It was teaming down with rain as we set out. I pulled on a denim jacket, a silk scarf and a Russian hat to keep the worst of the wet off. We arrived at a Jazz Bar I used to frequent, but hadn’t in some time. I was a little hazy after consuming a mixture of codeine, antibiotics and white wine, but my cold seemed to have disappeared. The five of us got sat at a darker table lit by a lonely tea light sat in a grubby jam jar. We’d each ordered a vodka and something and it was great to finally be having a drink with just the girls. It didn’t last for long, a couple of the girls I was with were known for being maybe a little promiscuous, after several nights with more than just one partner each. One perhaps not quite heterosexual guy made himself at home between me and one friend, whilst two definitely not heterosexual girls sprawled beyond suggestively across the laps of the other two. I found my way out from behind the table and hoped to steal a cigarette of somebody outside. I don’t usually smoke, but this was kind of uncomfortable and I wasn’t feeling myself anyway. On the way up the stairs out of the basement and onto the street I caught the eye of someone I definitely recognised, though I wasn’t entirely sure why. He noticed and greeted me with an outstretched arms, over-rehearsed hug and an ‘Oh my God, Darling.’ Definitely a fashion student. We went twos on a cigarette and had a chat about, awful runway collections, delicious men and the things we would allow the pianist from the previous band to do to us.
On returning to the table I found that everyone had gone and had been replaced by two, slightly undernourished, art school boys, who for some reason I had decided I was attracted to that evening. We chatted over a drink, about photography mainly which both of them were studying. About half way through my second glass they offered me a bomb and I politely declined. Maybe its just me, but a pretty serene, almost pub atmosphere isn’t my place of choice for drug taking, certainly not mdma. I left to find those bastards who had abandoned me, well, who I had abandoned. They were dancing. The band currently on were alright, nothing to write home about but a pretty tight covers band, who to their credit, did know how to get people moving. The two girls who had come over earlier were now draped one each around a couple of friends’ shoulders, so I guessed we wouldn’t all be going home together. I looked at the other two and winked; we went to grab another drink.
At the bar I felt a hand on my waist and knowing my weakness for the men that haunt this particular place I did an admirable job of not turning around. My drink arrived and I reached for my purse, but a fairly broad and slightly vascular arm reached over my shoulder and paid for me. At this point I had to decide whether to be the good friend and stick to the self-imposed ‘girl’s night out’ rule. I tried for the best of both worlds and thanked the man who had paid for my drink, introducing my friends to him. He was with a friend, which actually would have worked out perfectly, as one of the two girls had a girlfriend anyway. This plan backfired ever so slightly when his friend decided to let us know that he was kind of a big deal and only seventeen. I was pissed by this point, in both senses of the word. Pissed because medication and alcohol don’t mix well and pissed because I actually quite liked this guy. I’d selfishly wanted to spend a bit of time getting to know the guy who’d bought me a drink after I had completely ignored him, but his dickhead friend wasn’t quite going to cut the mustard for my dickhead friend. It was at this point that the seventeen year old ‘kind of a big deal’, offered a cigarette to both of my quite-drunk-and-quit-smoking-for-new-year friends. Hallelujah. They didn’t take much persuading and headed off upstairs, aplogising profusely and saying they wouldn’t be long.
I could finally talk to this guy. He scooched around towards me and leant his elbow on the table, making eye contact. Eye contact that was interested, not sleazy. He asked me if I came here often, bad line, but his French accent totally saved him. I said I used to come a lot in my first year but hadn’t been for a while, he said he was a first year, which surprised me. He had a slight furrow in his brow and the corners of his eyes creased when he smiled, he had that inescapable shadow that dark haired men can never shave away. There is no way he can be seventeen like his friend. Fuck, fuck, fuck. I said he didn’t strike me as a first year and he said I looked worried. I was worried, I thought I’d met an interesting, attractive Frenchman and I was about to find out that he was four years my junior. He laughed, then asked me who was the oldest man I had been with. I said no older than thirty eight. He smiled. I was even more confused. I had to ask him how old he was. He was 29. I was almost beginning to believe there was a God. He was in his first year at the music school, playing guitar and singing; not the most original but I could forgive him. Before coming to Brighton he had trained as an architect in Montpelier (arguably my favourite city in the world). We actually had an almost bizarre amount in common and it had been a good couple of hours before I realised that my friends never had come back.
I sent them both a text, they were fine. The bands had finished about an hour ago and we had just arrived at my front door. I’d sobered up a little on the walk home and had time to better appreciate how attractive this man was. Perhaps this is a gross generalisation, but other than drummers, musicians tend to be a little on the weedy side. He certainly wasn’t, he was one of those wonderfully proportional people. He wore a black slim fitting top with a mid height v-neck, just grazing the top of the groove in his chest. The sleeves fitted snugly but not tightly around his upper arm and the hem finished just above his jeans, allowing a smart but not obnoxious belt buckle to sit comfortably on top of the shirt. His hair was dark, not overly styled, in fact I don’t think styled at all, just one of those sickeningly lucky individuals. Eyes, obviously dark, very. Lips quite thin, teeth straight and short, though he seemed to usually smile with his mouth closed. When I stepped through the front door he asked for a kiss goodnight. I had assumed he was staying, but the part of my brain concerned with making a good impression didn’t seem to engage and instead of accepting, I insisted he came inside for a drink. Admittedly he didn’t put up much of a fight. He was impressed with what was left of the wine, an Alsace Pinot Blanc, obviously he was, it was French. We talked for a while, ran out of wine and as such, ended up in bed. I hadn’t even kissed this man, yet somehow he had come home with me.
There is a part of me that does not want to write about the details of my night. I would love to see this man again, he left early in the morning and I gave him my phone number. The concoction of medication and alcohol I had once I got back in has left patches in my night and I cannot remember his name. I am not sure whether I want so much to see him again because it is a situation out of my control, because I was feeling vulnerable after my cocktail of codeine and vodka or because my evening with him was truly one of the most satisfying I have had in a long time. Whichever the option, I have cancelled all dates since. He is occupying a part of my mind that I would quite like back. What if he doesn’t call.