Porter

 

I wanted to stand and be still. Not talk. Not make up words. Scrambling around. The right ones I guess. The amusing ones or interesting ones or something, I don’t know. I wanted to be still, no longer vain or socially acceptable. Cool. I wanted to stand there, just stand amongst these people in the kind of reflective silence the Australian aborigines need in order to measure and respect the closeness of their companion, thinking out every word.

Someone said “Hey Michael” on the table to my right and all the people with her looked also in my direction. This kid enthusiastically stuck out his hand and she introduced me andwith a strange certainty he said “Michael my name’s ...” something and shaking his hand I idiotically said my name once more, realizing it’d now been said exactly four times in quick succession. This is not the point. Well not the entire point but I feel it is part of the problem.

I fidgeted rudely with my phone and pressed a number thinking doing something somehow gifts you purpose right? I called who I was supposed to be meeting.. I mean, I did this as we spoke – looking into her eyes! and immediately cut the conversation when he answered after it rang a good number of times. She was ready for this, watching this behaviour, allowing for it. The others had lost interest but she was polite and prepared, beautiful even and with nice teeth, simply shifting her attention elsewhere and all I really wanted to do was stand. Be still. Watch for a moment.

He was already there a few tables along, but it was getting dark and noisy and pretty cold for an early summer evening. Amid the crowd he put his hand up and I wandered over drinking some of my pint before speaking straight away and everything began again only at a different table with different people. It’s always busy outside this place come summer, I thought.