Here i stand, at the bottom of this staircase. Under the black of the night sky. Under the stars and the grand, bright moon. Perfectly contrasted by the blackness of the sky. The moon has never looked so close before. I walk up the stairs slowly, tugging on my skirt and shirt. Making some last-minute alterations before being seen without looking my absolute best. My heart is pounding in my chest, and i can feel my face getting warmer. An instant fever. ‘Maybe this isn’t the best idea. It’s not too late to turn around.’ I stop on the stairs, contemplating my next move. ‘No, don’t back out now. He invited me.’ I start moving up the stairs again and finally reach the top of the stairs, overlooking the outside patio and part of the bar interior.
I wonder another 3 feet before stopping, allowing my eyes to search for Sam. I start to the left. First, I see a table of men, on a boys’ night I imagine. Drunkenly and loudly spurring one another on to down their almost full beers. The sight of 6 grown men in this demonstration of testosterone humors me. This is the type of group i would have integrated into in the past, stress free and so incredibly entertaining.
I scan to the right and I see a mixed table. Men and women engaging in loud elaborate tales of their venture to Mozambique. Swapping memories of the beach and food. “Oh, the food” one girl lets out in a powerful burst. So loud in fact, that the young couple just behind them turned to her before looking back to each other and sharing a chuckle. What a cute looking couple. This must be a first date. To the left is a petite blonde woman, fully made up with hair, nails, make-up, the works. Sitting awkwardly opposite a muscular blonde man with stylish and very grand comb-over. Both trying their utmost best not to let their eyes be distracted by passers by. They suit each other way to well, they’ll never last.
My eyes scan to the right and back where the bar is located. Only to find people in the masses crowded around the bar, waiting patiently, impatiently. Some women dancing around the men in the crowds, waiting their turn at a free drink. I scoff under my breath; these women really do give us such a bad name. ‘Hmm, i still cant see him. Maybe he’s not here yet, maybe I just have to wait a while and he’ll arrive later. So much for the entrance I planned.”
Standing in the middle of the deck is a water feature, clever idea for a bar where the patrons all get ridiculously drunk and repeatedly make questionable life decisions. But who am I to tell them about their exterior decorations. Behind this monstrosity of a water feature is a familiar figure. Half hidden. I take another three steps, tilt my head as my eyes narrow. His face is hidden but maybe if I move to the left, just a little, I can just make out a face. I stop dead in my tracks, mid step. ‘Well what do you know. It’s Sam, and a petite brunette attached to his face. Well there you go then. I cant believe I thought… I’m so stupid.’
Just then, his lips part from hers and they open their eyes. Obviously, I would be in his direct line of sight. His eyes pass by her face and catch mine. I stand still, body frozen as my brain goes through scenario after scenario. I can’t just run, that would be beyond embarrassing. But I most definitely cannot stay here. While my brain hashes this out I stand frozen like a fool, my face still, staring at him. Searching his eyes for an answer as to what on earth I should do now. My eyes fall to the floor and instantly sadden. ‘I’m such an idiot.’ With one giant breath and all my strength, i look up at him again. I urge my mouth to smile, but all that shows is a half smile. A half smile, saddened by my big, wet eyes. My right hand rises and gestures one slow wave of hello. My hand falls to my side again. This moment, this one moment lasted for what seems like minutes. My nose gets red as my eyes water. ‘I can’t look at him anymore, I just can’t.’ I look down and shake my head, scolding myself.
I wrap my jersey around my abdomen and turn to wonder back to the staircase with my head down, watching the floor move beneath me. My hand finds the rail, I hold it loosely as my eyes gaze at it in a sort of disbelief. ‘Breath, you can do this.’.
“Taz!” A voice calls from behind me just before I could take my first step. ‘I know that voice.’ My heart started pounding so furiously, I could feel it in my chest. Sam appears next to me in seconds.
“Sup? I’m sorry I didn’t come and say hello. I decided I want to go home.” I try my second attempt at a smile but my face doesn’t seem to want to play along. A half smile sits on my face and my eyes stay down-turned and glistening from a near tear.
“Where are you going? Are you okay?” Sam moves one step lower to stop my path down the stairs and places his hand on the rail.
“Yeah…. Yeah….. Yeah.” Me attempting to convince Sam, and myself at the same time. With every utterance of the word my eyes move downward. The word becomes more and more unfamiliar and foreign to me.
“Actually…” I look up, finding his face fixed on mine.
“No, I’m not.” My words were slow but deliberate.
“But it’s not your fault. I… I was just…. It’s not you. Look, I know I’m not your girlfriend. I know we’re not together. I just…. I’m not angry or mad. I’m just…. ” My voice went soft and timid. I couldn’t say it, I couldn’t say that he had hurt me. I couldn’t say that I had allowed myself to feel. I couldn’t say he made my whole body shut down for a moment. All I got out was, “I’m sad.” I felt my nose get red and eyes start to go again. I look up at the night sky, to the stars and that beautiful, beautiful moon. I calm myself and look back at Sam.
“I’ll be fine. I just…. I mean, I know you’re not mine. Just because I haven’t been with anyone else doesn’t mean you can’t. Go back to your friends. I… I just need time. I’ll be fine.”
Sam stares at me, puzzled. “You haven’t been with anyone else?”
“Nope, not since I met you at Elegantly Wasted.” Our eyes lock, our mouths frozen and unable to speak. Waiting for the other to say something and break the silence. All around music played and voices were heard, but somehow all i can hear is my beating heart and my head screaming to get out of there.
“I should go.” I manoeuvre passed him and make my way to my car as he stood frozen on the stairs.