Drunk on happiness

Encounters with a woman. Twice.

A twenty-something lurches out of a bar at six in the morning. First onsets of hungover and a dislike for bright lights. She is proud of herself having made it through the London night celebrating life with the wickedly beautiful. Brave on her hellishly sore feet, kicking off those gorgeous high heels and walking on shattered glass rather than taking another shoed step.


Copious amounts of alcohol were consumed in an attempt to push boundaries of self-control. They had been pushed. In her thirties, her choices in alcohol and shoes are more refined. Current favourites are generally served with a cube of ice and lemon, and, well, she rarely drinks. All the more exciting when two days ago she once again emerged from a bar at daybreak. Not having had this kind of experience in years she was struck by the city’s waking sounds and smells. They are quite simply unique.


Her friend who she had been chatting the night away with is very special to her. Neither of them had expected this evening to turn into something else entirely. But it did. They settled into a rustic yet charming French restaurant. Uncomfortable benches softened with each exchanged word. Many of which crossed over from one to the other that night.


When the candle on their table had burnt down, they finally interrupted the proprietors in their card game. The men in aprons had been waiting for them patiently, never once intruding in their tête-à-tête. The women paid the bill, put money on the patriarch as champion, and respectfully left them to close for the night. Who won in the end, nobody knows.


Lulled into the comforts of red wine they moved on for a nightcap, to an old-fashioned bar. An ulcer in daylight but not quite yet. To them right then and there the establishment made for a living room. A cave guarding painted walls. The women sat at the bar and enjoyed the last glass that, quite selectively, lasted a while. The intimate conversation broke briefly when approached by two men without aprons, drunk and quite persistent in their pursuits.


What made one of them, a chef by profession, striking in appearance, were his eyes. Deeply brown, almost purple, they dipped right down into his soul. They confused the woman no longer in her twenties, made her lose the intention of turning him away. He was standing too close. Her senses alerted her to move away. It would require a hopping-off-bar-stool manoeuvre she wasn’t willing to risk.


Instead, she marvelled at his gaze, her drink and her blatantly grinning companion. When they stepped out into dawn she was wide awake. Drunk on happiness and alcohol. They said their goodbyes, already colouring new memories.


Determined to watch the sunrise she pushes across the stream to her apartment. An avalanche of cars is rolling towards her, carrying workers to the shipyard. She closes her eyes and ignores all harsh reminders of reality. She will watch the sunrise this morning. When she comes home she falls asleep on the couch.