The things I get myself into sometimes …
As with all good stories, this one starts with me admitting how much I had been drinking. Two bottles of wine. I am not ashamed. On the contrary. As a seasoned beer drinker I am not so experienced in the ways of the wine. As it turns out, I like it. And I can drink a lot of it. However, I am not sold on the way it makes me feel the next day.
So this story starts with one bottle of wine and finishes with an upturned bicycle at 4am. And at some point I took this photo because I thought my hair looked good.
Early on in the evening, my drinking buddy left me for a guy who has, for the most part, been ignoring her for little over a week now. Most of the week was spent encouraging her to move on, he’s not worth it, etc etc. Notions to which she readily agreed to right up until he finally txt her back and said that he would come for a drink on Saturday night.
He works at the local Salmon farm. As opposed to foreign Salmon farm? I don’t know but that’s what people around here refer to the salmon farm as. And should that be capitalised? Salmon Farm … He works at the salmon farm and also plays rugby and attends the rugby prize giving in a checkered shirt and tie on a Saturday evening. And apparently he has a good bum. But that’s more than I need to know. What he makes up for in posterior ilk, he certainly lacks in conversational charm. Perhaps he saves it all for the salmon.
I should have known as soon as he showed up that my drinking buddy wasn’t in it for the long haul with me. Oh well, one of the benefits of small town pubs is that you can easily slot yourself into another group and be welcomed with open arms. Especially if you’re one of the barmaids. Not bartenders mind you, god no. This is small town New Zealand we’re talking about. Everything is very gender oriented.
The first group I chanced an evening with were a group of 60+ year old men who had been at the pub since I had started my shift six hours ago, and likely a long time before then. They were jolly, and relatively enthusiastic about my joining them. The bonding really reached a new level when Bohemian Rhapsody came on the jukebox and we all yelled the lyrics in each others faces. This was about the time I finished my first bottle.
Feeling chatty and growing tired of the increasingly lewd comments my elderly companions were making regarding the size of my chest, I moved on to the next table. Here I really found my footing for the evening.
Approaching them with a fresh bottle of wine in hand, I was pleased to note at least one fuckable male in the group, and at the very least a table of people my own age. From this point I have very vague recollections about what was said and to whom. I remember talking to a woman called Anna about how sad it was that a lot of children don’t have a mother baking snacks for them when they come home from school. There was also a woman at the table who I found myself oddly attracted to, as I do from time to time. And when I think back I hope I didn’t reveal to her my casual and mostly temporary bisexuality. I talked to her for a long time but have no clue what was said.
Somewhere at the table was Alex, a young man from Bristol. He can’t have been more than 25 years old. I spoke to him briefly about the cheap hummus from Sainsburys and the comparative price of hummus in New Zealand. But when it came time to leave (did the pub close or did we just leave? Did I ask anyone before going behind the bar to retrieve my bike from the backroom? Did I talk to any of my sober colleagues?) it was this young Alex who asked me to come back to his place with him. Again, a common theme, I can’t remember how this came about. I do remember struggling a great deal to ride my bike in his direction (now that I think about it, the gears were probably quite high as I had the wind behind me earlier in the evening), eventually dismounting and just walking my bike to his house. Upstairs on the couch, it finally dawned on me the implications of being invited back to a boy’s house. So I did what I have often done in the past. I told him I was gay. I don’t know what I expected to happen next. But what did happen was certainly far from my mind.
Alex came and sat next to me on the couch and said solemnly,
“you know, I think I might be gay too”.
He was coming out to me for the very first time. I had no choice but to keep up the charade while I consoled him and assured him that in today’s world being gay wasn’t a blight and that all his friends and family were bound to accept him when he opened up to them. Bless him. He was so worried about what all his laddy mates back in Bristol would think of him. Theres was a long standing tradition of going out on the town and picking up ladies.
In the end I think I left feeling like Joan of Arc while this poor lad wallowed in his truth. He flew out the next day.
The bike ride home was swift and uneventful until I fell off on my front lawn at 4am.
I vomited a lot while Alex was flying back to Bristol to secure his fate.