Saturday, May 21, 2011
"Everyone is staring."
"No they... okay, they are."
"No one else is dressed up."
"No they aren't."
I make my way to the bar as quickly as possible, trying to avoid the stares that I am receiving. I only receive more once I get there.
"What are you drinking," the bartender asks looking me up and down from the pink paws to the black nose and whiskers to the white ears.
"This was a bad idea."
"Debbie isn't even here yet."
"She'll be here!"
And moments later, there she is, in all her musical splendour and I no longer feel quite so alone in my awkwardness. And so the night begins as drinks are ordered and chatter is made. I look around the table at all the people that I don't recognise and wonder where the years have gone. Friendships come and go, but at least we have stayed together - Debbie, Andrea and I. We share moments catching up on each others lives - boyfriends, fiancees (a new development), studies, work, all the kind of chatter that comes from years spent apart and the awkwardness that fills the silences in between as we try to find something new to talk about.
Friends, drinks, food - before I know it, the first half of the night has become a blur of the three and I am finding myself cold outside Grotto Mojito, wanting to find somewhere warmer. As much as I want to spend more time with Debbie, it is time to move on, and we make our way to the Rat and Parrot.
"One drink," I announce as we arrive at the packed pub. "One drink and then we're out of here."
If we can even find somewhere to drink it, I think to myself, but don't voice my opinion. I don't go out often, and I am not going to ruin it this time.
Andy has followed us to the Rat and quickly finds someone that she recognises and we find ourselves a table together with his friends. I don't know any of them, though one seems to know me. Together we drink, laugh and chat as I snap away, not wanting to take my camera away from my face, not really wanting to chatter with these guys who I probably have nothing in common with. And then they leave and their spots are replaced with more randoms, girls this time. Introductions are made and chatter continues until it really is time to go, a drink and four shots later than I had expected.
I wake up early the next morning, earlier than I would have liked for a Saturday, without a headache thankfully, and with only good memories of the night that passed - always a good sign after drinking. I smile as I think back to Debbie's party, the strangers that I met, that I will probably never see again, but who I shared moments with and whose moments I captured. And looking over the photographs, I remember why I like photography - I may not know them, but I have a piece of them here, on my screen, on my camera and in my memory.