Sunday, 10 August 2014

A Storybook Romance

There have been several happy endings of blurry bar encounters that television and films have mythologized over the years. Beautiful girl gets very attractively drunk, slurs some cheesy sentences to the handsome stranger who conveniently happens to be sitting next to her, they gobble down shots together, kiss, fall in love and live happily ever after.
I was convinced of the impossibility of such an event ever happening in real life, and my cynicism was far better developed than any of my other five senses. So, when my girlfriends invited me to a party on a stormy Saturday night (which they would be going to with their beaus' hands around their waist), I wasn't too sure I wanted to go. Such events only made me realize how uncomfortable it was to be single at a party with free-flowing booze and no one to hold on to. However, a lack of anything more exciting to do and my friends' constant text messages urging me to get my derriere to the said event without any unnecessary antics, forced me out of my pyjamas and into my blue miniskirt.
I clearly remember the clothes I wore that night, which is quite an unusual thing for me, and I remember wearing a ratty old red t-shirt over the mini because I was too bored and uninspired to dress up.
After the fervent hugs and shrieks that are expected from girlfriends when they unite at parties and dance floors, the boyfriends took over and pulled them into intimate dances and conversations, as was also expected.
This left me alone in the middle of a crowded, chaotic madhouse with really loud speakers playing some Red Hot Chilli Peppers songs into my ear as if to force-feed the lyrics into my brain. Thus, quite predictably, I made my way to the bar, grabbing one of those bar-stools and settling in for, what I was convinced, would be an uneventful replay of the many such parties that had happened and been forgotten before.
I started my tequila-shot ritual that I had reserved for nights such as this one, and very soon, the boredom and disinterest started fading away from my eyes. I realized that there were actually quite a few people here that I knew. But this definitely didn't mean that I'd get up and let my stellar spot at the bar go. I stayed put, swallowing shot after shot of the concentrated happiness-booster that tequila can prove to be. About half an hour into my solitary drinking game, a friend arrived at the bar to get a few drinks for his table. He was accompanied by this other friend; a guy I had had a gargantuan crush on despite having only vague memories of having seen him a few times in my college. I knew for sure that it wasn't just the alcohol that had certified his cuteness-certificate in my head. He was tall, had perfect white teeth and was conventionally good looking. And with a sudden jolt of excited panic, I realized that he was smiling at me. I have never been that dumbfounded by anything in my entire life.
I knew that by now, I was drunk, but seeing this man smile at me went beyond drunken disbelief. The random friend who he had accompanied to the bar had gone back by now, and for some reason, Mr. Mantastic was now sitting right next to me. Alarm bells started sounding in my head now, because the impossible had happened. I had met someone I knew for a fact I would see again and without a doubt, fall in love with, at a bar; on a night when I foolishly predicted that dressing up and looking my best would be of no consequence.
He introduced himself while flashing me with that brilliant smile, extending his hand towards mine to shake. And yet, my mouth was zipped shut, tight as a Tupperware container. The tequila running in my veins decided that this was a hallucination which could only be dismissed if I could touch him and know that he was indeed a solid entity and not a sadistic joke my brain was playing on me. So, very delicately, my forefinger went and poked his right cheek, and I distinctly remember incredulously informing him that he was, indeed, real. He laughed a manly little laugh, as I melted into a pool of soppiness.
We spoke a little, about things that I don't remember, although I know for a fact that I did finally tell him my name. A few minutes later, my girlfriends reappeared, apparently equally inebriated, and dragged me out towards the exit. I didn't want to leave this beautiful man; I wanted to stay and talk to him for the whole night and then maybe grab a late, lazy breakfast with him. But my luck timed out, and I was forced into a car as the girls and I headed home. I was told it was getting late and reminded of how we had early morning classes we couldn't afford to miss. No one seemed to have noticed my meeting with Mr. Mantastic (a name I shall conveniently and repeatedly use throughout this post, but I assure you, was not his real name) and for that, I was grateful. Even in my drunken stupor, I knew that I was in no mood for a comprehensive inquisition conducted by my supremely protective friends.

As I hit the bed that night, I recall that I didn't change my t-shirt before sleeping. It was a happy reminder of the lovely evening encounter that I wanted not to lose track of. The next morning, we somehow managed to make it to class; groggy, sleep-deprived and horribly hungover. The day went on as such post-mad-party days usually do, but throughout this otherwise regular day, I had butterflies in my stomach, and this very solid feeling that something was about to happen. Something big.
And so it did.
Mantastic and I started talking on the phone and going out on clandestine coffee dates, not telling our friends where we were or who we were with. 
There was a slow but steady graduation to taking long drives in his tiny old car, with Sinatra playing rather loudly on the stereo, ordering pizza and grabbing buckets of ice-cream, with lots of lovely (and cheap) wine that we would drown ourselves in and celebrate our new found passion for each other.
We fell in love, very easily and very effortlessly.

The heartbreak and misfortune that would befall on me thanks to this man in another two years is perhaps bearable to me today largely because of the fact that our beginnings were so happy and real, and also because time and its all-healing ways have once again proved that humans can get over the biggest of losses if they so will themselves into doing.
Life goes on, and we can choose to hate, or we can choose to love.
I have always been a glass-half-full girl, and I know that there's a cute little leprechaun waiting on the other side of this rainbow for me with a pot of gold that has my name on it.
However, I've learned my lessons. 
I shall always be wary of beautiful strangers now; no matter if they have a mysteriously magical pull that works wonders on the poetic consciousness. As they say, once bitten, twice shy.

No comments:

Post a Comment