The occasion was a club party to celebrate the success of my friend Angela’s elder sister’s wedding. Youths from all sides of both families were present and having fun away from the glare of the older generations. Eventually even the bride and groom had to leave – it was, after all, their wedding night, and that one is supposed to be legendary.
I was there only because Angela had forced me to come. Maybe GalPal had been kindly requested to show up. Unlikely.
GalPal and I managed to find ourselves alone on a balcony, in each other’s arms, for vague reasons not ever discussed, barely twelve hours since we’d first met. I was going along partly because I was drunk and partly because my newly minted alter-ego would actively harass me otherwise.
Let your fingers do the walking.
No way. A kiss would have to do. I searched GalPal’s enchanting eyes at the exact moment when she was searching my eyes and the decision was thus sealed. We went for the kiss, with some abandon, but a pack of intruders burst into our privacy. (Yeah, as if a balcony facing a street is as private as it can get!)
Angela led a pack of her old and new relatives onto the balcony to introduce them to us, her “friends”. The mischievous spark in her eye ticked me off and was slightly embarrassing. GalPal, meanwhile, instantly detached herself from me, rushed through the introductions and fled back into the partying mass inside.
I remained behind and pretended to catch the names of three guys and four ladies. One of them was the daughter of the second cousin of the groom’s mother in law – or something. I nodded with understanding and introduced myself as Angela’s friend who was dragged out of bed early that morning to attend her sister’s wedding. There was laughter all around. Only then did I realize that this could pass as a joke.
The lot of Angela’s relatives found that they also liked the balcony and stuck around there. Talk flowed easily and naturally between us as we got to know each other better. With time, everyone present felt lionhearted enough to play “Truth or Truth” – a variation of “Truth or Dare” – simply because there was no shortage of empty bottles to spin and also because what had previously been in those bottles was now acting on their brains. So I reeled off a string of brazen lies whenever my turn to tell the truth came around. However, the spoilsport that Angela is ever doomed to remain exposed my lies again and again.
The evening crawled onwards in this fashion, until the time came that I was to be kicked out of the venue. First I was called aside. The argument went thus: I belonged to neither side of the matrimonially united families and thus was an unbudgeted-for expense. I was told this quietly by a beefy bouncer who kept saying “Private Function,” who was flanked by a relative of the groom’s who was apparently in charge of expenses. At first I insisted that I was buying my own refreshments, then, after my collar was handled rather too roughly and I’d began to attract attention, I changed my story and professed solemnly that I was up to no harm and would have loved nothing more than to leave as soon as the exit could be pointed out and my collar released at the earliest convenience.
The fracas attracted Angela’s attention just as I was departing. She was torn between asking me to stay and shouting a spectrum of unabridged swear-words at her in-law. “He’s with me,” etc. I walked on irrespective, careful not to look over my shoulder or stop. After a while I had walked far enough to stop hearing the boom of club music. (Walking away from Mr. Vegas’ “Man a Gallis” without dancing is quite the feat. MAD beats!)
A drizzle began as I walked the streets. I sank into my thoughts as I trudged towards the bus stop, not knowing whether or not there would be buses at that hour of night. A taxi screeched to a halt besides me, hooting loudly and repeatedly. I ignored it steadfastly until someone in the back seat lowered the window and called out.
“Antony, I’m sorry, alright? That guy’s a jerk. Come in; let’s go home.”
I’d never seen Angela’s expression so earnest. I’d never thought her capable of it. I climbed into the cab for a quiet ride home