heels.

She kneels carefully by her bed, under which her collection lives. A range of colours and heights and styles. Sling backs, kitten heels, pointed, rounded. Ruby reds and emerald greens, sequins lined and leather strapped.

Wearing black, she can select almost anything. She purses her lips, and thinks.

Ultimately, she decides on a thicker base and a solid heel, something to give her support. There will be walking tonight, and dancing. And something to keep her balance if she is taken standing.

The colour is a dark purple, with a distinct shine. Something that will catch the light a little, but draw one in too. They are lightly pointed, not so much to look sharp but smart. A single strap loops around the ankle, and the buckle is large and bright.

She sits on the edge of her bed, strapping them to her. She has no intention of taking them off that night, so she makes sure they fit her comfortably. There is very slight wiggle room in the toes. When she stands, she takes a few careful steps. Her balance is fine.

One last check in the mirror. She sweeps some strands of hair back, runs her hands down her sides, under her arms, past her breasts, over her hips, and then her thighs. She imagines them as someone else hands, and courses them up the centre of her body, over her stomach, and at last to cup her breasts. She turns side to side for the mirror, still holding them, looking cheeky. She is not big breasted, but it has hardly been a hindrance.

Once more she smooths herself down, and, satisfied, she finds her pashmina shawl, and stocks her slim line black hand bag with necessities; money, lipstick, card, and condoms.

Next: 6. Walk

Image found on flickr, by fillmorephotography, used under the Creative Commons License.