#184 turned up at the Regent looking very eighties and I explained to him that after closing time the two of us were going to head up the Royal Mile and find ourselves a house party to get invited into. It didn’t work, although we met someone or other in the street – a friend of his? a complete stranger? Who knows – who had just left a late-night venue, and showed us the mark on their hand to prove they’d paid in. #184 and I shot in to the bar where #110 used to work. A solitary boy was cleaning up. “IT’S OKAY WE KNOW #110 WE JUST NEED A MARKER PEN,” I announced. He didn’t mind handing one over, whereupon #184 and I replicated the squiggle and marched in to the venue without attracting suspicion.
But it was packed and claustrophobic and #184 left me looking after his stuff while he went out to smoke, so I quickly got bored and said my goodbyes. I still wanted a party, but there wasn’t one.
Maybe it’s because I was pretty drunk by then, or maybe it’s because it was really like that at the time, but I remember the walk home as if there was haar hanging over the city. When the haar is in place, there’s a blanket of silence as well as fog, but I don’t know if it was quiet around me; I was listening to music anyway.
I passed someone who threw a shoe, not at me, just at nothing, and I made some sort of comment about it without sticking around to notice an answer. Apparently, though, #211 was impressed by my offhand response. He was walking the same route, and I turned round and started talking to him, and wound up taking him back to my place for uncoffee.
He had to have been more sober than me, and, as far as I can recall, he seemed like a generally decent person. I remember noticing that he was actually really fucking cute. He was a fourth-year student doing a placement at an organisation with which I was very familiar, and we had a whole bunch of stuff to talk about as a result, which we could have done for a lot longer if I hadn’t made out with him.
I guess it wasn’t meant to be, but I always kind of wondered afterwards if there would’ve been scope if I hadn’t made a move so early on. After a little while he stopped and looked at me with concern and said, “Did you say you were out with your partner tonight?” and I explained that no, #184 was my partner in crime, which was a totally different thing. But he made his excuses and left not long after, and no contact details were exchanged, and I didn’t suggest it because the atmosphere had already turned awkward. Maybe I’d made him feel uncomfortable – he’d come back to my place ostensibly for conversation, nothing else.
I filed him away in the back of my mind. There was every chance I might pass him by on the street sometime, but I already wouldn’t be able to recognise him. I was still in the middle of figuring out whether I was actually seeing #210 or not, though, and #184 and I had a whole lot more drinking to do.