A NIGHT'S SHIFT

When I was twenty lurching out of a bar at six in the morning the act usually coincided with first onsets of hungover and a general dislike for anything bright. I would be proud of myself having made it through the night celebrating life with the wickedly beautiful. Bravely still on my hellishly sore feet rather kicking those gorgeous high heels and walking on shattered glass than taking another shod step. Copious amounts of alcohol had just been consumed in an attempt to push boundaries of self-control. They had been pushed.

 

Today my choices in alcohol and shoes are more refined. My current favourite is served with a cube of ice and lemon, and, well, I rarely drink. All the more exciting the moment became when two days ago I emerged from a bar at daybreak. Not having had this kind of experience in years I was struck by the city's waking sounds and smells. I stood rooted to the middle of a deserted street like an explorer gazing at an Amazon cougar before him. They are quite simply unique.

 

My friend who I had been chatting the night away with is very special to me. Though neither one of us was expecting this evening to turn into a stargazer's night. We settled in a rustic yet charming French restaurant. The uncomfortable benches softened with each exchanged word. Many of which crossed from one to the other that night. When the candle on our table had burnt down we interrupted the proprietors in their card game. Patiently they had been waiting for us, never once intruding in our conversation. We paid our bill, put some money on the patriarch as champion of the game and respectfully left so they could close for the night. Who won in the end, I do not know.

 

Lulled into the comforts of red wine we moved on for a nightcap - to an old-fashioned bar - the German equivalent of an Irish pub. Ugly as fuck in daylight but we weren't quite ready to face such pettiness. To us the establishment resembled a living room. A cave guarding painted walls. A circus tent home to fire-eaters.

We sat at the bar and enjoyed a last glass that, quite selectively, lasted a while. The intimate conversation broke when approached by two drunk gentlemen, who were quite persistent in their pursuits. What made one of them, a chef by trade, striking in appearance, were his luminous eyes. Deeply brown, almost purple, did they dip down into his soul. They confused me, made me loose my intention of turning him away. Still, he was standing too close. My senses alerted me to move away. It would require a hopping-off-bar-stool manoeuvre I wasn't willing to risk at this point. Instead I marvelled at his gaze, my drink and my blatantly grinning friend.

 

When we stepped out onto the street at dawn I was wide awake. Drunk on happiness, not alcohol. Determined to watch the sunrise I pushed across the stream to my apartment. An avalanche of cars was coming towards me, carrying workers to the shipyard. I closed my eyes and ignored all harsh reminders of reality. I would watch the sunrise this morning.

When I came home I fell asleep on the couch.

 

Wishing you a loving -

 

Mel